Western Suburbs Magpies
|Full name||Western Suburbs Magpies|
|Nickname(s)||The Fibros, Maggies, The Cherry Pickers|
|Founded||4 February 1908 (foundation club)|
|Departed||1999 (started a joint venture with the Balmain Tigers in 2000)|
|1999||17th of 17|
|Premierships||4 – 1930, 1934, 1948, 1952|
|Runners-up||8 – 1918, 1925, 1932, 1950, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1963|
|Minor premiership||5 – 1930, 1948, 1952, 1961, 1978|
|Wooden spoons||17 – 1909, 1910, 1912, 1913, 1916, 1933, 1940, 1942, 1953, 1955, 1971, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1998, 1999|
The Western Suburbs Magpies (originally Western Suburbs District Rugby League Football Club) are an Australian rugby league football club based in the western suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales. Formed in 1908, Wests, as they are commonly referred to, were one of the nine foundation clubs of the first New South Wales Rugby League competition in Australia. The club, as a sole entity, departed the top-flight competition in 1999 after forming a 50–50 joint venture with Balmain Tigers to form the Wests Tigers. The club currently fields sides in the Ron Massey Cup (Opens), Sydney Shield (Opens), S.G. Ball Cup (Under 18's) and Harold Matthews Cup (Under 16's) competitions.
Campbelltown Stadium, which has a capacity of 20,000, is their home stadium.
- 1 History
- 2 Current Days
- 3 Home grounds
- 4 Western Suburbs Magpies Leagues Club
- 5 District Junior Competition
- 6 Notable players
- 7 Magpies Test Captains
- 8 Records
- 9 All Time 1st Grade Numbered Players List
- 10 Notable fans
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Further reading
- 14 External links
The club was one of the foundation members of the Sydney rugby football league competition in 1908. Founded at a meeting on 4 February 1908 at Ashfield Town Hall, they won only one match the following season so were the League's second wooden spooners (after Cumberland in 1908). Though they spent long periods of time as also-rans they did taste premiership success four times in the mid 20th century. They won their first premiership in 1930, beating St George 27–2. Four years later they defeated Eastern Suburbs to win their second title. For the 1944 NSWRFL season Queensland 1910s representative player Henry Bolewski became coach the Western Suburbs club, replacing Alf Blair, who moved to South Sydney. Wests improved slightly on the previous season, finishing 5th (out of 8), but failing to make the finals, and Bolewski was replaced by club great, Frank McMillan.
Wests won a second pair of premierships, beating Balmain in 1948 and South Sydney 22–12 in 1952. Both times they defeated a club hunting its third title in a row.
Apart from these occasions, the club was famous for three successive grand final matches in 1961, 1962 and 1963 against the St George Dragons in the midst of their 11-premiership run. The club boasted footballers such as halfback Arthur Summons, Harry 'Bomber' Wells, Kel O'Shea, Noel Kelly and Peter Dimond. The 1963 grand final was immortalised in a photograph which became known as 'The Gladiators' after St. George captain Norm Provan and Summons trudged off the field together.
A final period of glory beckoned in the late 1970s where they spent a few years at the top or near-top of the table, yet failed to make a grand final. Coached by Roy Masters and boasting such players as fullback John Dorahy, half Tommy Raudonikis, five-eighth Graeme O'Grady, Gavin Miller, Ron Giteau, Les Boyd, prop John Donnelly and five-eighth Terry Lamb. However attractive offers from other clubs and then doubts about the club's viability led to years of exodus of talent. Wests did manage to win the 1977 Amco Cup.
John Ribot, a winger for Wests, was the top try-scorer for the 1980 season. In 1983 the NSWRFL attempted to expel Wests from the competition, but a prolonged legal battle saw the Magpies keep their spot, unlike the Newtown Jets. Eventually, Wests relocated to Campbelltown in 1987. Ironically, this was where Newtown had unsuccessfully tried to move to four years earlier.
The club made the semi finals in 1991 and 1992 under coach Warren Ryan. They were also NSWRL Club Champions in 1991 when all three grades made the semi-finals. The team also made it to the Pre-season Challenge Cup final in 1993 but were beaten by a star-studded Canberra side. The club then slipped down the ladder and the coaching reigns were handed over to caretaker Wayne Ellis. The decision to appoint Magpie legend Tommy Raudonikis as coach for the start of the 1995 season sent a shot of adrenalin into the club. Tommy took the Magpies to the finals in 1996. But the club couldn't compete in the players market in 1997 thanks to the Super League war which saw players contracts soar sky high to unsustainable amounts. In 1998 and 1999, a Magpie team filled with a large number of unknown players struggled to be competitive and twice received the wooden spoon. With the club struggling on-field and trying to compete financially against clubs with News Limited funding, the writing was on the wall.
The well documented war in 1997 between Super League (News Ltd) and the Australian Rugby League (ARL) resulted in a compromise that by the year 2000, the National Rugby League (NRL) competition would be contested by only 14 teams.
With the Wests Magpies struggling on field in the NRL competition, it was decided by the club in the middle of 1999 that to survive the cull they would be required to merge their senior team with another club's team. After initial talks with the Canterbury Bulldogs failed an agreement was reached with the Balmain Tigers on the 27th of July 1999.
The Wests Tigers first competed in the 2000 competition. The club also merged its playing colours from the two joint venture partners.
- Victa (1978–1982)
- IPEC Couriers (1984–1985)
- Masterton Homes (1986–1992)
- Goldstar / LG Electronics (1995–1997)
- Signature Security Systems (1998–1999)
- Club Hotels (2000)
- Save Home loans (2005)
- Wests Ashfield Leagues (2006–2015)
Wests Ashfield Leagues have also been key sponsors & supporters of the club since they were established.
- Rebel Sport (Centenary Partner and 2008 Major Sponsor)
- Allied Express (2015)
The Western Suburbs Magpies home matches are played at Campbelltown Stadium, Leumeah and their training facilities, along with offices are at the Whitlam Centre in Liverpool. The club has state of the art facilities here, and they are regarded as some of the best in the league.
In 2000 the Western Suburbs Magpies Under 20's team were runners up to the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, captained by Mitch Zammit and Luke Duffy. The Western Suburbs Magpies last title was won in 2002 when the Western Suburbs Magpies captained by Liam Fulton won the New South Wales Rugby League Under 18's competition.
From 2000 - 2012 the Western Suburbs Magpies fielded teams in the NSWRL First Grade competition now known as the NSW Cup.
In 2006 the Wests Tigers on advice from Tim Sheens pushed the notion that the NRL side would be better served with a single NSW Cup side. Western Suburbs board opposed this decision and decided to continue fielding their own team. Wests Tigers then allocated all NRL contracted players to the Balmain Tigers (the Wests Magpies had six junior players in that group, as opposed to one from Balmain), citing the advantages of both the NRL and NSW Cup teams training together at Concord Oval. This continued from 2006 to 2007.
Magpies Chairman Kevin Hammond was disappointed at the Wests Tigers decision and informed the Wests Tigers of that in 2008, if the Magpies did not receive a fair share of player allocation from the Wests Tigers, they would form a feeder partnership with rivals Canberra Raiders. The Wests Tigers capitulated.
The Western Suburbs Magpies made the semi finals in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
In 2012 funding was withheld from the Magpies by Wests Ashfield Leagues Club Directors (not unanimously) as they now supported Wests Tigers proposal for a single NSW Cup side, even though this was done simply because Balmain couldn't afford a side and Wests could.
This also went against the Magpies Football Club members wishes and they organised a Protest Rally through the streets of Campbelltown. Wests Ashfield Leagues Club under pressure reinstated funding late in the off season after the Magpies players had already signed on to play with other teams.
The Wests Tigers however decided to cease all support of the Magpies NSW Cup side whilst continuing support for Balmain Ryde Eastwood Tigers even though it was continuously reminded that Wests Tigers shouldn't be the ones telling Wests Ashfield what to do, they are employees of Wests Ashfield and Balmain, NOT the other way around. The Magpies failed to win a game in 2012 whilst Balmain Ryde Eastwood Tigers made it to the Grand Final where they were defeated by the Newtown Jets.
The Magpies dropped back to the third tier Ron Massey Cup in 2013, with members voting to field a separate NSW Cup team in 2014, although this did not eventuate. The Magpies playing in the Ron Massey Cup was a great source of amusement to many on the Balmain side of the Wests Tigers, citing how a once great club had fallen so far. Ironically, as recently as 2014, the Balmain Tigers were trying to raise funds to themselves enter a Balmain team in the Ron Massey Cup.
In 2015 the Magpies added a team in the Sydney Shield competition to act as a feeder for their Ron Massey Cup campaign.
St Luke's Park was the home ground of the Western Suburbs club in 1910 and 1911. They started playing their matches at Pratten Park in Ashfield in 1912, but after pressure from local residents there the council refused the club permission to use that ground, forcing them to return to St. Luke's Oval from 1915 to 1919. The Magpies have played at three home grounds since foundation. They returned to Pratten Park in 1920, remaining there until 1966. They then moved to Lidcombe Oval in 1967. This was due to Ashfield council not allowing the club to play matches on a Sunday (as this was the church day). In 1987, they moved to Campbelltown's Orana Park (located in adjacent Leumeah), which, after a $25 million renovation, is now called Campbelltown Stadium which is now one of the home grounds of the Wests Tigers. The Magpies' lower grade sides play most home games at Campbelltown Stadium, with the occasional game moved to Lidcombe Oval.
Western Suburbs Magpies Leagues Club
There is no Western Suburbs leagues Club. The Magpies are financially supported by the Wests Ashfield Leagues club.
District Junior Competition
The Western Suburbs District Junior Rugby League (WSDJRL) also known as the "Junior Magpies" administers junior rugby league on behalf of the Western Suburbs Magpies and the Wests Tigers joint venture. It consists of a network of affiliated junior rugby league clubs throughout the greater Campbelltown and Liverpool areas of southwestern Sydney. As of 2009 the following clubs were involved in the WSDJRL;
- All Saints JRLFC
- Ashcroft Stallions JRLFC
- Campbelltown City Kangaroos JRLFC
- Campbelltown Collegians JRLFC
- Campbelltown Warriors JRLFC
- Eaglevale St Andrews JRLFC
- East Campbelltown Eagles JRLFC
- Hinchinbrook Hornets JRLFC
- Ingleburn Bulldogs JRLFC
- Ingleburn RSL Tigers JRLFC
- Liverpool Catholic Club Raiders JRLFC
- Macarthur Saints JRLFC (ex- St Thomas More JRLFC)
- Macquarie Fields Hawks JRLFC
- Minto Cobras JRLFC
- Valley United Vikings JRLFC(formally known as East Valley United and also Green Valley United)
- Liverpool Titans JRLC
The following clubs also competed in the WSDJRL, but have now folded:
- Airds Colts JRLFC
- Claymore Panthers JRLFC
- Heckenberg JRLFC
- Leumeah Wolves JRLFC
- Liverpool City JRLFC
- Liverpool RSL JRLFC
- Macquarie Cobras JRLFC
- Warwick Farm JRLFC
- Woodlands JRLFC
- Sadlier Bulldogs JRLFC
The WSDJRL has produced many ex and current Wests Tigers players including Brett Hodgson (Eagle Vale-St Andrews & Ingleburn RSL), Dean Collis (Campbelltown Warriors), Bryce Gibbs (All Saints Liverpool), Shannon Gallant (All Saints Liverpool & Campbelltown City) Chris Lawrence (Eagle Vale), and Shannon McDonnell (All Saints Liverpool). Other notable NRL players who grew up playing junior rugby league in the WSDJRL are Anthony Minichiello (East Valley United), Mark Minichiello (Liverpool Catholic Club) Frank Pritchard (Campbelltown City)Eric Grothe, Jr. (Eagle Vale), Ryan Hoffman (Campbelltown Collegians), Ben Roberts (Narellan Jets), Sauaso Sue (Macquarie Field Hawks), Israel Folau, Jarryd Hayne, Krisnan Inu, Michael Lett, Gray Viane, John Skandalis, Ken McGuinness, Kevin McGuinness, Tim Lafai and Mickey & Lopini Paea (all Minto Cobras).
The WSDJRL took over its current boundaries from the CRL Group 6 Northern Junior League and parts of the Parramatta DJRL (i.e. Liverpool) in 1987. They were forced to move out of their traditional territory around the Ashfield and Lidcombe areas of inner western Sydney to be able to then survive in the NSWRL. The old WSDJRL area has since been acquired by the Balmain DJRL and Bulldogs (Canterbury) DJRL. Clubs that used to play in the WSDJRL include;
- Ashfield Colts (now folded)
- Burwood United (now merged with Concord in Balmain DJRL)
- Concord United (now merged with Burwood in Balmain DJRL)
- Benedicts Auburn (now Trinity College, Auburn)
- Enfield Federals (When the Magpies first went to Campbelltown they became part of Canterbury, then they folded for a few years before coming in under the Balmain DJRL) (produced Hazem El Masri, Robbie Farah, Scott Gale, Brett Clark, Wayne Smith, Ken Hey, Jim Serdaris, Dennis Pittard, Tim Pickup and Brett Gale)
- Five Dock JRLFC (now in Balmain DJRL)
- Lidcombe Bulls (folded in mid-1980s)
- Berala Bears (now in Bulldogs DJRL)
- Croydon Park (folded in mid-1980s)
- Holman JRLFC (Named after Keith Holman, based at Henley Park, Enfield. Colours were yellow with a blue shoulder saddle, and the emblem was oval shaped with a kangaroo, a football, a kiwi, a rooster & a lion ; signifying that Keith played for Australia against New Zealand, France & England. Folded in mid-1980s)
- Royal Sheaf Hotel (Burwood, folded in late 1980s)
- Oriental Shamrocks (folded in 1960s)
- Granville Diggers – unsure when folded
- De La Salle – Ashfield – again, unsure of when they folded
- Christian Brothers Burwood
- Auburn United - unsure when folded
Hall of Fame
On Friday 30 May 2008 the centenary of the Western Suburbs Magpies was celebrated with a ball in the Grand Harbour Ballroom at Sydney's Star City Casino. Six inaugural members were also inducted into the Western Suburbs Magpies Hall of Fame:
Team of the Century
In 2004 the club named its Team of the Century:
The following Western Suburbs Magpies players have represented their countries in international competition.
Magpies Test Captains
- Herb Gilbert - 1920
- Frank McMillan - 1933 to 1934
- Col Maxwell - 1948 to 1949
- Arthur Summons - 1963 to 1964
- Tom Raudonikis - 1973
- Premierships: 4 – 1930 beat St George; 1934 beat Easts; 1948 beat Balmain; 1952 beat South Sydney
- Runners Up: 8 – 1918; 1925; 1932; 1950; 1958; 1961; 1962; 1963
- Minor Premierships: 5 – 1930; 1948; 1952; 1961; 1978
- Wooden Spoons: 17 – 1909; 1910; 1912; 1913; 1916; 1933; 1940; 1942; 1953; 1955; 1971; 1983; 1984; 1987; 1988; 1998; 1999
- NSWRL Club Championships: 4 – 1948; 1960; 1961; 1991
- Amco Cup: 1 – 1977
- City Cup: 2 – 1918; 1919
- State Cup / Jersey Flegg U20's: 1 – 1965
- Ampol Cup: 1 – 1963
NSWRL Reserve Grade: 3 (1936, 1961, 1981)
NSWRL Third Grade: 9 (1936, 1938, 1939, 1944, 1958, 1961, 1967)
Under 23 Premiership: 1 (1977)
President's Cup: 1 (1925, 1947, 1958, 1992)
Flegg Memorial Trophy: 2 (1961, 1981)
NSWRL SG Ball U18's: 2 (1971, 2002)
- Lidcombe Oval: 21,015 vs Parramatta (30 July 1978)
- Campbelltown Sports Ground: 17,286 vs St George Campbelltown (2 August 1991)
Biggest defeat: 67 – 0 vs South Sydney (Agricultural Showground, 23 July 1910)
Biggest win: 62 -5 vs Balmain (Lidcombe Oval, 31 March 1974)
Most First Grade Games (150 or more)
- 203 – Keith Holman
- 201 – Tom Raudonikis
- 162 – Trevor Cogger
- 160 – Wayne Smith
- 157 – Tedda Courtney
- 155 – Peter Dimond
- 150 – Frank McMillan
Most Tries In a Match: Alan Ridley, 6 vs Newtown, Pratten Park, July 11, 1936
Most 1st Grade Tries For Club: Peter Dimond, 83
Most Tries For Club (All grades): Trevor Cogger, 88
Most Goals In a Match: Les Mead, 12 v Canterbury, Pratten Park, August 31, 1935
Most Points In a Match: Les Mead, 27 ( 1 try, 12 goals ) v Canterbury, Pratten Park, August 31, 1935
Most Points In a Season: Peter Rowles, 215 ( 8 tries, 94 goals, 3 field goals ) in 1978
Most Points For Club: Bill Keato, 776 ( 6 tries, 379 goals )
All Time 1st Grade Numbered Players List
1 Stack Jim
28 Abbott A
55 Barclay W
83 Duff L
99 Alpen Tom
120 Carr S
141 Anderson M
153 Leddy Harold
167 McPherson A
176 Burns P
185 Collins Wally
188 McGowan George
194 Farnsworth Viv
200 Burnicle E
209 Brooks Tedda
221 Fifield Cec "Dick"
228 Mansted Joe
234 Daisley George
236 Flint C
249 Dolan Les
261 Adams Allan
270 Brady Alan
278 Johnson Norm
284 Green Bert
292 McMillan R
296 Hey Vic
312 Gray Max
322 Eaton Ron
335 Gillam Ray
343 Gulliver Don
349 Baber Fred
360 McKean Fred
371 Brown Bruce
378 Huxley J
386 Grew Harry
404 Begley J
419 Ball S
434 Dodson F
441 Williams J
450 Eather Trevor
455 Purcell Bernie
463 Woods Jack
473 Randall Bill
480 Collinson Arthur
488 Callinan Bill
497 Smith W
510 Charlton Neville
528 Bailey Bill
539 Henry Darcy
552 Hambilton Doug
561 Bowman Buddy
571 Moir Ian
582 Meaney Dennis
589 Hayes John
597 MacDougall Gil
605 McLaughlin Bob
608 Owens Ken
619 Thornton Noel
628 Elford John
632 Stonestreet Ken
642 Maxwell John
650 Gunton Gary
659 Antunac Tony
665 Timbs Dick
675 Heyward John
688 Day Shane
708 Donnelly John
715 Boyd Les
720 Lucas Doug
733 Cain Buddy
741 Boland Warren
751 Case Jeff
775 Mountier Arthur
785 Battese Brian
806 Celarc Gerald
824 Duval Greg
846 Burns Allan
860 Duke Phillip
872 Bukowski Gary
894 Funnell Steve
910 Lindner Bob
926 Burns Stephen
940 Bell Mark
954 Leeds Andrew
974 Brown Darren
1001 Coleman Craig
1013 Hasler Des
1026 Rameka Darren
1047 Bristow Adam
- Doug Sutherland, mayor of Sydney (1980–87)
- Trooper Mark Donaldson VC
- Paul Gerantonis (1969 - current)
- Malcolm T. Elliott (radio broadcaster)
- John Singleton (entrepreneur, businessman and horse racing identity)
- Steve Waugh (former Australian Cricket captain)
- Ken Callander
- "Premiership Records". nrl.com. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- Sarno, Tony (12 August 1988). "The battle heats up for 15th spot". The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia). p. 47. Retrieved 18 September 2010.[dead link]
- Dean Ritchie (2012-12-05). "Magpies flutter back to Bundy Cup to live another day". News.com.au. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
- westsmagpies.com.au. "Home Grounds". Wests Archives. Western Suburbs Magpies. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
- Ashfield Municipal Council (2008). Pratten Park Plan of Management (PDF). Australia: ashfield.nsw.gov.au. pp. 6–7.
- "Wests Archives - Club History". Westsmagpies.com.au. 1908-02-04. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
- westsmagpies.net (2008). "Western Sburbs Magpies Hall of Fame". Wests Archives. Western Suburbs Magpies R.L.F.C. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
- "Western Suburbs Team of the Century". Wests Archives. Western Suburbs Magpies R.L.F.C. 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
- Goodwin, Dorothy (1982-09-26). "Eels Premier Tip". League Souvenir (Sun-Herald, The). Retrieved 2009-09-27.[dead link]
- Lester, Gary (1995). Clouds of dust, buckets of blood: the story of the Western Suburbs Rugby League Magpies. Playright Publishing. ISBN 9780949853523.
- Official website
- Western Suburbs Magpies on Twitter
- Western Suburbs Magpies on Facebook
- Wests Archives Website details the history of the Western Suburbs Magpies and the Wests Tigers
- RL1908's Wests page
- Western Suburbs Page on the Rugby League Project Page
- Western Suburbs Magpies Fanatics