The tour party chosen was regarded as surprisingly strong given the difficult circumstances. It included a good mix of youth and experience with nine full internationals and fourteen provincial representatives.
The backs possessed both experience and pace and were regarded as a strong attacking unit at a time when New Zealand rugby teams were famous for their skilful attacking play. Defence was a possible weakness as the Northern Union rules required more one on one tackling than they were used to.
Hercules Wright was elected as tour captain with George Smith as vice-captain. These two formed the selection committee along with Massa Johnston.
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THE ALL GOLDS
The professional All-Blacks arrived in Sydney on 13th August 1907. George Smith had already contacted Peter Moir, a prominent Sydney player, about the possibility of arranging some matches in Sydney. Moir liaised with other interested parties (including J. J. Giltinan who Smith had spoken to previously) before replying that a series of matches could be arranged. Sydney based players shared the concerns about rules and payment felt by players in New Zealand and England. On 8th August 1907, the New South Wales Rugby League was formed and they organised themselves quickly to be ready to welcome the New Zealanders. The New South Wales Rugby Union team defeated the New Zealand Rugby Union team 14–0 in their second of two matches in 1907 and were thus expected to be tough opponents. This was especially true as some of the Auckland based players were yet to arrive in Sydney and the professional All Blacks had yet to form combinations.
The first match was played on the Royal Agricultural Society Ground in front of a sold out crowd of 20000. Using Rugby Union rules, the professional All Blacks led 6–0 at half time and carried on to win 12–8. The stars of the first game were Dick Wynyard for New Zealand and Dally Messenger for the New South Wales. The game was considered to be a great success with a much larger crowd than expected.
The second match was played mid week in front of a smaller crowd of approximately 3000. The professional All Blacks, who had made several changes, defeated the "All Blues" 19–5.
The New Zealanders won the third match 5–3 in front of a crowd of 8000 at the Royal Agricultural Ground. Dally Messenger, playing his first game as captain, was again a star player and was invited to join the touring party as a guest.
There are doubts about when the decision to invite Messenger was made. Some reports say that he was recommended to Bert Baskerville in New Zealand by George Gillett when he had to withdraw due to injury. Dally Messenger's name was certainly included on the contract bought over from New Zealand and this indicates that the decision had already been made. Messenger's performances against the professional All Blacks in Sydney were certainly good enough to warrant his inclusion.
A fourth match was originally planned to take place Melbourne as an attempt to foster rugby there. The plans fell through and the professional All Blacks left Australia having earned £600 from the three matches played. During their short stay the tourists helped kick-start the professional movement in Sydney and their financial success gave valuable momentum to J. J. Giltinan and his plans for a Sydney based, professional rugby competition the following season.
The New Zealand Rugby League were not yet in existence and the tour had no official administrative supporting body. The touring party legally formed themselves into an organisation (The New Zealand All Black Rugby Football team) and each player invested £50 of his own money. This was very a large amount of money at the time. The players were paid £1 per week for expenses and the profits (if any) were to be divided equally at the end of the tour. No bonuses of any kind were paid.
Bert Baskerville acted as tour secretary and performed the majority of the administrative tasks. He was supported by Harry Palmer (Manager), Daniel Fraser (Assistant Manager) and Jim Gleeson (Treasurer).
Disputes were heard by a Management Committee which consisted of Jim Gleeson, Harry Palmer, Duncan McGregory, Massa Johnston, Lance Todd, Bumper Wright and Bert Baskerville. This committee had the power to impose fines for indiscretions and even expel someone from the tour party if it was deemed necessary.
The players did not consider themselves to be professionals. The members of the tour party had all invested their own money and were hoping to receive an equal share of any profits. At this point, none of the players played either code of rugby as a career and they compared themselves to other touring teams such as the 1902 Australian Cricket tour of England who were still regarded as amateurs dcespite sharing profits from the tour. The New Zealand Rugby Union considered the players to be professionals and all members of the tour received a life ban from Rugby Union
Hubert "Jum" Turtill
George Smith (Vice-Captain)
Tom "Angry" Cross
William "Massa" Johnston
Hercules "Bumper" Wright (Captain)