25 Jan 2016

NZRL overlooked for ANZAC Test again

5:42 pm on 25 January 2016

The Kiwis have been denied the right to host the mid-year ANZAC rugby league Test against the Kangaroos again.

And New Zealand won't host the mid-year ANZAC rugby league Test at all now, after the NRL released its representative schedule for 2016.

This year's ANZAC Test will take place at Newcastle in May, with the fixture being scrapped after 2017.

Shaun Johnson is hopeful he can reproduce the form that helped the Kiwis beat the Kanagaroos, when the Warriors play Cronulla.

Shaun Johnson in action for the Kiwis against the Kangaroos in 2015 Photo: Photosport

The New Zealand Rugby League had hoped to hold the fixture this year, but contractual arrangements between the NRL and its broadcast partner Channel Nine prevented that.

But the Kiwi Ferns women's side will face the Australian Jillaroos in the curtain-raiser to this year's fixture, at Hunter Stadium on May the 7th.

The Junior Kiwis will play the Junior Kangaroos the next day at Parramatta, as part of the Pacific double-header featuring Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

Since the ANZAC Test was introduced in 1997, New Zealand has hosted just two fixtures, in 1998 and 2012.

The NZRL is hopeful of hosting a trans-Tasman Test after the 2018 NRL season.

Alex Hayton is announced as interim NZRL CEO as Phil Holden (R) steps down, 25 January 2016. Copyright Photo: William Booth / www.photosport.nz

Alex Hayton is announced as interim NZRL CEO as Phil Holden (R) steps down Photo: Photosport

"Last year's Tests in Brisbane and the Gold Coast really connected the threads of our high performance programme," said NZRL acting chief executive Alex Hayton, who was announced in the interim position on Monday to replace Phil Holden.

"Having our three premier national sides together as part of the same jersey presentation ceremony was certainly a very special occasion.

"The logistics of that may prove challenging for us this year, but the schedule still provides a unique opportunity to showcase our talent over a single weekend."

The Kiwis have played twice in Newcastle in recent years, beating England there during the 2008 World Cup and losing to Australia in an end-of-year outing in 2011.