1966 NSWRFL season

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1966 New South Wales Rugby Football League
Teams 10
Premiers St. George colours.svg St. George (13th title)
Minor premiers St. George colours.svg St. George (12th title)
Matches played 95
Points scored 2715 (total)
28.579 (per match)
Attendance 1,293,261 (total)
13,613 (per match)
Top point scorer(s) Newtown colours.svg Bob Lanigan (185)
Top try scorer(s) North Sydney colours.svg Ken Irvine (13)

1966's New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership was the 59th season of the rugby league competition based in Sydney. Ten clubs from across the city competed for the J J Giltinan Shield and the WD & HO Wills Cup during the season, which culminated in a replay of the 1964 grand final between St. George and Balmain.

Season summary[edit]

1966 was the last season played under the unlimited tackle rule. Balmain, with their talented raw rookie recruit Arthur Beetson, appeared to be about to topple the Dragons from their long-held perch when the Tigers won eleven consecutive regular season games. However a late season slump saw them pegged back to the rest of the field and an eventual second place on the minor-premiership ladder behind the Dragons, who were being led by new captain-coach Ian Walsh.

The Eastern Suburbs Roosters did not win a single match in 1966, continuing a losing streak that started in round 14, 1965 and which would run till round 2, 1967. This marked the second-most consecutive losses in NSWRFL premiership history at 25 behind University's 42 in the mid-1930s.

Teams[edit]

Balmain
59th season
Ground: Leichhardt Oval
Coach: Harry Bath
Captain: Keith Barnes
Canterbury home jersey 1966.svg
Canterbury-Bankstown
32nd season
Ground: Belmore Sports Ground
Captain-coach: Roger PearmanGeorge Taylforth
Eastern Suburbs
59th season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Coach: Bert Holcroft
Captains: Ron Saddler / Ken Ashcroft
Manly-Warringah
20th season
Ground: Brookvale Oval
Coach: Wally O'Connell
Captains: Frank Stanton / Ken Day
Newtown Jets home jersey 1908.svg
Newtown
59th season
Ground: Henson Park
Coach: Dick Poole
Captain: Paul Quinn
North Sydney Bears home jersey 1951.svg
North Sydney
59th season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Coach: Fred Griffiths
Captain: Billy Wilson
Parramatta
20th season
Ground: Cumberland Oval
Captain-coach: Ken Thornett
South Sydney
59th season
Ground: Redfern Oval
Coach: Bernie Purcell
Captain(s): Jim Lisle / Bob Moses
St. George
46th season
Ground: Jubilee Oval
Captain-coach: Ian Walsh
Western Suburbs
59th season
Ground: Pratten Park
Captain-Coach: Noel Kelly

Ladder[edit]

Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1 St. George colours.svg St. George 18 13 1 4 331 156 +175 27
2 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 18 12 0 6 279 203 +76 24
3 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly 18 11 0 7 348 256 +92 22
4 Newtown colours.svg Newtown 18 10 0 8 261 249 +12 20
5 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 18 10 0 8 228 241 -13 20
6 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 18 9 0 9 263 228 +35 18
7 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta 18 8 2 8 236 232 +4 18
8 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury 18 8 0 10 244 295 -51 16
9 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney 18 7 1 10 282 313 -31 15
10 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 18 0 0 18 147 446 -299 0

Finals[edit]

Home Score Away Match Information
Date and Time Venue Referee Crowd
Playoff
Newtown colours.svg Newtown 20-5 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 23 August 1966 Sydney Sports Ground W.Kelly 10,724
Semi Finals
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 10-9 Newtown colours.svg Newtown 27 August 1966 Sydney Cricket Ground Col Pearce 31,803
St. George colours.svg St. George 10-2 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 3 September 1966 Sydney Cricket Ground Col Pearce 46,531
Preliminary Final
Balmain colours.svg Balmain 8-5 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 10 September 1966 Sydney Cricket Ground Col Pearce 39,461
Grand Final
St. George colours.svg St. George 23-4 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 18 September 1966 Sydney Cricket Ground Col Pearce 61,129

Grand Final[edit]

St. George Posit. Balmain
Graeme Langlands FB Keith Barnes (c)
Johnny King WG Paul Cross
Bruce Pollard CE Kevin Yow Yeh
Ken Maddison CE Laurie Moraschi
Eddie Lumsden WG Bob Mara
Brian Clay FE Peter Jones
Billy Smith HB Dave Bolton
Robin Gourley PR Bobby Sullivan
Ian Walsh (Ca./Co.) HK Bob Boland
Kevin Ryan PR Gary Leo
Elton Rasmussen SR Denis Tutty
Dick Huddart SR Arthur Beetson
Johnny Raper LK Peter Provan
Trevor Levin Reserve Sid Williams
Reserve David Cooper
Coach Harry Bath

Balmain had beaten St. George twice in the regular season and in their coach Harry Bath, who had helped design the Dragons premiership winning formula, had a tactician well placed to counter it. They had a number of young players in Beetson, Kevin Yow Yeh and Denis Tutty who could trouble the Dragons, plus the experience of Dave Bolton, Peter Provan and the unrivalled goal-kicking brilliance of Keith Barnes.

The opening skirmishes on the day of the decider were balanced. Balmain took an early lead when Barnes kicked a penalty goal. St. George's Billy Smith struck back when he set up a run around movement with Brian Clay, which led to a try to Bruce Pollard.

The turning point of the match came soon after when the Dragons' English import Dick Huddart and Ian Walsh put on a set move as the Tigers' defence rushed up too early. Walsh bust through the line and with only the fullback to beat and passed the ball to Huddart who raced 30 yards to score.

On the other side of half-time Billy Smith sliced through and found Johnny Raper who got to the Balmain 25-yard line before finding prop Kevin Ryan in support. It was a spectacular run from the evergreen forward who out-raced his pursuers and dived through the air to score and put the match beyond doubt.

Balmain had tried to slow down the Dragons with stifling tactics but this backfired and resulted in an unfavourable penalty count. Classy Dragons fullback Graeme Langlands capitalised on this, kicking seven goals.

Huddart was dominant for the clinical Saints who did not concede a try for a staggering seventh time in eight grand final victories. He had been niggled early in the game by the Balmain forwards and responded by running freely all match and crashing the Tigers with fiery tackles.

With the full-time siren St George had won their 11th successive Grand Final, setting a record[1] that is unlikely to be ever broken in first grade rugby league or perhaps in any top-grade world team sport.

It was the last game played for the club by Dragons enforcer Kevin Ryan after seven Grand Final wins and also the farewell match for winger Eddie Lumsden who had appeared in nine of the victories.

St. George 23 (Tries: Pollard, Huddart, Ryan. Goals: Langlands 7.)

Balmain 4 ( Goals: Barnes 2.)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sydney Cricket Ground Magic Moments". sydneycricketground.com.au. Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust. Retrieved 2009-09-02.