3rd Feb, Tugan, Queensland, Australia:
Hungary 30-12 Philippines.
The Magyar Bulls defeated the Philippine Tamaraws despite being down on player numbers during the game. Both countries are relatively new to RL, each starting out internationally in 2011.
18th Feb, Sydney Australia:
Malta 40-28 Hungary.
The more experienced Malta Knights were too strong for Hungary, who nevertheless put in a creditable performance as they strive to improve their game. As for the Knights, they started their international history in 2004 and are progressing nicely.
16th June, Inagi City, Tokyo, Japan:
Japan 20-32 Hong Kong
Hong Kong won their first ever international RL match. They narrowly lost the last time the two sides met in November 2017, but were the better team this time around. Hong Kong had a strong first half and took the game despite a second half rally by Japan. Hogan Toomalatai scored three tries for Hong Kong.
23rd June, Denver, Colorado, USA & Campbelltown, Sydney, Australia:
England 36-18 New Zealand
The game the NRL wanted banned, the forbidden game, was played anyway. If the Australian RL gets it's way, it will be the last. It is supposed to be an annual game over three years. Hopefully, who it is that actually runs the game will be sorted by next year.
19,320 turned up in a city that has never seen the game of RL before, so that is impressive. The game itself was a good watch, with New Zealand scooting out to a 12-0 lead. England clawed it back to 10-12 at the break, then pulled away to eventually win reasonably comfortably.
Despite the 5,000 ft altitude, I'm happy to report no players fainted (or worse) during the intense encounter. This despite grave concerns in Australia that the players would suffer all sorts of malady's as a result. Next year must go ahead as scheduled by the RLIF or the sport of RL will have effectively handed the running of the game over to a handful of pro clubs in Australia.
Papua New Guinea 26-14 Fiji.
In somewhat of a surprise result, PNG Kumuls racing to a 26-4 lead at the half time break. They then galantly held on as the Fiji Bati came back at them but with little reward.
Tonga 38-22 Samoa.
Mate Ma'a Toa took a leaf out of the Kumuls book and came out of the blocks quickly. They had a commanding 30-6 lead after 40 minutes. Similar to Fiji, Toa Samoa came back in the second stanza but with more success and at one stage looked like they could conjure up an unlikely win but Tonga wrapped it up with a sizable 16 point margin.
24th June, Sydney, Australia:
South Africa 30-24 Malta.
The SA Rhinos went into the game as slight underdogs but came away with the win. Many of their players are involved with the game in Perth. Malta is very active in the interantional game so this experience will add to the Knight's development.
30th June, Budapest, Hungary:
Ireland 70-0 Hungary
This Irish side was chosen from local players only, while Hungary mixed local and overseas players. The visitors were up 46-0 at the break and continued to outplay their gallant hosts. The game can be seen below.