1959 NSWRFL season

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1959 New South Wales Rugby Football League
Teams 10
Premiers St. George colours.svg St. George (6th title)
Minor premiers St. George colours.svg St. George (6th title)
Matches played 94
Points scored 3107
Attendance 896911
Top points scorer(s) Western Suburbs colours.svg Darcy Russell (206)
Top try-scorer(s) North Sydney colours.svg Ken Irvine (19)

1959's New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership was the 52nd 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 grand final between St. George and Manly-Warringah.

Season summary[edit]

The St. George team went through the 1959 season undefeated[1] - a feat achieved by only five teams prior to 1959 but by none since. The club won 19 of their 20 matches and had a draw against Balmain. In this time they were able to score more than 40 points on six occasions. After eighteen premiership rounds St. George had scored an average of over 30 points per match and conceded an average of 10 points.

Future Immortals Reg Gasnier and Johnny Raper both debuted for St. George in first grade in 1959 and both made the Australian side, aged just 19. Seven St. George players made that year's Kangaroo Tour.

The 1959 season also saw the retirement from the League of future Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame inductee, Harry Bath.


Balmain home jersey 1940.svg
52nd season
Ground: Leichhardt Oval
Coach: John O'Toole
Captain: Keith Barnes
Canterbury home jersey 1935.svg
25th season
Ground: Belmore Oval
Coach: Cec Cooper
Captain: Brian Davies
Eastern Suburbs
52nd season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Coach: Dave Brown
Captain: Terry Fearnley
Ground: Brookvale Oval
Coach: Ken Arthurson
Captain: Ron Willey
Newtown Jets home jersey 1908.svg
52nd season
Ground: Henson Park
Coach: Charles Cahill
Captain: Tony Brown
North Sydney Bears home jersey 1951.svg
North Sydney
52nd season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Coach: Ross McKinnon
Captain: Bob Honeysett
Ground: Cumberland Oval
Coach: Jack Rayner
Captain: Roy Fisher
South Sydney
52nd season
Ground: Redfern Oval
Coach: Denis Donoghue
Captain: Bernie Purcell
St. George
39th season
Ground: Kogarah Oval
Captain-coach: Ken Kearney
Western Suburbs
52nd season
Ground: Pratten Park
Coach: Vic Hey
Captain: Dick Poole


Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1 St. George colours.svg St. George 18 17 1 0 550 190 +360 35
2 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 18 13 1 4 405 273 +132 27
3 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly 18 11 0 7 283 239 +44 22
4 Newtown colours.svg Newtown 18 10 0 8 254 296 -42 20
5 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney 18 9 0 9 371 282 +89 18
6 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 18 9 0 9 257 276 -19 18
7 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 18 6 1 11 308 336 -28 13
8 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 18 6 0 12 211 314 -103 12
9 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury 18 5 1 12 194 378 -184 11
10 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta 18 2 0 16 150 399 -249 4


Home Score Away Match Information
Date and Time Venue Referee Crowd
Semi Finals
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 17–0 Newtown colours.svg Newtown 25 July 1959 Sydney Cricket Ground Darcy Lawler 8,967
St. George colours.svg St. George 35–25 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 1 August 1959 Sydney Cricket Ground Darcy Lawler 42,347
Preliminary Final
Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 13–14 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 8 August 1959 Sydney Cricket Ground Darcy Lawler 28,385
Grand Final
St. George colours.svg St. George 20–0[2] Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 15 August 1959 Sydney Cricket Ground Darcy Lawler 49,457

Grand Final[edit]

St George Position Manly-Warringah
Brian Graham FB Ron Willey (c)
Eddie Lumsden WG Len Wadling
Johnny Raper CE Kevin Mosman
Geoff Weekes CE Bill Lloyd
Brian Messiter WG George Hugo
Brian Clay FE Alf Madden
Bob Bugden HB Peter Burke
Harry Bath PR Roy Bull
Ken Kearney (Ca./Co.) HK George Lenon
Billy Wilson PR Bill Delamare
Monty Porter SR Peter Diversi
Norm Provan SR Rex Mossop
Peter Provan LK Jim Peebles
Coach Ken Arthurson

In the lead up to the Grand Final, rumours were circulating that Manly-Warringah's Rex Mossop was carrying a broken cheekbone. From the kick off, Saints' forwards took turns at testing Mossop's injury with Harry Bath giving him particular attention. For most of the match the Manly forward copped a hammering until in frustration, Mossop retaliated by standing on Bath's head. A brawl broke out between the two and the referee Lawler sent both off.

In the meantime, St. George's forwards were steamrolling Manly-Warringah and the red and white backs were cutting loose. Winger Eddie Lumsden had a magnificent match, scoring a hat trick of tries. Lumsden beat Ron Willey cold for his first try and then was on the end of later backline passing bursts for two more.

As the Manly-Warringah pack tired in the second half, experienced St. George second rower Norm Provan began to easily break their defence out wide, linking with his backs and being rewarded himself with a try. Reserve grade centre Geoff Weekes had been promoted when Gasnier and Johnny Riley were both injured in the major semi final. He scored a try as did St. George's steady and safe custodian Brian Graham.

St. George outclassed Manly-Warringah 20–0 in a ruthless display of speed and strength. The match was future Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame inductee Harry Bath's last game.

St. George 20 (Tries: Lumsden 3, Graham, Weekes, N Provan. Goals: Bath 1.)

Manly-Warringah 0


  1. ^ Clarkson, Alan (1986-09-26). "The best Grand Finals I've seen". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. p. 77. Retrieved 2010-09-14. 
  2. ^ "Sydney Rugby". The Age. 1959-08-17. p. 20. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 

External links[edit]