WA Reds

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Western Reds
Westernredslogo.jpg
Club information
Full name Western Reds Rugby League Football Club
Founded 30 November 1992
Current details
Ground(s)
Competition Australian Rugby League (1995-1996)
Super League (1997)
S.G. Ball Cup (2006-2011)

The Western Reds were a rugby league football club based in Perth, Western Australia. Founded in 1992 as the Western Reds, they entered into the Australian Rugby League competition in 1995 before defecting to the rival Super League competition in 1997, where they rebranded themselves as the Perth Reds. However, by the end of the year the Reds had become a casualty of the Super League War peace deal and were shut down. The Reds entered a state of limbo for the next decade but were revived as a lower-level club in 2006 by the WARL and ARL, under the name WA Reds.

History[edit]

Western Reds (1992–1996)[edit]

The Reds had recruited well in 1993–94, and signed Peter Mulholland as their first coach. St. George fullback Michael Potter (twice winner of the Dally M Award), 1992 Rookie of year and CLEO bachelor of the year Matthew Rodwell, and Australian and NSW rep player Brad Mackay were three of the major signings.

Their first game, played at the WACA, was watched by a record 24,392, with the Reds defeating St George 28–16. When News Limited began its "blitzkrieg" in April 1995, the Reds aligned themselves with Super League along with nine other Australian Rugby League clubs. That season the Reds were the best performing of the three expansion teams introduced, winning 11 of their 22 games, including 8 at home, which drew an average crowd of around 13,000, larger than that of many Sydney teams.

The Reds even recruited local identity and decorated WAFL and West Coast Eagles (AFL) player Adrian Barich. Barich, having grown up in Canberra reverted from Australian rules football to rugby league, finishing his career with seasons with the Reds, however he never played in first grade. [2].


After declaring that the club may not have the financial resources to compete in the 1996 ARL Optus Cup, a major sponsorship with the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sunday Times gave the club some much needed money. By mid 1996 club support had dwindled to just over 6,000.

Perth Reds (1997)[edit]

In 1997 the Reds became one of eight ARL teams to join the rival Super League during the dispute known as the Super League war. They changed their name to the Perth Reds for the 1997 Super League season,[1] and adopted a jersey of red, white and black. Although the club had made some promising signings, such as Rodney Howe and Robbie Kearns, the crushing $10 million debt that hung over the club (from having to pay the airfares for all visiting teams) at the end of the season led to Super League axing the Perth Reds on 1 October 1997.

Hiatus (1998–2005)[edit]

Rugby league has continued to be played in Western Australia since the Reds left the top-flight competition with the Swan Brewery Cup continuing and NRL matches being staged at various times since 1998. On 8 May 1999, Melbourne Storm played Western Suburbs Magpies at Lathlain Oval in Perth, with Melbourne running out winners 62–6. In 2005, Cronulla Sharks took their home game against the New Zealand Warriors to the Members Equity Stadium in Perth, and played in front of around 13,000 spectators.

WA Reds (2006–2011)[edit]

WA Reds logo, 2006-2011

The WARL resurrected the Reds in 2006 with the intent of joining the National Rugby League in the future. In 2008 the Reds joined the Jim Beam Cup and played out of Members Equity Stadium.[2]

In the 2009 Bundaberg Red Cup the Reds were winless until the back-end of the season when they won 3 of their 4 last games, giving them something to build on for the next season. Darwin Rugby League product Aaron Barnes was named the Reds' player of the year.[3] Unfortunately for financial reasons the Reds snr team was withdrawn from the Bundy Cup for 2010.

In 2010 the WA Reds entered an Under 18's team in the S. G. Ball Cup competition. The first trial game on 30 January 2010 was against the runners-up of the Western Australia Rugby League competition the Central Bulldogs — they won 38–20. The WARL have set up two junior academies to help develop players for a return to the NRL with the SG Ball side providing a staging ground for player development. The WA Reds juniors won their first SG Ball game beating the Balmain Tigers at ME Stadium 28–8.

Whilst the team found it tough going against often bigger and more experienced sides they did claim a couple of scalps and at the end of the season Curtis Rona was signed by the Sydney Roosters, earning a call up to the under 20's side during 2010.

A new bid logo was launched in 2010 and membership for fans was made available. NRL CEO David Gallop recognised the WA Reds 2013 bid on a number of occasions, speaking positively about the potential for a Perth team in the NRL.[citation needed]

West Coast Pirates (2012-)[edit]

Main article: West Coast Pirates

In 2012 the WARL launched the West Coast Pirates as the Perth bid team for an NRL license. As of 2012 West Coast competes in the SG Ball Cup instead of the WA Reds. [4]

Notable players[edit]

Club Records[edit]

See also[edit]

Sources/References[edit]

  • RL1908's Western Reds Page
  • The History of Rugby League Clubs. By Ian Collis and Alan Whiticker.
  • Super League: The Inside Story. By Mike Colman.
  • The Official NRL 2003 Season Guide

Footnotes[edit]

External links[edit]