1946 NSWRFL season
|1946 New South Wales Rugby Football League|
|Premiers||Balmain (9th title)|
|Minor premiers||St. George (2nd title)|
|Points scored||1956 (total)
32.6 (per match)
|Top point scorer(s)||Tom Kirk (122)|
|Top try scorer(s)||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.
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, formed on January 23, 1908 at Balmain Town Hall
- Eastern Suburbs, formed on January 24, 1908 at Paddington Town Hall
- Newtown, formed on January 14, 1908
- North Sydney, formed on February 7, 1908
- South Sydney, formed on January 17, 1908 at Redfern Town Hall
- St. George, formed on November 8, 1920 at Kogarah School of Arts
- Western Suburbs, formed on February 4, 1908
Ground: Leichhardt Oval
Coach: Norm Robinson
Captain: Tom Bourke
Ground: Belmore Oval
Coach: Ross McKinnon
Captain: Ron Bailey
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Captain-Coach: Ray Stehr
Ground: Henson Park
Coach: Frank Farrell & Len Smith
Captain: Frank Farrell
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Coach: Harry Forbes
Captain: Jim Scoular
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Coach: Arthur Hennessy
Captain: Clem Kennedy
Ground: Hurstville Oval
Captain-Coach: Herb Narvo
Ground: Pratten Park
Captain-Coach: Jack Walsh
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.
|Date and Time||Venue||Referee||Crowd|
|St. George||14 - 22||Balmain||24 August 1946||Sydney Cricket Ground||George Bishop||34,408|
|Newtown||10 - 12||Canterbury-Bankstown||31 August 1946||Sydney Cricket Ground||Jack O'Brien||28,012|
|Balmain||8 - 7||Canterbury-Bankstown||7 September 1946||Sydney Cricket Ground||Tom McMahon||36,445|
|St. George||12 - 13||Balmain||14 September 1946||Sydney Sports Ground||George Bishop||32,296|
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.
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.
Balmain 13 (Tries: Jorgenson 2, Patton. Goals: Bourke 2 )
St George 12 (Tries: J Lindwall 2, Jones, Munn)