1953 NSWRFL season

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1953 New South Wales Rugby Football League
Teams 10
Premiers South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney (14th title)
Minor premiers South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney (13th title)
Matches played 93
Points scored 3241
Top points scorer(s) Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Ron Rowles (152)
Top try-scorer(s) South Sydney colours.svg Ian Moir (23)

The 1953 New South Wales Rugby Football League season was the forty-sixth season of the rugby league competition based in Sydney. Ten teams from across the city competed for the J. J. Giltinan Shield during the season, which culminated in a final between South Sydney and St. George.


Balmain home jersey 1940.svg
46th season
Ground: Leichhardt Oval
Coach: Arthur Patton
Captain: Bob Lulham
Canterbury home jersey 1935.svg
19th season
Ground: Belmore Oval
Coach: Jack Hampstead
Captain: Cec Cooper
Eastern Suburbs
46th season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Captain-Coach: Col Donohoe
7th season
Ground: Brookvale Oval
Captain-Coach: Roy Bull
Newtown Jets home jersey 1908.svg
46th season
Ground: Erskineville Oval
Captain-Coach: Frank Johnson
North Sydney Bears home jersey 1951.svg
North Sydney
46th season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Coach: Ross McKinnon
Captain: Lloyd Hudson
7th season
Ground: Cumberland Oval
Coach: Vic Hey
Captain: Ian Johnston
South Sydney
46th season
Ground: Redfern Oval
Captain-coach: Jack Rayner
St. George
33rd season
Ground: Jubilee Oval
Coach: Norm Tipping
Captain: Ken Kearney
Western Suburbs
46th season
Ground: Pratten Park
Captain-Coach: Peter McLean


Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 18 11 1 6 384 278 +106 23
2 St. George colours.svg St. George 18 11 0 7 313 289 +24 22
3 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney 18 10 1 7 421 283 +138 21
4 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 18 10 1 7 330 310 +20 21
5 Newtown colours.svg Newtown 18 9 2 7 292 268 +24 20
6 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury 18 9 2 7 252 291 -39 20
7 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta 18 8 1 9 271 291 -20 17
8 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 18 7 0 11 313 377 -64 14
9 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly 18 6 0 12 294 393 -99 12
10 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 18 5 0 13 287 377 -90 10


Home Score Away Match Information
Date and Time Venue Referee Crowd
Semi Finals
South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 5-4 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney 29 August 1953 Sydney Cricket Ground Jack O'Brien 30,392
St. George colours.svg St. George 25-7 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 5 September 1953 Sydney Cricket Ground Darcy Lawler 37,753
South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 31-12 St. George colours.svg St. George 12 September 1953 Sydney Cricket Ground Darcy Lawler 44,581


South Sydney Position St George
Clive Churchill FB Noel Pidding
Ian Moir WG Kevin Hole
Martin Gallagher CE Tommy Ryan
Kevin Woolfe CE Merv Lees
Frank Threlfo WG Ross Kite
John Dougherty FE Allan Staunton
Ray Mason HB Peter Bracken
Denis Donoghue PR Kevin Brown
Ernie Hammerton HK Ken Kearney (c)
Jim Richards PR Bob Bower
Bob Moon SR Norm Provan
Jack Rayner (Ca./Co.) SR Barry Passfield
Les Cowie LK Billy Wilson
Coach Norm Tipping

To win the 1953 premiership St George would need to beat minor premiers Souths in both a final and a Grand final, emulating the feats of the Dragons of 1949 from which team only Noel Pidding was still playing. A crowd of 44,581 were at the Sydney Cricket Ground to see the first phase of this attempt.

Souths opened the scoring with a penalty goal in the ninth minute kicked by Clive Churchill from 40 yards. The Dragons threatened Souths' line continuously in the next stanza but bombed three tries and then lost some momentum in the 14 minutes before half-time during the absence of centre Merv Lees while he was off the field having stitches to his lip after driving a tooth through it. Souths scored 13 points in this period. Ian Moir capitalised on a spillage of the ball by Pidding behind his own line after a heavy tackle, Churchill then featured when he firstly sent Threlfo in and then set up Moir for his second try. The score at half time was 15–0.

Early in the second half Pidding kicked a penalty and a few minutes later Wilson and Gallagher were sent off for fighting. With Wilson gone Rabbitoh hard-men Rayner and Donoghue then took control and four Souths tries flowed to Woolfe, Dougherty, Hammerton and Moir’s third. Two late Dragons’ tries to Brown and Lees made no difference and South Sydney powered to their fourteenth premiership.

South Sydney Rabbitohs 31
Tries: Moir (3), Woolfe, Threlfo, Dougherty, Hammerton
Goals: Dougherty (4), Churchill (1)

St George Dragons 12
Tries: Lees, Brown
Goals: Pidding (3)


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