Schofield: Let’s now bring on Australia

Congratulations to England on wrapping up the Test series with New Zealand with a match to spare.

They were superb on Sunday and I have no doubts they will win the third Test as well, to complete the whitewash.

The bigger picture for me is that the game has to get a grip of the international scene and come up with something meaningful for us all.

And that’s because Test football is the absolute pinnacle. That applies to the players and the fans.

The Super League clubs will continue to be selfish by demanding as many fixtures as possible and the Australians will continue to avoid Tests for whatever reason.

So it is time for the Rugby League International Federation to get a grip, along with the other governing bodies, and start putting Test matches first.

As I hinted in last week’s column, it will be such a shame if the Australians refuse to play Great Britain during next year’s Lions Tour.

They should not be allowed to dictate terms like this.

After yesterday’s win at Anfield, we have clearly earned the right to take on the Green and Golds in a proper series.

England were patient and they didn’t panic. The forwards were fantastic again and the big names stood up.

They look like a team that can win an Ashes series.

I thought Josh Hodgson was outstanding, up there with Tommy Makinson for man of the match.

I’ve been critical of Jonny Lomax at this level, but he was terrific at the back, also playing like a second stand-off.

Australia have had this year with no major international competition, on the back of the 2016 Four Nations and last year’s World Cup.

But they don’t need a rest for two consecutive years. I hated years like 1987 and 1991, when Great Britain didn’t get to play Australia or New Zealand. I was always itching to play the best.

It’s not like we’re asking them to travel over here. The Lions will be in the Southern Hemisphere anyway, so what is the problem?

At the moment, it looks like the Aussies are running scared. They won’t even agree to one Test match, although even that wouldn’t be enough for me.

That’s because it needs to be a full-on best-of-three Ashes series, the first since 2003, after which it was shamefully scrapped by the hapless RFL chief Richard Lewis, who binned Great Britain as well.

The Aussies lost to New Zealand last month, which meant that the winners of the England-Kiwi Test series would become the world’s number-one Test nation.

Even if you believe the Aussies are still the best and that their defeat to the Kiwis was a blip, then they don’t deserve to be ranked number one if they can’t be bothered to play many games.

When Mal Meninga got the Australia job, there was plenty of talk that he would put the pride back into the Green and Gold jersey and reverse the trend that had seen State of Origin become bigger than Test football in recent years.

No one respects Big Mal more than me, but you can only conclude that he has completely failed. If the Lions travel to Australia in 2019 and don’t get the chance to play in a full Ashes series, it will be a disgrace.

Come on Mal, what are you scared of? You Australians have got to stop treating the international game with such contempt.

Mal probably knows England have the best Test pack and he will realise that with a golden generation of Australian playmakers having retired, the Aussies may well lose an Ashes series for the first time since 1970.

But it’s sport. You still have to turn up and play!

Why are the Rugby Football League so unwilling to call the Aussies out over their international negativity?

Straight after the final hooter of the first Test, Wayne Bennett and Ralph Rimmer should have been challenging Australia to an Ashes series, pointing out that Australia are no longer the number-one international Rugby League nation.

We can’t let them off the hook with this. They don’t own the game. They can’t stick two fingers up to the glorious history of international Rugby League.

Dally Messenger will be turning in his grave.

So, come on Australia. Come on Mal. Let’s get it on. A proper Ashes series between Australia and Great Britain in 2019.

And we will beat you!

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