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Lions roar to stunning win

Published: 7:02AM Sunday November 05, 2006 Source: AAP

Great Britain put itself into the box seat for a berth in the Tri-Nations final with a stunning 23-12 upset victory over Australia at Aussie Stadium on Saturday night.

Written off before the match, the Lions withstood everything the Kangaroos could thrown at them - including a rampant Willie Mason - to secure their first win in Australia in 14 years and put the tourists two points ahead of New Zealand on the Tri-Nations table.

The win was sealed by a Gareth Raynor try three minutes from fulltime before halfback Sean Long, who had a superb game for the visitors, landed a field goal in the dying minutes with Adrian Morley planting a kiss on his No.7 in celebration.

Mason ensured the predicted early fireworks eventuated as he landed a stunning right hook which floored Lions prop Stuart Fielden, the Australian taking no heed of referee Ashley Klein's warning as he collected Long with a high shot minutes later to find himself on report.

The Australians were strangely off kilter throughout the opening half, their combinations not helped by an abdominal injury to centre Mark Gasnier and the bizarre reshuffle which ensued.

Rather than bring Cameron Smith off the bench and move former Test centre Shaun Berrigan out to the three-quarters, coach Ricky Stuart concocted an elaborate game of musical chairs that involved six positional changes with Smith the new halfback.

It only helped to maintain Great Britain's territorial dominance before Australia scored a length of the field effort against the run of play when Ben Hornby plucked out a Sean Long pass on his own

tryline and sent Greg Inglis away, Lions winger Brian Carney straining a hamstring in an attempt to stop the flying winger.

The Lions hit back immediately when Long dummied his way through to put Paul Wellens over, Stuart finally relenting and moving Berrigan out to centre as the two sides went to the shebrutal goal-line defence in the changerooms as they ran out for the second stanza, Lions skipper Jamie Peacock carrying four defenders over the line with him as he put the visitors on top for the first time at 12-6 thanks to a benefit of the doubt call from the video referee.

Australia threatened an immediate reply but were let down by last play options, a rampaging Mason spilling an inside ball from skipper Darren Lockyer with only Wellens between him and the tryline.

The try finally came and again it was from within the Kangaroos own half and again it was that man Inglis, the Melbourne Storm teenager setting sail down the touchline before beautifully positioning Lockyer to go over untouched to again force a deadlock.

Replacement backrower Lee Gilmour again put his side in front when he went over courtesy of a clever angled run, Long missing a late penalty goal which would have given his side an eight-point break before Raynor's late try.

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