1923 NSWRFL season

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1923 New South Wales Rugby Football League
Teams 9
Premiers Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs (4th title)
Minor premiers Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs (3rd title)
Matches played 73
Points scored 1862 (total)
25.507 (per match)
Top point scorer(s) Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Arthur Oxford (113)
Top try scorer(s) North Sydney colours.svg Herman Peters (16)

The 1923 New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership was the sixteenth season of Sydney's top-level rugby league football club competition, Australia's first. Nine teams from across the city contested during the season which culminated in Eastern suburbs' victory over South Sydney in the premiership final.[1]

The 1923 season was the last season that future Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame inductee Duncan Thompson played in.

Teams[edit]

Balmain home jersey 1908.svg
Balmain
16th season
Ground: Birchgrove Oval
Captain-Coach: Charles Fraser
Eastern Suburbs
16th season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Coach: Ray Norman
Captain: Harry Caples
Glebe
16th season
Ground: Wentworth Park
Captain-Coach: Frank Burge
Newtown Jets home jersey 1908.svg
Newtown
16th season
Ground: Marrickville Oval
Coach: Arthur Halloway & Albert Johnston
Captain: Alex Bolewski
North Sydney Bears home jersey 1908.svg
North Sydney
16th season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Coach:
Captain: Duncan Thompson
St. George
3rd season
Ground: Hurstville Oval
Coach: Herb Gilbert
Captain: Clarrie Tye
South Sydney
16th season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Captain-Coach: Bill 'Tiger' Gillespie
University home jersey 1920.svg
University
4th season
Coach: Bill Kelly
Captain: Hubert "Butt" Finn
Western Suburbs
16th season
Ground: Pratten Park
Captain-Coach: Tedda Courtney

Ladder[edit]

The geographical locations of the foundation teams across Sydney.
Team Pld W D L B PF PA PD Pts
1 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 16 13 0 3 2 235 124 +111 30
2 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 16 13 0 3 2 242 173 +69 30
3 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 16 10 1 5 2 247 136 +111 25
4 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 16 9 0 7 2 257 218 +39 22
5 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney 16 8 0 8 2 245 223 +22 20
6 Glebe colours.svg Glebe 16 6 0 10 2 160 193 -33 16
7 St. George colours.svg St. George 16 5 0 11 2 168 236 -68 14
8 Newtown colours.svg Newtown 16 4 2 10 2 161 297 -136 14
9 University colours.svg University 16 2 1 13 2 120 235 -115 9

Finals[edit]

The top two sides, Eastern Suburbs and South Sydney, tied on equal points at the end of the season. Eastern Suburbs had previously been leading South Sydney by 2 points coming into the final round of the year, only to lose to third-placed Balmain by 1 point in front of 14,000 people in the final match. South Sydney on the other hand won their final match against North Sydney to go level on top of the ladder.

Premiership final[edit]

Eastern Suburbs Posit. South Sydney
Ed Rigney FB Howard Hallett
Cyril Abotomey WG Benny Wearing
Jack Dawson CE Tom Barry
Les Steel CE Vic Lawrence
George Agar WG Oscar Quinlivan
Harry Caples (c) FE Bill Gillespie (c)
Sid Kaufman HB A. Johnstone
Arthur Oxford PR David Watson
Bill Richards HK Pat Murphy
Tom Molloy PR John "Percy" Horne
Bill Ives SR Ern Wilmot
Harold Holmes SR Alf O'Connor
Jack Watkins LK Jack Lawrence
Edward Connerton Res. -
Ray Norman Coach

A final, the second in as many seasons, was played between Eastern Suburbs and South Sydney the following Wednesday 12 September at the Sydney Cricket Ground, attracting a crowd of 15,000 people. With referee Tom McMahon officiating Eastern Suburbs prevailed winners 15-12 and claimed their first premiership since 1913.

Eastern Suburbs 15 (Tries: Caples 2, Steel. Goals: Oxford 3)

South Sydney 12 (Tries: Wearing 2. Goals: Wearing 3)

Easts kicked off in front of 15,000 spectators, Souths responded soon after with a try to Benny Wearing, the try was unconverted leaving Souths with a 3-0 lead. Easts responded with an unconverted try to Les Steel after some good lead up work from Easts captain Harry Caples. Both sides then traded penalty goals. The Tricolours took a 7-5 lead to the break following another goal to front-row forward Arthur Oxford.

After the break play flowed from end to end until, from a scrum win in Souths halfback, Johnstone, kicked over the defense, regathered, then found Wearing who scored under the posts, Wearing then converted his own try to give Souths a 10-7 lead. The lead changed yet again when Caples took an intercept, kicked past the fullback and scored, Oxford converted to make it 12-10. A penalty goal to Benny Wearing soon after locked the scores up at 12 points all. With time almost up Caples scored out wide after some fine lead up work from Easts centre, Dawson.

The win gave Eastern Suburbs their first premiership in ten years. rugby league publication 'Rugby League News' referred to the match as "the most brilliant game of the season."

—Hadden, Brad, "History of the NSWRL Finals"


References[edit]