Sydney Roosters Juniors
The Sydney Roosters Juniors is officially known as the Eastern Suburbs District Junior Rugby League (ESDJRL). It is an affiliation of junior clubs in the Eastern Suburbs area, covering the Woollahra and Waverley local government areas (LGAs), the northern parts of the Randwick LGA and also the eastern areas of the City of Sydney LGA. The district currently boasts the following clubs;
- Bondi United
- Clovelly Crocodiles
- Paddington-Woollahra Tigers changed from
- Maroubra Lions
- St Charles Waverley
These clubs play in a combined junior competition with the clubs in the South Sydney District Junior Rugby Football League.
Some former Eastern Suburbs junior clubs include;
- Tea Gardens Hotel
- Bondi Junction Hotel (also known as Billy The Pigs but now called The Eastern)
- Paddington Colts (became affiliated with South Sydney shortly before folding)
- Coogee Dolphins (formed under the auspices of the Eastern Suburbs Junior League but now affiliated with the South Sydney League)
- Dunbar United (Paddington)
- Nelson Sharks (Bondi Junction) - known as Denison Devils from 1958-1982
- East Randwick
- Rose Bay Rams
- Woolloomooloo Warriors
- Brothers (combined Eastern Subs Catholic Club & Marcellin College)
- Paddington CYO
- Brighton Hotel Jets (Darlinghurst)
- Coogee Bay Hotel
- Astra Hotel Knights (Bondi)
- Bondi Royals
- Bondi Sharks
- Waverley Waratah
- Double Bay
Some notable players who have played in the Eastern Suburbs district as a junior include;
Bondi United juniors
- Ferris Ashton
- Paul Dunn
- Luke Ricketson
- Matthew Elliott
- Luke Towers
- Tom Symonds
- Ian Rubin
- John Peard
- Johnny Mayes
- Kevin Junee
- Paul Dunn (moved from Bathurst as a teen)
Paddington Colts juniors
- Bryan Fletcher
- Jim Dymock (played with Wooloomooloo Warriors & Paddington Colts - before moving to Zetland in Souths juniors in his late teens)
- Craig Field (before moving to Zetland in Souths juniors in his teens)
from other junior clubs
- Luke Towers (Clovelly Crocodiles):
- Ryan Cross (St Charles Waverley)
- Craig Salvatori (Nelson Hotel) After leaving Matraville Tiger in the Souths Juniors comp.
- Shaun Kenny Dowall (Clovelly Crocodiles)
- Anthony Cherrington (Paddington-Woolahra Tigers)
- Blake Ayshford (Paddington-Woollahra): with Wests Tigers
- Kevin Hastings (St Marys Cathedral & Brothers)
- Sandor Earl (Bondi United): with Penrith Panthers
When the Sydney Roosters first entered the NSWRL competition as Eastern Suburbs in 1908, the tricolours would become neighbours to fellow city counterpart, the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Anzac Parade separated the territories for both inner-Sydney clubs when the boundaries were first established the previous year. Souths' boundaries were based on the municipalities of Redfern, Botany, Alexandria, Mascot and Waterloo, while the Roosters' boundaries were those of the eastern municipalities of Paddington, Woollahra, Vaucluse, Randwick and Waverley. Many of these councils had then amalgamated, as demographic changes affected the inner and eastern suburbs of Sydney. Randwick Council has a western and southern boundary of Anzac Parade and incorporates all those eastern suburbs east of Anzac Parade, and these suburbs like Waverly, Bondi, and Woollahra were all part of the Roosters' territory since 1908.
The new junior league boundaries set out in the early 1950s would take territory away from the Roosters, and hand it over to rival neighbouring club South Sydney.
In the mid-20th century, the southern half of Roosters territory within the Randwick local government area was handed to South Sydney. The NSWRL made this change to 'even the competition' as South Sydney's original heartland, around Redfern and Waterloo, had rapidly industrialised and de-populated. Rabbitohs stalwart S.G. Ball was a dual administrator within South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New South Wales Rugby League at the time. The Rabbitohs were in a highly successful period and had established South Sydney Juniors Rugby League Club in Kingsford, Roosters territory in recent times.
Debate still continues amongst rival fans as to how and why Eastern Suburbs territory, comprising suburbs with junior league clubs rich in talent and numbers in the Randwick and Coogee areas, was given to South Sydney. The Roosters expressed disappointment at losing some of its junior clubs, but the NSWRL would not waver.
This was not to be the end of struggle for junior territory between the two inner-city clubs. In the 1980s some junior clubs such as Paddington Colts that were within Roosters territory became dissatisfied with Roosters management and affiliated with South Sydney.
After the Newtown Jets were expelled from the NSWRL in 1983, their junior district was eventually absorbed into the South Sydney junior district in 1987. With the tide having turned compared to the situation decades earlier, and the Roosters having a much smaller junior League than South Sydney, Eastern Suburbs at this time then made unsuccessful attempts to regain the suburbs on the same grounds used to hand the southern parts of Coogee and Randwick from Easts to Souths, that of providing an 'even competition'. The NSWRL, controlled at the time by a Board with a ruling faction of representatives from South Sydney (Terry Parker), Balmain (Keith Barnes), Canterbury (Peter Moore) and Manly (Ken Arthurson), refused to redraw the boundaries.
To this day, the Roosters are colloquially among Rugby League fans, known as a club with a small junior league, while South Sydney are considered "rich in junior talent". This is ironic considering the significant number of junior league players located notionally within Sydney's "eastern suburbs", who now reside outside of the Sydney Roosters' re-drawn junior boundaries.
- See 'From Where The Sun Rises - The History of the Sydney Roosters' by David Middleton, Ian Heads and Geoff Armstrong