1958 NSWRFL season
|1958 New South Wales Rugby Football League|
|Premiers||St. George (5th title)|
|Minor premiers||St. George (5th title)|
|Top try-scorer(s)||Eddie Lumsden (18)|
The 1958 NSWRFL season was the 51st season of the New South Wales Rugby Football League, Australia's first rugby league football competition. Ten teams from across Sydney competed for the J. J. Giltinan Shield during the season, which culminated in a grand final between St. George and Western Suburbs.
Having been wooden spooners in NSWRFL season 1955, Wests embarked on a massive spending spree to recruit internationals Harry Wells, Kel O'Shea, Arthur Summons, Dick Poole, Darcy Henry and Ian Moir over a five-year period. The fruits of this labour began to show in 1958 when they finished in second place for the minor premiership and posed a challenge to St George in the finals.
Harry Bath was the competition's leading goal scorer in 1958, with his St George teammate Eddie Lumsden the leading try scorer. Bath shattered the Dragons club's point scoring record with 225 season points from three tries and 108 goals.
Ground: Belmore Sports Ground
Coach: Cec Cooper
Captain: Ray Gartner
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Coach: Dave Brown
Captain: Terry Fearnley
Ground: Brookvale Oval
Coach: Ken Arthurson
Captain: Ron Willey
Ground: Henson Park
Coach: Dick Poole
Captain: Gordon Clifford
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Coach: Trevor Allen
Captain: Bob Honeysett
Ground: Cumberland Oval
Coach: Jack Rayner
Captain: Roy Fisher
Ground: Redfern Oval
Captain-Coach: Clive Churchill
Ground: Jubilee Oval
Captain-coach: Ken Kearney
Ground: Pratten Park
Coach: Vic Hey
Captain: Harry Wells
The developing Western Suburbs side which would become such a force at the beginning of the 1960s, was already building around the class of internationals Keith "Yappy" Holman, Harry "Dealer" Wells, Kel "Twigs" O'Shea along with their hard men Neville "Boxhead" Charlton, Mark Patch and fiery 19-year-old Peter Dimond. With a simple game plan of "retaliate first", the Magpies' aggression in the semi-final stunned St George who were coming off a coasting run through the end of the season. In spite of having beaten Wests twice in the regular season, the Dragons were mauled by them 34-10 in the major-semi final with Dimond dominating his opposite five-eighth Peter Carroll and forcing the Dragons to a sudden death final against Balmain for the right to defend their title.
The lessons from this loss sat heavily with St George - how an early forward onslaught designed to knock the spirit of the rival pack could determine the course of the entire game. For the next eight years, in all of their finals appearances, the Dragons would play a deliberate tactic of giving the opposition the ball in the first 15 minutes and setting about demoralising them with brutal defence.
|Date and Time||Venue||Referee||Crowd|
|Newtown||4-15||Balmain||19 August 1958||Redfern Oval||10,430|
|Manly-Warringah||10-22||Balmain||23 August 1958||Sydney Cricket Ground||Darcy Lawler||27,985|
|St. George||10-34||Western Suburbs||30 August 1958||Sydney Cricket Ground||Darcy Lawler||38,857|
|St. George||26-21||Balmain||6 September 1958||Sydney Cricket Ground||Darcy Lawler||39,132|
|Western Suburbs||9-20||St. George||13 September 1958||Sydney Cricket Ground||Darcy Lawler||62,283|
|St George||Position||Western Suburbs|
|Brian Graham||FB||Darcy Russell|
|Eddie Lumsden||WG||Bernard Kelly|
|Ray Smith||CE||Harry Wells (c)|
|Geoff Weekes||CE||Darcy Henry|
|Brian Messiter||WG||Don Malone|
|Brian Clay||FE||Peter Dimond|
|Bob Bugden||HB||Keith Holman|
|Harry Bath||PR||Mark Patch|
|Ken Kearney (Ca./Co.)||HK||Bede Goff|
|Billy Wilson||PR||Neville Charlton|
|Monty Porter||SR||Bill Carson|
|Norm Provan||SR||Jack "Buddy" Bowman|
|Peter Provan||LK||Doug Jones|
In an effort to negate Peter Dimond, Saints dropped Peter Carroll for the Grand Final, selecting lock and hard hitting defender, Brian Clay at five-eighth. From the kick-off, the record crowd saw a furious St George team lay into Wests. High tackles and punches were the order of the day and referee Darcy Lawler penalised the Dragons seventeen times to Wests seven.
Wests were unable to counter the onslaught which saw a ruthless Dragons' defence advancing upon them at every opportunity although the score remained close for most of the match. Eventually with the Magpies subdued, Norm Provan and Bob Bugden cut loose, with Provan scoring two tries and Bugden snatching an intercept try near the end. Saints won the fight, and the match. For 80 minutes Clay was all over Dimond who ended the match dazed and bleeding.
The Sydney Morning Herald described the match as the most 'savage' game of the season.
St George 20 (Tries: N. Provan 2, Bugden, Lumsden. Goals: Bath 4.)
Wests 9 (Tries: Russell. Goals: Russell 3 )
Great Britain Lions Tour
From May until August, the Great Britain Lions toured Australia and New Zealand. In Australia they played the three Test Ashes series against Australia as well as games against various sides including Sydney Firsts, New South Wales and a Sydney Representative Colts side that featured a young Reg Gasnier.
Note: Other than the Ashes Tests, only games in NSW listed