1946 NSWRFL season

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1946 New South Wales Rugby Football League
Teams 8
Premiers Balmain colours.svg Balmain (9th title)
Minor premiers St. George colours.svg St. George (2nd title)
Matches played 60
Points scored 1956
Top points scorer(s) Newtown colours.svg Tom Kirk (122)
Top try-scorer(s) St. George colours.svg Jack Lindwall (16)

The 1946 New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership was the thirty-ninth season of Sydney’s top-level rugby league competition, Australia’s first. Eight teams from across the city contested during the season which culminated in Balmain’s victory over St. George in the premiership final.[1]

Season summary[edit]

The South Sydney club did not win a single match in 1946, continuing a losing streak that started in round 8, 1945 and which would run till round 1, 1947.

Eastern Suburbs’ Lionel Cooper took out the New South Wales “Player of the Year” award.


Balmain home jersey 1940.svg
39th season
Ground: Leichhardt Oval
Coach: Norm Robinson
Captain: Tom Bourke
Canterbury home jersey 1943.svg
12th season
Ground: Belmore Oval
Coach: Ross McKinnon
Captain: Ron Bailey
Eastern Suburbs
39th season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Captain-Coach: Ray Stehr
Newtown Jets home jersey 1908.svg
39th season
Ground: Henson Park
Coach: Frank Farrell & Len Smith
Captain: Frank Farrell
North Sydney Bears home jersey 1932.svg
North Sydney
39th season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Coach: Harry Forbes
Captain: Jim Scoular
South Sydney
39th season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Coach: Arthur Hennessy
Captain: Clem Kennedy
St. George
26th season
Ground: Hurstville Oval
Captain-Coach: Herb Narvo
Western Suburbs
39th season
Ground: Pratten Park
Captain-Coach: Jack Walsh


The geographical locations of the teams that contested the 1946 premiership across Sydney.
Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1 St. George colours.svg St. George 14 11 0 3 264 203 +61 22
2 Newtown colours.svg Newtown 14 10 0 4 294 189 +105 20
3 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 14 9 0 5 279 193 +86 18
4 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown 14 8 1 5 212 196 +16 17
5 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 14 8 0 6 213 174 +39 16
6 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney 14 5 0 9 248 283 -35 10
7 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 14 4 1 9 224 267 -43 9
8 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 14 0 0 14 124 353 -229 0


With just two rounds remaining, Newtown looked on track for the minor premiership until they lost to Eastern Suburbs and then Balmain in the two final rounds of the year. This left St. George to take the minor premiership, and with it, a guaranteed place in a Final. This proved costly for Newtown who were narrowly beaten by Canterbury-Bankstown in the semi final eliminator, meaning they were out of the competition. St. George also lost their first round match, meaning they immediately got sent into the Grand Final against the winner of a Balmain and Canterbury-Bankstown match, which Balmain won by a point.

Home Score Away Match Information
Date and Time Venue Referee Crowd
Semi Finals
St. George colours.svg St. George 14 - 22 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 24 August 1946 Sydney Cricket Ground George Bishop 34,408
Newtown colours.svg Newtown 10 - 12 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown 31 August 1946 Sydney Cricket Ground Jack O'Brien 28,012
Preliminary Final
Balmain colours.svg Balmain 8 - 7 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown 7 September 1946 Sydney Cricket Ground Tom McMahon 36,445
Grand Final
St. George colours.svg St. George 12 - 13 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 14 September 1946 Sydney Sports Ground George Bishop 32,296

Grand Final[edit]

St George Position Balmain
Ray Lindwall FB Jack McCullough
Noel Jones WG Arthur Patton
Doug McRitchie CE Pat Devery
Fred Brown CE Tom Bourke (c)
Jack Lindwall WG Joe Jorgenson
Don Graham FE George Williams
Max Hayward HB Stan Ponchard
Jack Munn PR Hilton Kidd
Ken Banks HK Herb Gilbert Jnr
Jack McPherson PR Jack Spencer
Jim Hale SR Fred de Belin
Herb Narvo (c/c) SR Harry Bath
Chick Donnelley LK Jack Hampstead
Coach Norm Robinson

In spite of St George’s status as minor premiers, Balmain were Grand Final favourites due to their comprehensive routing of the Dragons in the first semi-final. Ultimately though the decider, played on Saturday 14 September, was a closely fought contest.[2]

A series of dubious decisions by referee George Bishop gave Balmain an advantage. There was a disallowed try to St George and two Balmain tries which came off what appeared to be forward passes, one when Balmain’s Joe Jorgenson scored after receiving a ball that seemed to have been propelled at least a yard forward.

The Dragons came close to victory when late in the game Jack Lindwall scored in the corner but his brother, prospective Test bowler, Ray Lindwall was unable to convert it. Lindwall in fact missed all four conversion attempts on the day.

The Tigers had won seven straight victories to take the premiership.

Tensions of the encounter overflowed after full-time and the match concluded on an ugly note when Saints forward, Jim Hale went toe to toe with Balmain hooker, Herb Gilbert, Jr, himself a former Dragon. Hale was then attacked by a spectator and an all-in brawl followed.[3]

Balmain 13 (Tries: Jorgenson 2, Patton. Goals: Bourke 2 )


St George 12 (Tries: J Lindwall 2, Jones, Munn)


  1. ^ Premiership Roll of Honour Archived April 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. at rl1908.com
  2. ^ 1946 Grand Final at nrlstats.com
  3. ^ "Tigerish Grand Final in League". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia. 1946-09-16. p. 10. Retrieved 2009-11-19. 

External links[edit]