1943 NSWRFL season
|1943 New South Wales Rugby Football League|
|Premiers||Newtown (3rd title)|
|Minor premiers||Newtown (3rd title)|
|Top points scorer(s)||Tom Kirk (116)|
|Top try-scorer(s)||Cyril McMahon (12)|
The 1943 New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership was the thirty-sixth season of Sydney’s top-level rugby league competition, Australia's first. Eight teams from across the city contested during the season which lasted from April until September, culminating in the Newtown club’s Grand Final victory over North Sydney.
The season is notable for Newtown turning around their second-last placing from the previous season, becoming minor premiers and later premiers. On the other hand, defending premiers Canterbury-Bankstown had a disastrous season, finishing last and picking up the wooden spoon for the first of only four occasions to date. Eastern Suburbs also slumped from the four to their lowest placing and poorest record since 1929, and were not to recover their former prominence until the late 1960s.
- Balmain, formed on 23 January 1908 at Balmain Town Hall
- Eastern Suburbs, formed on 24 January 1908 at Paddington Town Hall
- Newtown, formed on 8 January 1908 at Newtown Town Hall
- North Sydney, formed on 7 February 1908
- South Sydney, formed on 17 January 1908 at Redfern Town Hall
- St. George, formed on 8 November 1920 at Kogarah School of Arts
- Western Suburbs, formed on 4 February 1908
Ground: Leichhardt Oval
Coach: Bill Kelly
Captain: Merv Denton
Ground: Belmore Oval
Captain-coach: Roy Kirkaldy
Ground: Sports Ground
Coach: Dave Brown
Captain: Harry Pierce
Ground: Henson Park
Coach: Arthur Folwell
Captain: Frank Farrell
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Captain-coach: Frank Hyde
Ground: Sports Ground
Coach: Jim Tait
Ground: Hurstville Oval
Captain-coach: Neville Smith
Groung: Pratten Park
Coach: Alf Blair
Captain: Jack Whitehurst, Eric Bennett
For the second year running, the minor premiership was decided by a playoff and again Balmain failed to win this important match, this time against Newtown. The following week both of these teams lost their matches to lower-ranked teams, and as a result, the victors North Sydney and St. George faced off to decide who would meet the minor premiers in the Final. North Sydney won this match which allowed them to face the side they had beaten two weeks earlier again; this time in the final. Here, Newtown won the match and claimed their third and final premiership.
|Date and Time||Venue||Referee||Crowd|
|Newtown||11–10||Balmain||7 August 1943||Sydney Cricket Ground||47,230|
|Newtown||16–21||North Sydney||14 August 1943||Sydney Cricket Ground||Jack O'Brien||35,920|
|Balmain||5–12||St. George||21 August 1943||Sydney Cricket Ground||George Bishop||27,395|
|North Sydney||25–19||St. George||28 August 1943||Sydney Cricket Ground||Jack O'Brien||41,646|
|Newtown||34–7||North Sydney||4 September 1943||Sydney Cricket Ground||Jack O'Brien||60,922|
|Tom Kirk||FB||Stan Ridgway|
|Sid Goodwin||WG||Frank Collins|
|Len Smith||CE||Frank Hyde (Ca./Co.)|
|Norm Jacobson||CE||Ted Rudd|
|Bruce Ryan||WG||Ray Ainsworth|
|Tom Nevin||FE||Cyril McMahon|
|Paddy Bugden||HB||Johnny McLachlan|
|Gordon MacLennan||PR||Laurie Doran|
|Jimmy Brailey||HK||Frank Facer|
|Frank Farrell (c)||PR||Harry McKinnon|
|Keith Phillips||SR||Max Whitehead|
|Herb Narvo||SR||Don McKinnon|
|Charles Cahill||LK||Gerald Scully|
The Final was played at the SCG before a record crowd of 60,922, though there were thousands more on roofs and vantage points outside the ground. Because of the War all service people got in, if they were in uniform, for free. Norths were missing two stars on active service who had contributed to their season’s performance – lock Harry Taylor and full-back Neville Butler who was killed in an Air Force action not long before the Final.
Police closed the gates two hours before kick-off leaving ten thousand fans locked out. Latecomers offered up to £10 for seats in the stand. The match provided a great betting orgy with bets of £100 common and more than £25,000 laid before the match began.
Captained by the colourful Frank "Bumper" Farrell, Newtown took on the fancied North Sydney side. The men from across the harbour were led by Frank Hyde and his Norths' side had shown no sympathy for his former club, having beaten Newtown three times already that season. Newtown countered the short-kicking tactics of the Bears into an advantage of their own, gaining a strong lead at half-time and going on to win 34–7. The 27-point margin was a grand final record. Stars of the day for Newtown were forward Charles Cahill along with backs Len Smith and Tom Kirk. It was the third premiership win for Newtown, and would turn out to be their last.
Newtown 34 (Tries: Goodwin 2, Ryan, Brailey, Phillips, Narvo, Smith, Farrell. Goals: Kirk 5)
North Sydney 7 (Tries: McLachlan. Goals: Rudd 2)
- Premiership Roll of Honour Archived 28 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine at rl1908.com
- Easts: Season Summary Archived 19 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- 1943 Grand Final at nrlstats.com
- Pollard, Jack (1965). Gregory's Guide to Rugby League. Australia: Grenville Publishing. p144.
- Middleton, David (24 April 2010). "Footy stars taken on battlefield". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- Pollard, Jack (1965). Gregory's Guide to Rugby League. Australia: Grenville Publishing. p82.
- Coady, Ben (28 September 2009). "Grand final dramas". WA Today. Australia: Fairfax Digital. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
- "South's record margin in League Finale". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia. 24 September 1951. p. 6. Retrieved 20 November 2009.