New South Wales Rugby League premiership

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This article is about the NSWRL Premierships run from 1908 until 1994. For the governing body of rugby league in New South Wales, see New South Wales Rugby League.

The New South Wales Rugby League premiership was the first rugby league football club competition established in Australia and predecessor to today's National Rugby League. Run by the New South Wales Rugby League (initially named the New South Wales Rugby Football League) from 1908 until 1994, the premiership was the state's and later the country's elite rugby league competition. For most of the premiership's history it was contested by clubs from the state of New South Wales only, but later grew into a nation-wide competition, eventually leading to the competition being played under the auspices of the Australian Rugby League in 1995. Despite this name, the 1995 and 1996 Australian Rugby League Premierships competitions were still administered by the Board and staff of the New South Wales Rugby League.

1908: Rugby league premiership in Sydney[edit]

The inaugural New South Wales Rugby Football League (NSWRFL) premiership began in 1908, and was made up of eight Sydney-based teams and one team from Newcastle. Cumberland joined the competition after the first round, meaning that they played one game fewer than the rest of the field for the season. Still known as the "foundation clubs" today, these nine teams battled against one another during the 1908 season, with South Sydney taking the first premiership honours after beating Eastern Suburbs in the Final.

Club Traditional Colours Years Contested Matches [1] Seasons
Played Won Drew Lost Win/Loss Played Premiers Minor Premiers Runners-Up
Balmain Balmain colours.svg 1908 - 1999 1705 871 68 766 53.08% 92 11 7 9
Cumberland Cumberland colours.svg 1908 8 1 0 7 12.50% 1 0 0 0
Eastern Suburbs Eastern Suburbs colours.svg 1908 - current 1880 995 67 818 54.71% 98 12 16 14
Glebe Glebe colours.svg 1908 - 1929 297 163 6 128 55.89% 22 0 1 4
Newcastle Newcastle foundation colours.svg 1908 - 1909 20 9 0 11 45.00% 2 0 0 0
Newtown Newtown colours.svg 1908 - 1983 1305 583 59 663 46.93% 76 3 6 7
North Sydney North Sydney colours.svg 1908 - 1999 1665 678 71 916 42.85% 92 2 2 1
South Sydney South Sydney colours.svg 1908 - 1999
2002 - current
1813 940 45 828 53.09% 96 20 17 13
Western Suburbs Western Suburbs colours.svg 1908 - 1999 1691 734 49 908 44.86% 92 4 5 8

1909 - 1994: Expansion of the premiership[edit]

As a result of South Sydney's dominant 1925 season, the NSWRFL introduced a finals system in order to maintain interest in the competition.[2]

Over the decades since the NSWRFL competition started, Sydney suburban teams came and went throughout its history but it was not until 1982 that the competition saw significant expansion outside of the Sydney area. The two new inclusions were from the Australian Capital Territory - the Canberra Raiders - as well as a team from the southern New South Wales region - the Illawarra Steelers. This corresponded with the adoption of commercial sponsorship of the competition for the first time, seeing it become the Winfield Cup (named after the popular cigarette brand).

The NSWRFL had also commenced a very popular and successful mid-week competition in 1973, originally known as the Amco Cup, but also as the Tooth Cup and the National Panasonic Cup. The success of this competition, which included teams from both Brisbane and New Zealand ultimately created pressure for further expansion of the NSWRL competition. In 1984, the New South Wales Rugby Football League changed its name to New South Wales Rugby League.

In 1988, for the very first time, two Queensland teams joined the competition, with the inclusions of the Brisbane Broncos and the Gold Coast-Tweed Giants. This saw the premiership competition move beyond the outer borders of New South Wales. At the same time, as a result of mounting pressure from the central coast of New South Wales, a Newcastle franchise was returned to the competition. Their return saw the end of an 86-year wait in the wilderness and this time around the team was badged the Newcastle Knights.

Club Traditional Colours Years Contested Matches [1] Seasons
Played Won Drew Lost Win/Loss Played Premiers Minor Premiers Runners-Up
Annandale Annandale colours.svg 1910 - 1920 153 25 6 122 18.30% 11 0 0 0
University University colours.svg 1920 - 1937 242 47 5 190 20.45% 18 0 0 1
St. George St. George colours.svg 1921 - 1998 1545 910 56 579 60.71% 78 15 15 12
Canterbury-Bankstown Canterbury colours.svg 1935 - current 1502 778 53 671 53.56% 71 8 6 8
Manly-Warringah Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg 1947 - 1999
2003 - current
1261 719 35 507 58.41% 56 7 9 10
Parramatta Parramatta colours.svg 1947 - current 1321 608 38 675 47.46% 59 4 5 4
Cronulla-Sutherland Cronulla colours.svg 1967 - current 932 456 22 454 50.11% 39 0 2 3
Penrith Panthers colours.svg 1967 - current 917 379 26 512 42.75% 39 2 2 1
Illawarra Illawarra colours.svg 1982 - 1998 396 153 13 230 40.28% 17 0 0 0
Canberra Canberra colours.svg 1982 - current 606 323 9 274 54.04% 24 3 1 2
Brisbane Brisbane colours.svg 1988 - current 457 299 11 147 66.63% 18 5 4 0
Newcastle Newcastle colours.svg 1988 - current 446 234 14 198 54.04% 18 2 0 0
Gold Coast Gold Coast Chargers colours.svg 1988 - 1998 246 53 9 184 23.37% 11 0 0 0

After mostly solid results were obtained by the expansion teams in 1988, there was increasing pressure for new inclusions into the competition. Having decided in May 1992 that a team from Auckland would join the premiership in 1995, the League announced in November that three more new clubs — from North Queensland, Perth and a second team from Brisbane — will also be invited.

In 1995, some seven years later, the competition expanded further into Queensland, with the inception of the South Queensland Crushers and the North Queensland Cowboys. 1995 also saw a new team in Western Australia, the 'Western Reds', as well as a New Zealand-based team - the Auckland Warriors. The total number of teams in the competition was now twenty - the largest-scale rugby league competition ever in Australia. The premiership's new national outlook was further reflected in the governing body's name, with the New South Wales Rugby League transferring control of the competition to the Australian Rugby League (ARL).

Premiers[edit]

Between 1912 and 1925 there was no semi-final system and a final was only played if two clubs finished level at the conclusion of the Minor Premiership. Souths won the 1909 premiership when Balmain forfeited in protest against the final being played as a preliminary match before a promotional game between the national Rugby League and Rugby Union sides. The 1937 season also featured no finals as the year was disrupted by the Kangaroos tour. Between 1926 and 1953 first played third and second played fourth and winners played off. If the minor premiers were defeated they had a right of challenge, but if they were not defeated there was no true "grand final."

From 1954 a mandatory grand final was introduced in which there was a knockout minor semi-final between third and fourth and a second-chance major semi between first and second. The winner of the major semi went to the grand final and a preliminary final was played between the winner of the minor semi and the loser of the major semi to decide who would meet the winner of the major semi.

In 1973 a final five was devised with the top team going straight into the major semi, the second and third teams playing a major preliminary semi, and the fourth and fifth playing a sudden-death minor preliminary semi. The top team played the winner of the major preliminary semi-final, whilst the winner of the minor preliminary semi played the loser of the major preliminary semi in the minor semi-final (which was played as before under the final four system.

Past winners of the NSWRL Premiership
Season Grand Final Information Minor Premiers
Premiers Score Second
1908 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 14-12 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney
1909 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney forfeit Balmain colours.svg Balmain South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney
1910 Newtown colours.svg Newtown 4-4 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Newtown colours.svg Newtown
1911 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 11-8 Glebe colours.svg Glebe Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs
1912 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs
1913 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs
1914 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney
1915 Balmain colours.svg Balmain Balmain colours.svg Balmain
1916 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 5-3 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Balmain colours.svg Balmain
1917 Balmain colours.svg Balmain Balmain colours.svg Balmain
1918 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney
1919 Balmain colours.svg Balmain Balmain colours.svg Balmain
1920 Balmain colours.svg Balmain Balmain colours.svg Balmain
1921 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney
1922 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney 35-3 Glebe colours.svg Glebe North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney
1923 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 15-12 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs
1924 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 3-0 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Balmain colours.svg Balmain
1925 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney
1926 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 11-5 University colours.svg University South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney
1927 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 20-11 St. George colours.svg St. George South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney
1928 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 26-5 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs St. George colours.svg St. George
1929 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 30-10 Newtown colours.svg Newtown South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney
1930 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 27-2 St. George colours.svg St. George Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs
1931 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 12-7 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs
1932 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 19-12 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney
1933 Newtown colours.svg Newtown 18-5 St. George colours.svg St. George Newtown colours.svg Newtown
1934 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 15-2 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs
1935 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 19-3 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs
1936 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 32-12 Balmain colours.svg Balmain Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs
1937 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs
1938 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown 19-6 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown
1939 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 33-4 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Balmain colours.svg Balmain
1940 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 24-14 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs
1941 St. George colours.svg St. George 31-14 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs
1942 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown 11-9 St. George colours.svg St. George Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown
1943 Newtown colours.svg Newtown 34-7 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney Newtown colours.svg Newtown
1944 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 12-8 Newtown colours.svg Newtown Newtown colours.svg Newtown
1945 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 22-18 Balmain colours.svg Balmain Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs
1946 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 13-12 St. George colours.svg St. George St. George colours.svg St. George
1947 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 13-9 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown
1948 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 8-5 Balmain colours.svg Balmain Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs
1949 St. George colours.svg St. George 19-12 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney
1950 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 21-15 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney
1951 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 42-14 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney
1952 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 22-12 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs
1953 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 31-12 St. George colours.svg St. George South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney
1954 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 23-15 Newtown colours.svg Newtown Newtown colours.svg Newtown
1955 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 12-11 Newtown colours.svg Newtown Newtown colours.svg Newtown
1956 St. George colours.svg St. George 18-12 Balmain colours.svg Balmain St. George colours.svg St. George
1957 St. George colours.svg St. George 31-9 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah St. George colours.svg St. George
1958 St. George colours.svg St. George 20-9 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs St. George colours.svg St. George
1959 St. George colours.svg St. George 20-0 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah St. George colours.svg St. George
1960 St. George colours.svg St. George 31-6 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs St. George colours.svg St. George
1961 St. George colours.svg St. George 22-0 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs
1962 St. George colours.svg St. George 9-6 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs St. George colours.svg St. George
1963 St. George colours.svg St. George 8-3 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs St. George colours.svg St. George
1964 St. George colours.svg St. George 11-6 Balmain colours.svg Balmain St. George colours.svg St. George
1965 St. George colours.svg St. George 12-8 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney St. George colours.svg St. George
1966 St. George colours.svg St. George 23-4 Balmain colours.svg Balmain St. George colours.svg St. George
1967 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 12-10 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown St. George colours.svg St. George
1968 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 13-9 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney
1969 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 11-2 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney
1970 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 23-12 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney
1971 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 16-10 St. George colours.svg St. George Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah
1972 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 19-14 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah
1973 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 10-7 Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla-Sutherland Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah
1974 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 19-4 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs
1975 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 38-0 St. George colours.svg St. George Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs
1976 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 13-10 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah
1977 St. George colours.svg St. George 9-9
22-0
Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta
1978 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 11-11
16-0
Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla-Sutherland Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs
1979 St. George colours.svg St. George 17-13 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown St. George colours.svg St. George
1980 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown 18-4 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs
1981 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta 20-11 Newtown colours.svg Newtown Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs
1982 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta 21-8 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta
1983 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta 18-6 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah
1984 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown 6-4 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown
1985 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown 7-6 St. George colours.svg St. George St. George colours.svg St. George
1986 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta 4-2 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta
1987 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 18-8 Canberra colours.svg Canberra Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah
1988 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown 24-12 Balmain colours.svg Balmain Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla-Sutherland
1989 Canberra colours.svg Canberra 19-14 Balmain colours.svg Balmain South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney
1990 Canberra colours.svg Canberra 18-14 Panthers colours.svg Penrith Canberra colours.svg Canberra
1991 Panthers colours.svg Penrith 19-12 Canberra colours.svg Canberra Panthers colours.svg Penrith
1992 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane 28-8 St. George colours.svg St. George Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane
1993 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane 14-6 St. George colours.svg St. George Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown
1994 Canberra colours.svg Canberra 36-12 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown
  • 1909: Balmain refused to play the final in protest to the game being held as a curtain-raiser to a Kangaroos v Wallabies match. Souths played, kicked off, scored & were declared premiers. Many contend though that a 'gentlemans agreement' was reached to postpone the game to the following weekend - and the action undertaken by Souths in starting the match sparked a fierce and bitter rivalry between the clubs that continued for many decades.
  • 1910: Top two played off for the title. In the event of a drawn match, the superior record during the season secured the title, Newtown had compiled 23 competition points, Souths 22.
  • 1977-78: Drawn games requiring a replay.
  • 1989: The score was tied 14 all at normal full-time - extra time was played to decide the winner.


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rugby League Tables / Win-Loss Records / All Teams, As of Round 10, 2006,
  2. ^ Middleton, David (30 September 2013). "Ten of the most dominant seasons in rugby league history from historian David Middleton". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 

External links[edit]