1969 NSWRFL season

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1969 New South Wales Rugby Football League
Teams 12
Premiers Balmain colours.svg Balmain (11th title)
Minor premiers South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney (15th title)
Matches played 136
Points scored 4258
Attendance 1788112
Top points scorer(s) South Sydney colours.svg Eric Simms (265)
Player of the year South Sydney colours.svg Denis Pittard (Rothmans Medal)
Top try-scorer(s) North Sydney colours.svg Ken Irvine (17)

The 1969 New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership was the 62nd season of Sydney's professional rugby league football competition, Australia's first. Twelve teams, including six Sydney-based foundation teams and another six from the Sydney area competed for the J J Giltinan Shield and WD & HO Wills Cup during the season, which culminated in a grand final between Balmain and South Sydney.

Season summary[edit]

South Sydney fullback Eric Simms' tally of 265 points for the season from 112 goals, 19 field-goals and one try topped the season point scoring record that had been set in the 1935 season by Dave Brown.

The 1969 season's Rothmans Medallist was South Sydney's Denis Pittard.

The 1969 season also saw the retirement from the League of future Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame inductee, John Raper.


62nd season
Ground: Leichhardt Oval
Coach: Leo Nosworthy
Captain: Peter Provan
Canterbury home jersey 1969.svg
35th season
Ground: Belmore Oval
Coach: Kevin Ryan
Captain: Kevin RyanBob Hagan
3rd season
Ground: Endeavour Field
Coach: Ken Kearney
Captain: Noel Thornton
Eastern Suburbs
62nd season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Captain-Coach: Louis Neumann
23rd season
Ground: Brookvale Oval
Coach: George Hunter
Captain(s): Bob Fulton / Fred Jones
Newtown Jets home jersey 1908.svg
62nd season
Ground: Henson Park
Coach: Harry Bath
Captain: Bob Carnegie
North Sydney Bears home jersey 1951.svg
North Sydney
62nd season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Coach: Roy Francis
Captain: Ken Irvine
23rd season
Ground: Cumberland Oval
Coach: Ian Johnston
Captain: Dick Thornett
3rd season
Ground: Penrith Park
Captain-coach: Bob Boland
South Sydney
62nd season
Ground: Redfern Oval
Coach: Clive Churchill
Captain: John Sattler
St. George
49th season
Ground: Kogarah Oval
Captain-coach: Johnny Raper
Western Suburbs
62nd season
Ground: Lidcombe Oval
Captain-Coach: Noel Kelly


Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 22 18 0 4 489 222 +267 36
2 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 22 17 0 5 410 304 +106 34
3 St. George colours.svg St. George 22 14 0 8 411 323 +88 28
4 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 22 14 0 8 355 298 +57 28
5 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 22 11 0 11 315 288 +27 22
6 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta 22 11 0 11 323 338 -15 22
7 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney 22 10 1 11 343 362 -19 21
8 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown 22 10 0 12 316 349 -33 20
9 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 22 8 1 13 307 409 -102 17
10 Penrith colours.svg Penrith 22 6 1 15 311 398 -87 13
11 Newtown colours.svg Newtown 22 6 1 15 279 421 -142 13
12 Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla-Sutherland 22 5 0 17 301 448 -147 10


In the Preliminary Final, Balmain trailed 12-14 against Manly-Warringah until late in the match when winger George Ruebner charged for the corner post to snatch a win in dramatic fashion.

Home Score Away Match Information
Date and Time Venue Referee Crowd
Semi Finals
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 19-10 St. George colours.svg St. George 30 August 1969 Sydney Cricket Ground Keith Page 40,977
South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 14-13 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 6 September 1969 Sydney Cricket Ground Keith Page 44,159
Preliminary Final
Balmain colours.svg Balmain 15-14 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 13 September 1969 Sydney Cricket Ground Keith Page 41,410
Grand Final
South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 2-11 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 20 September 1969 Sydney Cricket Ground Keith Page 58,825

Grand Final[edit]

Balmain Position South Sydney
Robert Smithies FB Eric Simms
George Ruebner WG Michael Cleary
Allan Fitzgibbon CE Bob Honan
Terry Parker CE Kerry Burke
Len Killeen WG Brian James
Keith Outten FE Denis Pittard
Dave Bolton HB Bob Grant
Garry Leo PR John Sattler (c)
Peter Boulton HK Elwyn Walters
Barry McTaggart PR John O'Neill
John Spencer SR Bob McCarthy
Joe Walsh SR Bob Moses
Peter Provan (c) LK Ron Coote
Sid Williams Res. Paul Sait
Leo Nosworthy Coach Clive Churchill

Balmain were not given a chance of winning the Premiership after the retirement of Keith Barnes. Souths had won the last two premierships, beaten the Tigers in the Major Semi-Final to advance to the Grand Final and boasted eleven internationals in their side.

However, as a result their favouritism Souths were overconfident and showed insufficient respect to the young Tigers, who had shown early-season form in beating them in round 1, and to their rookie coach Leo Nosworthy, who presented a well-prepared and determined Balmain team.

The Tigers led 6-0 at halftime after two penalty goals by Len Killeen and a Dave Bolton field-goal. Souths refusal to kick on the last tackle played into Balmain's hands as novice replacement hooker Peter Boulton managed to consistently regain possession from the scrums. Balmain backed up with a robust defensive line and kept South pinned in their own half.

After the break a Bob McCarthy fumble after a mix up with Paul Sait saw Bolton swoop on the ball deep in Souths territory. From the ruck Terry Parker slipped a beautiful pass to replacement winger Sid Williams who juggled but held the ball to cross the line for the only try of the match. With a 9-0 lead early in the second half and a penalty count that continued to mount in their favour, Balmain took control of the game and appeared to begin a ploy of feigning injury whenever Souths looked to build rhythm, stopping the Rabbitohs' flow of play.[1] Hence the match is still referred to today as "the lay-down grand final".[2]

Souths' protests proved pointless as referee Keith Page (in his first Grand Final) was powerless to stop the Tigers tactics under the rules of the day, and Balmain secured and held an 11-2 lead to win their first premiership since 1947 and to give a fairy-tale career farewell for their captain and 159-game veteran Peter Provan.

With the merging of Balmain and Western Suburbs in 1999 to become the Wests Tigers, the 1969 premiership remains the 11th and last for the Balmain Tigers.

Balmain 11 (Tries: Williams. Goals: Killeen 2. Field Goal: D Bolton 2)

South Sydney 2 (Goals: Simms 1.)


  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. ^ Coady, Ben (2009-09-28). "Grand final dramas". WA Today. Australia: Fairfax Digital. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 

External links[edit]