Friday marks the centenary of New Zealand's first football international. They beat an Australian team that had just played their first ever match as a country - against Whanganui at Cooks Gardens.
Australian football has come a long way since the country's first ever football match at Whanganui's Cooks Gardens 100 years ago.
The Socceroos beat Peru this week to qualify for a 6th appearance at the FIFA World Cup. Not a bad way to celebrate this Friday's centenary of their first ever international match - a 3-1 loss against New Zealand at Carisbrook in Dunedin.
In 1922 Australia embarked on an extensive tour of New Zealand that included three internationals, and numerous matches around the provinces.
In Australia a couple of books have been published to mark the occasion. As well as the lavish Socceroos: 100 Years of Camaraderie and Courage edition, there's Nick Guoth and Trevor Thompson's Burning Ambition: The Centenary of Australia-New Zealand Football Ashes.
Burning Ambition covers the story behind that 1922 tour, and the return visit of New Zealand to Australia the following year. It's a stunningly researched telling of the birth of Antipodean international football.
"Our book is about the development of football in both Australia and New Zealand, and the relationship between the two," Guoth said. "The burning ambition was to get the English to come out."
The co-author, who's written about Australian football history as both a journalist and an academic, visited some of the grounds from that first tour while in New Zealand in 2006.
The Australian squad of 16 players and manager Alf Morgan arrived in Wellington in late May 1922. They then travelled to Whanganui for a civic reception, and the first match at Cook's Gardens on Saturday, May 27.
Morgan noted that including the grounds he'd seen in Australia and England, "none had appealed to him so much as Cook's Gardens", and he hoped to take away a photo of the venue.
The Whanganui Chronicle wrote that "the visitors are a young team with rare speed and combination", while the Wanganui side "has been carefully chosen, has trained well, and is expected to put up a hard fight against their redoubtable opponents".
After wind and rain in the morning, conditions improved but it remained bitterly cold for the 2000 spectators.
Playing in blue, Australia sustained attacking pressure on Whanganui, whose "skillful custodian Thomas brought off a couple of wonderful saves". However, the visitors scored in the 25th minutes, with the forward Jock Cumberford later being awarded a gold medal for Australia's first ever goal.
Whanganui equalised in the second half to set up a dramatic conclusion. With just five minutes remaining, the youth of the Australian side shone through, with two more goals to cement the 3-1 win.
But in Dunedin on June 17, 1922, the visitors were vanquished in that inaugural international. New Zealand won the first test 3-1 in front of a crowd of 10,000, before drawing in Wellington, and winning again in Auckland for a series triumph.
●Burning Ambition by Nick Guoth and Trevor Thompson is published by Fair Play, and is available in New Zealand book stores.