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Australia v Great Britain rivalry resumes in Police Test

Old rivalries will reignite this Saturday when the Australian Police Rugby League and Great Britain Police Rugby League go head-to-head at Leichhardt Oval.

Australia will be fielding 14 debutants at the international level, with players selected following strong performances in the 2023 Tri-Series. However, they will be led by experienced duo captain Jake Carl and vice captain Andrew Dunkley, who have been involved for almost a decade at the national level.

“Out of the 19 in our squad, we have got five who have played this level before,” coach Nick Paterson said.

“Jake Carl, our fullback and our front rower Andrew Dunkley have been part of that system for nine years, but apart from that, we have a new squad, so a lot of new debutants on Saturday and it’s really exciting they get the opportunity to wear the green and gold jersey and represent their country.

“Jake and Andrew have both played for Queensland as well and they both very worthy of their jersey and really good contributors for the Australia team for the past nine years, so it’s a privilege to have them in and leading these youngest guys around.”


📣 Here’s the Australian Police Rugby League and Great Britain Police Rugby League team’s that will do battle this...

Posted by Australian Police Rugby League on Wednesday, February 28, 2024

For Carl, who has also played at Hostplus Cup level with the Burleigh Bears, the privilege was his to be involved again.

“It’s always an awesome experience playing for Australia and to have the opportunity to captain them again is even more of a humbling experience for me, so I can’t wait,” Carl said.

“I remember my first game for Australia in 2015, it was against Great Britain as well, so it’s pretty cool to see those 14 boys get their opportunity to run out in the green and gold and I know they won’t let anyone down.”

For the Great Britain team, while this tour Down Under has been years in the making, coach Bob Marsden said the players had gelled well in their short time together since touching down in Australia.

“The planning to come to Australia has probably been four or five years; COVID put a pause on things,” Marsden said of past plans to tour.

“But this team left Manchester on Monday, landed Tuesday obviously to a warm climate; we’ve trained well and the preparation has been very good, but very warm!”

Nick Paterson, Jake Carl, Ben Marsden and Bob Marsden prepare for the Test match.
Nick Paterson, Jake Carl, Ben Marsden and Bob Marsden prepare for the Test match. ©NRL Images

Captain Ben Marsden, who plays in the forwards, has experience in the reserve levels in England including with Huddersfield Giants and Wakefield and represented Lancashire in Under 19s, said despite the difficulties of getting time off with their work, the players had done what they could to prepare as best they can.

“We have all be working hard together, getting together on our days off and working hard in the build up weeks in advance of coming over here,” Marsden said.

Despite the strong rivalry, the camaraderie off the field is strong, with the side’s gathering together on Thursday for a promotional shoot where the two teams mingled before facing off on Saturday.

“We have been welcomed with open arms, I have met the Australian coaching staff and we were talking about how we are looking forward to it and we’ll get together after win or lose, we’ll have a drink together,” coach Marsden said.

Paterson echoed the words of his rival coach and said the bond formed through their shared experiences was special.

“When we do play, it’s going to be a fierce contest, we’re both representing our countries; but off the field we are in the same line of work and we’re mates,” Paterson said.

“It’s one of those things, football is football, we’ll get out there and we’ll have a really competition game and come and have a drink together.”

The Australian Police Rugby League v Great Britain Police Rugby League match will take place at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday, March 2. The game will kick off at 4.30pm AEDT

The match will be live-streamed at

Australian Police Rugby League

1. Jake Carl (c)

2. Dylan Wagener

3. Alex Williams

4. Peter Pakoti

5. Salesi Taumalolo

6. Ryan Foran-Griffin

7. Tyler Field

8. Andrew Dunkley

9. Troy O’Sullivan

10. Sam Pierce

11. Will Scanlan

12. Kieran Melville

13. Sam Bielefeld

14. Angelo Cuevas

15. Emelio Mulu

16. Isaak Lyons

17. Dave Cutler

18. Nigel Maher

19. Robert Lammermoor

Coach: Nick Paterson

Assistant coach: Daniel Hess

Great Britain Police Rugby League

1.       Lewis Ainley

2.       Philip Whitham

3.       Joshua Greenwood-MacDonald

4.       Gareth Jones

5.       Jack Morrison

6.       Jake Davies

7.       Aaron Lloyd

8.       Adam Coopman

9.       Callum Sampson

10.   Jordan Cella

11.   Robert Froggatt

12.   Ben Marsden (c)

13.   Tomas Gallagher

14.   Josh Greaves

15.   Will Martin

16.   James Connaughton

17.   Scott Leatherbarrow

18.   James Motum                           

19.   Ashley Wildman

20.   John O’Donnell

21.   Michael Ostick

22.   Ryan Pickles

23.   Sam Wood


Coach – Bob Marsden

* four to be omitted

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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