1970 NSWRFL season

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1970 New South Wales Rugby Football League
Teams 12
Premiers South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney (19th title)
Minor premiers South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney (16th title)
Matches played 136
Points scored 4407
Attendance 1630630
Top points scorer(s) South Sydney colours.svg Eric Simms (241)
Player of the year Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Kevin Junee (Rothmans Medal)
Top try-scorer(s) North Sydney colours.svg Ken Irvine (16)

The 1970 New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership was the 63rd season of Sydney's professional rugby league football competition, Australia's first. Twelve teams, including six foundation clubs and another six admitted post 1908, competed for the J. J. Giltinan Shield during the season which culminated in a grand final match for the WD & HO Wills Cup between the Manly-Warringah and South Sydney clubs.

Season summary[edit]

Following the previous season's "lay-down" or "stop-start" grand final, rugby league's rules were changed for this season so that rather than stopping the game to call a doctor onto the field when a player goes down injured, the ball is given to a team-mate to play so that no advantage can be gained from feigning injury.[1] Head-high tackles were also outlawed at the commencement of the 1971 season. Each side met all others twice in twenty-two regular season rounds before the top four finishers, Souths, Manly, St. George and Canterbury, fought out four finals for a place in the grand final.

The 1970 season's Rothmans Medallist was Eastern Suburbs' halfback Kevin Junee. Rugby League Week awarded their player of the year award to Cronulla-Sutherland's halfback Tommy Bishop.


63rd season
Ground: Leichhardt Oval
Coach: Leo Nosworthy
Captain: Keith Outten
Canterbury home jersey 1969.svg
36th season
Ground: Belmore Sports Ground
Coach: Kevin Ryan
Captain: Ron Raper
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
4th season
Ground: Endeavour Field
Captain-coach: Tommy Bishop
Eastern Suburbs
63rd season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Coach: Don Furner
Captain: John Brass
24th season
Ground: Brookvale Oval
Coach: Ron Willey
Captain: John McDonald
Newtown Jets home jersey 1908.svg
63rd season
Ground: Henson Park
Coach: Harry Bath
Captain: Oscar Danielson
North Sydney Bears home jersey 1951.svg
North Sydney
63rd season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Coach: Roy Francis
Captain: Ken Irvine
24th season
Ground: Cumberland Oval
Captain-coach: Ron Lynch
4th season
Ground: Penrith Stadium
Captain-coach: Bob Boland
South Sydney
63rd season
Ground: Redfern Oval
Coach: Clive Churchill
Captain: John Sattler
St. George
50th season
Ground: Jubilee Oval
Coach: Jack Gibson
Captain: Graeme Langlands
Western Suburbs
63rd season
Ground: Lidcombe Oval
Coach: Ron Watson
Captain: Roy Ferguson


Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 22 17 1 4 479 273 +206 35
2 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 22 16 1 5 422 285 +137 33
3 St. George colours.svg St. George 22 15 0 7 408 329 +79 30
4 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown 22 14 0 8 308 269 +39 28
5 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 22 13 0 9 386 320 +66 26
6 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 22 12 1 9 380 347 +33 25
7 Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla-Sutherland 22 9 0 13 374 335 +39 18
8 Newtown colours.svg Newtown 22 9 0 13 345 409 -64 18
9 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney 22 7 1 14 332 435 -103 15
10 Penrith colours.svg Penrith 22 7 1 14 292 406 -114 15
11 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 22 6 1 15 329 403 -74 13
12 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta 22 4 0 18 240 484 -244 8


Home Score Away Match Information
Date and Time Venue Referee Crowd
Semi Finals
St. George colours.svg St. George 12 - 7 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown 29 August 1970 Sydney Cricket Ground Keith Page 40,083
South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 22 - 15 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 5 September 1970 Sydney Cricket Ground Don Lancashire 40,211
Preliminary Final
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 15 - 6 St. George colours.svg St. George 12 September 1970 Sydney Cricket Ground Don Lancashire 43,147
Grand Final
South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 23 - 12[2] Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 19 September 1970 Sydney Cricket Ground Don Lancashire 53,241

Grand Final[edit]

South Sydney Position Manly-Warringah
Eric Simms FB Bob Batty
Michael Cleary WG Derek Moritz
Paul Sait CE Bob Fulton
Arthur Branighan CE Alec Tennant
Ray Branighan WG John McDonald (c)
Denis Pittard FE Ian Martin
Bob Grant HB Ed Whiley
John Sattler (c) PR Bill Hamilton
Elwyn Walters HK Fred Jones
John O'Neill PR John Bucknall
Bob McCarthy SR Lindsay Drake
Gary Stevens SR John Morgan
Ron Coote LK Ron Cameron
Bob Honan Reserve Allan Thomson
Clive Churchill Coach Ron Willey

Having lost the previous Grand Final to the Balmain Tigers, Souths were desperate to win this year. After four minutes the Rabbitohs had scored. Approximately five minutes later Souths captain John Sattler collapsed, having been punched in an off-the-ball incident by Manly forward John Bucknall.[3] He suffered a double fracture to his jaw but pleaded to team mate Mike Cleary, "Hold me up so they don't know I'm hurt". He was helped up and continued to play in the game. At half-time Souths were leading 12-6 when his team mates learnt about his injury.

During the interval Sattler refused treatment and insisted he continue playing. He also told the side, "the next bloke who tries to cut me out of the play is in trouble", to prevent his team mates trying to protect him from further injury. The Souths forward pack returned to the fray and completely dominated the play with their backline hardly called upon. Bucknall had been replaced by Alan Thompson in the 35th minute after sustained punitive attention from the Rabbitohs pack saw him suffer a shoulder injury in a heavy tackle.

Souths' halfback Bob Grant opened the scoring in the fourth minute crossing untouched while his opposite number Eddie Whiley was off the field having an injury treated. Rabbitohs winger Ray Branighan also crossed untouched six minutes from full-time. By game's end South Sydney had scored 3 tries to nil in a 23-12 victory. Sattler later went to hospital to receive treatment but only after receiving the J. J. Giltinan Shield and making an acceptance speech.

Eric Simms' record of four field-goals that day stands as the most ever kicked in a Grand Final.

South Sydney 23 (Tries: Grant 2, R Branighan. Goals: Simms 3. Fld Goals: Simms 4)


Manly-Warringah 12 (Goals: Batty 4. Fld Goals: Fulton 2)


  1. ^ Sean Fagan (3 October 2010). "In league, we leave the dead where they fall". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 3 October 2010. 
  2. ^ "Sydney Cricket Ground Magic Moments". sydneycricketground.com.au. Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust. Archived from the original on 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  3. ^ Roberts, Michael (2008). Great Australian Sporting Moments. Australia: The Miegunyah Press. ISBN 978-0-522-85547-0. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 

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