1980 NSWRFL season

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1980 New South Wales Rugby Football League
Teams 12
Premiers Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown (3rd title)
Minor premiers Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs (15th title)
Matches played 138
Points scored 4415
Attendance 1498634
Top points scorer(s) Canterbury colours.svg Steve Gearin (220)
Player of the year Newtown colours.svg Geoff Bugden (Rothmans Medal)
Top try-scorer(s) Western Suburbs colours.svg John Ribot (16)
Balmain colours.svg Wayne Wigham (16)

The 1980 New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership was the 73rd season of Sydney's professional rugby league football competition, Australia's first. Twelve clubs, including six of 1908's foundation teams and another six from around Sydney competed for the J J Giltinan Shield and WD & HO Wills Cup during the season, which culminated in a grand final between the Canterbury-Bankstown and Eastern Suburbs clubs. NSWRFL clubs also competed in the 1980 Tooth Cup and players from NSWRFL clubs were selected to represent the New South Wales team.

Season summary[edit]

Twenty-two regular season rounds were played from March till August, resulting in a top five of Easts, Canterbury, Wests, St. George and Souths who battled it out in the finals.

The 1980 season also saw the retirement from the League of future Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame inductee, Arthur Beetson.

Mid-way through the season, players contracted to NSWRFL clubs were selected to represent the New South Wales team in two games against the Queensland team in 1980. After that the experimental 1980 State of Origin game was played, and NSWRFL clubs' players represented Queensland for the first time.

The 1980 season's Rothmans Medallist was Newtown prop Geoff Budgen. The inaugural Dally M Award, named in honour of rugby league's first "Master" Dally Messenger, went to South Sydney's Robert Laurie. Rugby League Week gave its player of the year award to Eastern Suburbs' halfback Kevin Hastings.


Balmain Tigers
73rd season
Ground: Leichhardt Oval
Coach: Dennis Tutty
Captain: Allan McMahon
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Canterbury home jersey 1966.svg
46th season
Ground: Belmore Oval
Coach: Ted Glossop
Captain: George Peponis
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
14th season
Ground: Endeavour Field
Coach: Tommy Bishop
Captain: Greg Pierce
Eastern Suburbs Roosters
73rd season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Coach: Bob Fulton
Captain: Royce Ayliffe
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
34th season
Ground: Brookvale Oval
Coach: Allan Thomson
Captain: Max KrilichGraham Eadie
Newtown Jets
Newtown Jets home jersey 1972.svg
73rd season
Ground: Henson Park
Coach: Warren Ryan
Captain: Tommy Raudonikis
North Sydney Bears
North Sydney Bears home jersey 1979.svg
73rd season
Ground:North Sydney Oval
Coach: Ron Willey
Captain: Kevin Wilson
Parramatta Eels
34th season
Ground: Cumberland Oval
Coach: John Peard
Captain: Ray PriceRon Hilditch
Penrith Panthers
14th season
Ground: Penrith Park
Coach: Len Stacker
Captain: Tim Sheens
South Sydney Rabbitohs
73rd season
Ground: Redfern Oval
Coach: Bill Anderson
Captain: Robert LaurieNathan Gibbs
St. George Dragons
60th season
Ground: Kogarah Oval
Coach: Harry Bath
Captain: Craig Young
Western Suburbs Magpies
73rd season
Ground: Lidcombe Oval
Coach: Roy Masters
Captain: Warren Boland


Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 22 14 2 6 339 249 +90 30
2 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown (P) 22 15 0 7 361 334 +27 30
3 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 22 14 0 8 429 308 +121 28
4 St. George colours.svg St. George 22 13 2 7 367 321 +46 28
5 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 22 12 1 9 392 318 +74 25
6 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta 22 11 2 9 420 317 +103 24
7 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 22 11 2 9 335 354 −19 24
8 Newtown colours.svg Newtown 22 11 1 10 348 357 −9 23
9 Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla-Sutherland 22 9 2 11 350 346 +4 20
10 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 22 7 0 15 330 382 −52 14
11 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney 22 6 1 15 282 405 −123 13
12 Panthers colours.svg Penrith 22 2 1 19 294 556 −262 5


Home Score Away Match Information
Date and Time Venue Referee Crowd
Qualifying Finals
Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown 22–17 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 6 September 1980 Sydney Cricket Ground Greg Hartley 21,948
St. George colours.svg St. George 16–5 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 7 September 1980 Sydney Cricket Ground Jack Danzey 33,552
Semi Finals
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 7–13 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown 13 September 1980 Sydney Cricket Ground Greg Hartley 28,883
Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 13–7 St. George colours.svg St. George 14 September 1980 Sydney Cricket Ground Jack Danzey 28,451
Preliminary Final
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 41–5 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 20 September 1980 Sydney Cricket Ground Greg Hartley 28,596
Grand Final
Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown 18–4 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 27 September 1980 Sydney Cricket Ground Greg Hartley 52,881

Grand final[edit]

Canterbury-Bankstown Position Eastern Suburbs
Greg Brentnall FB Marty Gurr
Chris Anderson WG David Michael
Chris Mortimer CE Kerry Boustead
Peter Mortimer CE Noel Cleal
Steve Gearin WG Steve McFarlane
Garry Hughes FE Ken Wright
Steve Mortimer HB Kevin Hastings
Mark Hughes LF Gary Warnecke
Steve Folkes SR Des O'Reilly
Graeme Hughes SR John Tobin
Geoff Robinson PR Royce Ayliffe (c)
George Peponis (c) HK John Lang
John Coveney PR John Harvey
Ted Glossop Coach Bob Fulton

Canterbury's loss of long serving fullback Stan Cutler with a broken leg suffered in the major semi-final, and the Roosters' form in the preliminary final resulted in Easts being warm favourites. But the Bulldogs, boasting two sets of brothers in the Hughes and Mortimers came ready to play expansive football. The Roosters began well and Noel Cleal was a constant threat but Canterbury's forwards led by Robinson and Coveney began to get on top. Canterbury's Chris Anderson scored the first try of the match after receiving a blatantly forward pass [1] from Chris Mortimer in the lead up. The Roosters hit back and only desperate cover defence from Steve Mortimer on Easts' winger Steve McFarlane prevented a Roosters try. Ken Wright kicked two penalty goals for the tricolours, resulting in a 7–4 lead to the Bulldogs at half time.

After the break Steve Gearin edged the Bulldogs clear with three successive goals after aggressive play from the Roosters – led by John Tobin's focus on the Hughes brothers – was penalised by referee Greg Hartley. The final Canterbury try by Gearin has been ranked amongst the best of all-time. Five minutes from full-time Greg Brentnall raced downfield and put up a high kick. Gearin followed through at speed and outjumped opposing winger David Michael, catching the ball on the full to score and secure a Bulldogs victory.[2]

It was Canterbury's third premiership and had come after a wait of thirty-eight years. It was the last Grand Final to be played on a Saturday afternoon with the deciders since then being played on a Sunday.

Referee: Greg Hartley

Canterbury-Bankstown 18 (Tries: Anderson, Gearin. Goals: Gearin 6 from 6)

Eastern Suburbs 4 (Goals: Wright 2)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Haddan p217
  2. ^ Haddan pp214-217

External links[edit]