12 Aug 2015

ANZAC league tests dropped

11:31 am on 12 August 2015

Australian rugby league officials have ignored the pleas of New Zealand Rugby League and dropped the ANZAC test from the international calendar from 2018.

A new National Rugby League television deal from 2018 appears to spell the end for the annual Test with the NRL saying there will be a window for international matches at the end of the season.

There will however be a one-week break in the middle of the competition solely for State of Origin, which will free up non-Australian players to play Tests, such as New Zealand against Toa Samoa.

The Kiwis celebrate a rare ANZAC test win over Australia.

The Kiwis were victorious is this year's ANZAC Test. Photo: Photosport

After several attempts to contact Australian officials to confirm the status of the Test, the chief executive of the NZRL Phil Holden finally got an email from his Australian counterpart confirming there'll be no Test from 2018.

The announcement caught the NZRL by surprise and despite his obvious frustration Holden was loathe to criticise the Australians.

He rejected the suggestion the lack of communication reflected poorly on the relationship between the two bodies.

"I think that's probably being a bit harsh. I think it's easy for us looking at through a New Zealand lens for at the end of the day this is an NRL, Australian deal. We are just a participant in a game," he said.

Holden conceded losing the ANZAC Test could be a major financial setback as, unlike Australia and England, the NZRL does not have a professional domestic competition to fund it.

He said there were other opportunities to play Australia and is hopeful of a possible two-Test series later in the year.