1965 NSWRFL season

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1965 New South Wales Rugby Football League
PremiersSt. George colours.svg St. George (12th title)
Minor premiersSt. George colours.svg St. George (11th title)
Matches played94
Points scored2485
Top points scorer(s)North Sydney colours.svg Fred Griffiths (181)
Top try-scorer(s)St. George colours.svg Johnny King (15)

The 1965 New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership was the 58th season of the rugby league competition based in Sydney. Ten clubs from across the city competed for the J J Giltinan Shield and the WD & HO Wills Cup during the season, which culminated in a grand final between St. George and South Sydney.

The 1965 season also saw the retirement from the League of future Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame inductee, Norm Provan.


58th season
Ground: Leichhardt Oval
Coach: Harry Bath
Captain: Keith Barnes
Canterbury home jersey 1935.svg
31st season
Ground: Belmore Oval
Coach: Eddie Burns
Captain: Leo Toohey
Eastern Suburbs
58th season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Coach: Bert Holcroft
Captain: Frank Drake
19th season
Ground: Brookvale Oval
Coach: Russ Pepperell
Captain: Frank Stanton
Newtown Jets home jersey 1908.svg
58th season
Ground: Henson Park
Coach: Allan Ellis
Captain: Brian Graham
North Sydney Bears home jersey 1951.svg
North Sydney
58th season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Captain-Coach: Fred Griffiths
19th season
Ground: Cumberland Oval
Captain-coach: Ken Thornett
South Sydney
58th season
Ground: Redfern Oval
Coach: Bernie Purcell
Captain: Jim Lisle
St. George
45th season
Ground: Jubilee Oval
Captain-coach: Norm Provan
Western Suburbs
58th season
Ground: Pratten Park
Coach: Ken Kearney
Captain: Bob McGuiness


Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1 St. George colours.svg St. George 18 15 0 3 394 142 +252 30
2 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney 18 11 2 5 318 218 +100 24
3 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta 18 11 1 6 243 220 +23 23
4 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 18 11 0 7 227 205 +22 22
5 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 18 10 1 7 223 211 +12 21
6 Newtown colours.svg Newtown 18 8 3 7 212 210 +2 19
7 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 18 6 0 12 228 235 -7 12
8 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 18 6 0 12 181 244 -63 12
9 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown 18 5 0 13 194 331 -137 10
10 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 18 3 1 14 149 353 -204 7


Home Score Away Match Information
Date and Time Venue Referee Crowd
Semi Finals
Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta 2-17 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 28 August 1965 Sydney Cricket Ground Col Pearce 54,626
St. George colours.svg St. George 47-7 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney 4 September 1965 Sydney Cricket Ground Col Pearce 38,944
Preliminary Final
North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney 9-14 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 11 September 1965 Sydney Cricket Ground Col Pearce 36,695
Grand Final
St. George colours.svg St. George 12-8 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 18 September 1965 Sydney Cricket Ground Col Pearce 78,056

Grand Final[edit]

St George Position South Sydney
Graeme Langlands FB Kevin Longbottom
Johnny King WG Eric Simms
Reg Gasnier CE Arthur Branighan
Billy Smith CE Bob Moses
Eddie Lumsden WG Michael Cleary
Brian Clay FE Jim Lisle (c)
George Evans HB Ivan Jones
Robin Gourley PR Jim Morgan
Ian Walsh HK Fred Anderson
Kevin Ryan PR John O'Neill
Elton Rasmussen SR Bob McCarthy
Norm Provan (Ca./Co.) SR John Sattler
Johnny Raper LK Ron Coote
Coach Bernie Purcell

In 1965, the Sydney Cricket Ground could accommodate 70,000. With capacity already reached two hours before kick-off the SCG staff closed the gates and posted an attendance figure of just over 78,000, a ground record that still stands as of 2016 and with changes to the venue in the years since resulting in a decreased capacity of 48,000 is unlikely to be broken.[1] Meanwhile, the surrounding streets and parklands were packed with an estimated 40,000 people who were still trying to get into a ground. Hundreds chose to break in by storming the Members gates and proceeded to climb the grandstands, perching themselves on the roofs. Scores more bought tickets to the Motor Show which was being held next door in the Royal Showground. From here they took up vantage points on the Showground Pavilions with good views of the SCG pitch. After consultation the police allowed thousands to sit on the ground itself, covering the outer ring of the oval.

At 3pm, St George captain-coach Norm Provan, the last player from the Dragons' 1956 premiership-winning side, led his team onto the field in what would be his final match before retiring. Souths had already beaten Saints twice in 1965 and the huge crowd that attended were either looking to see the milestone 10th successive win or to see the dominant run halted. The St George team, with an average age of 27, faced a real threat from their younger South Sydney rivals whose average age was 22.

Rabbitohs fullback, Kevin Longbottom opened the scoring with a 55-yard penalty goal in the 20th minute - the kick receiving applause from St. George fullback Graeme Langlands. St George replied with a Billy Smith try. Langlands and Longbottom exchanged penalty goals with both players booting the ball more than 50 yards. It was a tough encounter with fiery forward charges from Provan, Johnny Raper and Kevin Ryan. The scrums in particular were no place for the faint-hearted, and Ryan was being unsettled by the Souths' front row of Jim Morgan and John O'Neill. In one scrum, after seeing Rabbitohs hooker Fred Anderson reaching into the tunnel, Ryan stood on Anderson, raked him back and proceeded to walk over him. The Dragons pack surged forward, forcing Anderson along the ground through the St George second row and out the back of the scrum. The 'keelhauled' Anderson sat dazed and bleeding on the ground with the ball still in hand.

The second half began with more penalty goals to Langlands and Longbottom. Souths' lock Ron Coote kept his side in the match with two brilliant try-saving tackles. With 13 minutes to go, Johnny King scored, continuing his amazing record of scoring tries in six successive Grand Finals. Souths' Eric Simms kicked a penalty goal, giving them some hope but Saints held their line and at full-time the score was 12-8. St George had won their tenth consecutive Grand Final and Provan bowed out victorious. At the sounding of the full-time siren, the SCG was invaded by thousands of fans and the ground became a sea of people – any chance of a victory lap was soon forgotten. Kevin Ryan was named Man-of-the-Match.

Some records were set in the 1965 Grand Final. The attendance of 78,056 is the record for a rugby league match at the SCG and for thirty four years, until the Sydney Olympic Stadium was opened in 1999, this stood as the highest attendance at a rugby league match in Australia. Norm Provan's ten premiership wins achieved that day stands as the most number of grand final successes by a player. He also holds equal first place with his St George team-mate Brian Clay for the highest number of grand final appearances. Clay's ten appearances include two losses in 1954 and 1955 with Newtown.

St. George 12 (Tries: Smith, King. Goals: Langlands 3.)

South Sydney 8 ( Goals: Longbottom 3, Simms.). Crowd 78,056


  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.

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