Leeds v Australia 1908

The now famous Headingley ground was packed with around 15000 spectators on this Christmas Day afternoon for the first ever visit of the Australians. Although the home side were due to play local rivals Hunslet the next day they were, apart from Walter Goldthorpe, at full strength.


Young, Oliver, Thomas, Ware, Desborough, Ward, Jones, Webster, Harrison, Whitaker, Ibbotson, Jukes and Townsend.


Bolewski, Rosenfeldt, Devereux, Deane, Heidke, Butler, Holloway, O'Malley, Burdon, Pearce, Hennessey, Courtney and Walsh.

Referee Smirk from Wigan got the game underway at 2.30pm with acting captain Budon kicking off for the visitors. They soon got the upper hand and from a scrum on half way Holloway fed Butler he offloaded to Deane who put Devereaux in the corner. He converted his own try. Leeds briefly tried to hit back but ten minutes later good interpassing between Deane and Devereaux saw the latter score his second. There was no goal. Leeds then came back with a try from winger Oliver and a good conversion from Young gave the home crowd some hope. The tourists were getting plenty of possession and were rewarded when Courtney scored an unconverted try. On the stoke of half time the Leeds half backs put together a good move which saw Jones score a three pointer. Young's conversion failed but the home side were only three points adrift at the break.

The second period began with a Leeds score, Young kicked a penalty after Butler had been caught offside. But that was to be there last score as the Australians dominated the rest of the half. They were however unable to create points from the pressure and only scored once more when Pearce dived over from a scrum near the line. A further score was disallowed for offside.

Leeds 10 Australia 14

The match was played in great spirit and it was generally agreed that on the day the best team won.

Thanks to Pat Walsh in Australia for the information on this page.