1968 NSWRFL season
|1968 New South Wales Rugby Football League|
|Premiers||South Sydney (18th title)|
|Minor premiers||South Sydney (14th title)|
|Top points scorer(s)||Eric Simms (212)|
|Player of the year||Terry Hughes (Rothmans Medal)|
|Top try-scorer(s)||Stan Gorton (22)|
The 1968 New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership was the 61st season of professional rugby league football in Australia. Twelve teams, including six Sydney-based foundation teams and another six from around Sydney competed for the J J Giltinan Shield and the WD & HO Wills Cup during the season, which culminated in a grand final between South Sydney and Manly-Warringah.
The Balmain club narrowly missed out on a place in the top four, which was made up of South Sydney, Manly-Warringah, St. George and Eastern Suburbs.
|Date and Time||Venue||Referee||Crowd|
|St. George||17 - 10||Eastern Suburbs||31 August 1968||Sydney Cricket Ground||Col Pearce||49,747|
|South Sydney||15 - 23||Manly-Warringah||7 September 1968||Sydney Cricket Ground||Col Pearce||49,128|
|South Sydney||20 - 8||St. George||14 September 1968||Sydney Cricket Ground||Col Pearce||44,803|
|Manly-Warringah||9 - 13||South Sydney||21 September 1968||Sydney Cricket Ground||Col Pearce||54,255|
|Bob Batty||FB||Eric Simms|
|Michael McLean||WG||Michael Cleary|
|Alec Tennant||CE||Bob Honan|
|Frank Stanton||CE||Arthur Branighan|
|Les Hanigan||WG||Brian James|
|Bob Fulton (c)||FE||Denis Pittard|
|Denis Ward||HB||Bob Grant|
|Bill Hamilton||PR||Jim Morgan|
|Fred Jones||HK||Elwyn Walters|
|Norm Pounder||PR||John O'Neill|
|David Knox||SR||John Sattler (c)|
|John Morgan||SR||Bob Moses|
|Bill Bradstreet||LK||Ron Coote|
|S. Williams||Res.||Paul Sait|
|George Hunter||Coach||Clive Churchill|
Manly were making their fourth ever Grand Final appearance and still looking for their first title. 21-year-old captain Bob Fulton lead a young Sea Eagles side, while Souths were skippered by John Sattler who that season had been honoured as "Catholic Sportsman of the Year". Neither team lineup had any players older than 29 years of age. The depth of the Souths' line-up was indicated by the fact that their stars Kevin Longbottom, Bob McCarthy and Ray Branighan all were named and played in the Rabbitohs' reserve grade side which ominously won its grand final match-up also against Manly.
The first-grade match began furiously with the toughening-up period resulting in four cautions by referee Pearce in the first four minutes. Ron Coote clashed with Bill Bradstreet and the opposing giants Hamilton and John O'Neill also measured up. Souths, with a strong breeze at their backs, were the first to score when Michael Cleary intercepted a pass meant for Manly winger Les Hanigan and raced 80 yards to score. Simms punished Manly with a conversion and three successful penalty goals in the first half and at the break Souths led 11-2.
The Sea Eagles refused to lay down and mid-way through the second half second-rower John Morgan crashed over for a try and which was converted by Bob Batty. Then a Bob Fulton field goal with fourteen minutes left brought Manly within reach. But despite the Manly fightback Souths were too resilient and hung on to win their second successive premiership and the club's 18th title.
South Sydney 13 (Tries: Cleary. Goals: Simms 5.)
Manly-Warringah 9 (Tries: Morgan. Goals: Batty 2. Fld Goals: Fulton 1.)