Former Australian international Willie Mason and ex-England international James Graham have called for the return of the Ashes series as the two described those games as some of the best in their careers.
Mason especially misses those games and highlighted just how special they were to play in as he spoke on Graham’s podcast The Bye Round.
“We’re like holy f***, we’re playing at Wigan and it’s jam jam-packed and the fans were amazing. Just the best ever fans, they’re crazy. Morley got sent and then they also had Andy Farrell, all the old school and they’re all at their pinnacle as well,” Mason said.
“We only just won in the last three or four minutes of every game, we scored when it was like 16-14 and we just got it. We could have easily lost 3-0, they were some of the most brutal games I’ve ever played in.”
Graham himself then called for them to return: “I’d love to see those Ashes tests come back. There was supposed to be an Ashes series before the pandemic, I think it was 2020. Stoke that rivalry up again.”
On the back of this, Mason had an interesting wider pitch for international rugby league: “We’ve got to put a four nations or an Ashes. Have a Pacific Cup and then let Great Britain and Australia go at it. Everyone says we need to jump on the back of it, but soon as it’s over they’re done.
“I think Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and even New Zealand can have a four nations. I used to love playing, that ANZAC test against New Zealand was amazing. Playing that first test against Great Britain, being picked at 21 I was scared as f*** but it was awesome, the highlight of my career easily.
“You knew that you were in the top 17 best players in the world pretty much if you’re making those Australian teams so it gives you a good gauge of where you are, it incentivised young kids too.”
He also said those in charge of international rugby need a reshuffle: “Who sits on these boards? It needs a big reshuffle, they need some young minds on there who understand the game instead of those old blokes who never played the game.”