Super League’s "Anzac Test"
year’s Anzac Day saw the emergence of several commercial ventures
seeking to capitalize on the Anzac legend, the most notable being the
inauguration of the Super League’s annual "Anzac Test"
between Australia and New Zealand - the trophy for which includes a
representation of an Australian slouch hat and New Zealand lemon
The Anzac Test was controversial not only for its use of
the word "Anzac" but also for the manner in which the
advertisements cast the participating athletes in the gladiatorial mould
currently in vogue for the promotion of professional sports, suggesting
in some way that they were modern "Anzacs".
National Deputy President of the Australian Returned Services League,
was featured in the advertisements proclaiming:
my words, Australia is still in grave danger from one of our so-called
neighbours. The Kiwis were once our allies and now they’re on the
other side - at least for 80 minutes".
advertisement concluded with the words "lest we forget".
Ruxton was estimated to have been paid up to A$5000 for his part in the
commercials (Sydney Morning Herald, 22 April 1997) and in an
attempt to quell the furore Super League announced it would donate
$20,000 to the RSL and provide free entry for returned servicemen.
League’s explanation was that it was "trying to create a young
audience" and that it could "contribute through our young
audience so that young people should realise the great history and
traditions of some of our servicemen [who] have gone away and given
their life for their country" (Editorial, Sydney Morning Herald,
19 April 1997).