23 fun Four Nations facts
On the eve of the fourth Four Nations tournament kicking off in Brisbane on Saturday night, NRL.com has delved into the archives to dig out a few pieces of Four Nations trivia sure to come in handy over the next month.
1. The last person to touch a Steeden in Four Nations football was Darren Lockyer in 2011. His final act on a Rugby League field was during the closing stages of the Four Nations Final when he missed a shot at conversion from all but right in front of the posts in his last game at Elland Road, Leeds. A Four Nations ball hasn’t been kicked in anger since. We’ll call it his Bradman moment.
2. Australia has only lost one game in Four Nations history – it just happened to be the 2010 Final against New Zealand, after they had beat the Kiwis 34-20 a week prior. Ouch.
3. There have been 197 players used across 21 games, three tournaments and six participating nations since the tournament started in 2009.
4. Most Four Nations caps: Cameron Smith, Sam Thaiday, Paul Gallen and James Graham have all played 11 games.
5. England forward Brett Ferres is the only player remaining from the solitary international between England and Samoa – a Federation Shield clash won by England 38-14 in 2006. Though Frank Winterstein (elder brother of current winger Antonio) and Isaak Ah Mau (Leeson’s brother) did turn out for the Samoan side.
6. 2014 England Four Nations squad member and reigning Man of Steel winner Daryl Clark is one of only three players from Castleford to win the Super League's highest honour, the others being former NRL stars Adrian Vowles (1999) and Rangi Chase (2011).
7. England centre Lee Smith scored the first try in Four Nations history, against France in Doncaster.
8. Papua New Guinea are the only team to be held scoreless in a Four Nations fixture – they lost 42-0 to Australia in 2010.
9. Samoa are the fourth different qualifying team in the four iterations of the tournament to join Australia, England and New Zealand since its inception. The other three have been France (2009), PNG (2010) and Wales (2011).
10. Samoa qualified for the tournament this year for the first time by defeating World Cup semi-finalists Fiji 32-16 earlier this year in front of almost 10,000 fans.
11. The biggest crowd in Four Nations history was in Auckland where 44,324 fans witnessed a double-header involving England v PNG and New Zealand v Australia in 2010.
12. The two highest scores in Four Nations history belong to New Zealand: 76-12 over PNG in 2010 and 62-12 over France in 2009. Australia’s biggest score to date is a 56-14 victory over Wales in 2011 that saw the international debuts of Daly Cherry-Evans and Beau Scott.
13. The highest point-scorer in Four Nations history is Johnathan Thurston (94). The closest to 'JT' are Kevin Sinfield and Benji Marshall who have each racked up 54 points.
14. The highest try-scorer in Four Nations history is Brett Morris (nine) followed by Billy Slater (eight). New Zealand trio Sam Perrett, Junior Sa’u and Jason Nightingale are tied third with six tries each. Nightingale, Ryan Hall, Sam Tomkins, Greg Inglis and Cooper Cronk (five apiece) all have a chance to steal the top try-scoring mantle of Morris this tournament.
15. There have been 62 individual try-scorers in the tournament's history.
16. There have been 176 tries scored at the Four Nations. Australia have scored 70 of them. New Zealand are next with 50 to their name, England have scored 43, France five with Wales and Papua New Guinea scoring four tries each.
17. Johnathan Thurston broke the record for most points in a single rugby league tournament (excluding World Cups) in 2011 with his 56-point haul. The previous record of 42 was set in the 2005 Tri-Nations by New Zealand's Stacey Jones.
18. The Warriors boast the strongest club representation across the Four Nations squads, with eight of Andrew McFadden’s men; Shaun Johnson, Siliva Havili, Thomas Leuluai, Simon Mannering, Suaia Matagi, Manu Vatuvei (New Zealand), Sam Tomkins (England), Dominique Peyroux and Michael Sio (Samoa) turning out in the tournament. Melbourne, St George Illawarra, Wests Tigers, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Super League outfit Wigan have all contributed seven players each.
19. Parramatta are the only NRL club without a single representative after Jarryd Hayne’s withdrawal from the Kangaroos squad, while Australian forwards Josh Papalii and Greg Bird are flying the flags for the Raiders and Titans respectively as the lone players from their clubs in the tournament.
20. Tim Sheens is the only man to coach Australia at a Four Nations tournament and his 10 wins (from 12 matches, with one loss and one draw) is as many as every other coach combined. New Zealand's Stephen Kearney (five wins from 10 games), and England's Steve McNamara (three wins from seven games) and Tony Smith (two wins from four games) have the other 10.
21. There is only one player from 2014 Super League champions St Helens represented in the Four Nations, Samoa’s Mose Masoe.
22. To celebrate his selection in the Kangaroos team Josh Mansour went through with his promise of shaving off his beard, clogging up the sink in the team’s hotel and upsetting roommate Michael Jennings.
23. Sparks may fly between Broncos teammates Sam Thaiday and Josh McGuire when Australia plays Samoa in Wollongong on November 9. Both Thaiday and McGuire – along with Samoan forward Dunamis Lui – have signed up to fight in a charity boxing night in Brisbane on Saturday December 13 that will raise funds and increase awareness of depression and anxiety for the BeyondBlue organisation.