1900 Metropolitan Rugby Union season

The 1900 Metropolitan Rugby Union season was the 27th season of the Sydney Rugby Premiership. It was the first season run for clubs that represented a district. Eight clubs (seven representing a district, the remaining club representing Sydney University) competed from May till August 1900. The season culminated in the first district premiership, which was won by Glebe. Glebe were crowned premiers by virtue of finishing the season on top of the table. [1]

1900 Sydney Rugby Premiership
Duration19 May to 25 August
Teams8
PremiersGlebe 1900.png Glebe (1st title)
Minor PremiersGlebe 1900.png Glebe (1st title)
Runners-upUniversity 1865.png Sydney University
Wooden SpoonNewtown Colours.png Newtown (1st spoon)
Top point-scorer(s)Norths Original Colours.png Iggy O'Donnell (61)
Top try-scorer(s)University 1865.png Harry Blaney (11)
Second Grade
Number of teams8
PremiersGlebe 1900.png Glebe
Runners-upEasts Original Colours.png Eastern Suburbs
Third Grade
Number of teams8
PremiersGlebe 1900.png Glebe
Runners-upNorths Original Colours.png North Sydney

BackgroundEdit

As early as 1893[2] it had been suggested to change the current structure of the premiership to a district-based formula. The idea was that district teams would distribute the top players amongst more teams creating a more equal competition. This would encourage crowds at matches to grow in size. However, members of the union were reluctant and voted against the proposal.[3] This was based upon the grounds that the current clubs had a strong supporter base that may be lost if their club was barred from the competition. As well, it was believed that crowd sizes were adequate and not in fear of falling. The idea of district competition continued to be discussed over the following seasons.

At a NSWRFU meeting in early August, 1896, a motion was proposed and carried concerning district football. The proposal recommended that the County of Cumberland (Sydney and surrounding suburbs) be separated into eight districts and that the Senior and First Junior matches be played between these clubs. The eight districts proposed were North Sydney, Redfern, Glebe, St. George, Balmain, Paddington, Western Suburbs and East Sydney. The proposal included the University club who would only include players who were undergraduates. Districts were arranged upon electorate lines.[4] The NSWRFU rejected the proposal in a heated and passionate meeting with the votes 44 to 16.[5]

On 26 September 1898, at a meeting of the Metropolitan Rugby Football Union, the following recommendation was proposed, "That the football competition next season shall be competed for by clubs whose members are residents of such districts as may be allowed to each club." A ballot was taken and the recommendation won 22 to 12. A committee was set up to draw up a scheme to divide the Sydney region into eight districts, including Sydney University.[6] However, the change was postponed to start in 1900 due to the eminent arrival of the English team and being able to adequately form a competitive team.[7]

In 1900 a meeting of the Metropolitan Rugby Football Union was held and a recommendation to establish district football in the coming season was made. The motion was carried with a majority in favour. In response, existing clubs indicated their support for the new competition by either disbanding the current club or removing themselves from the senior competition. Meetings were held across the city over the coming months to form the various district clubs. [8]

TeamsEdit

Eight clubs contested the season; seven clubs representing a district and one club representing Sydney University. The 'Varsity were allowed to continue in the Premiership with the restriction that all players were required to be either current or former students. Each of the district clubs were newly formed with the foundations in former clubs.[9]

Balmain

Formed on 26 March 1900
Ground: Birchgrove Oval
Captain: E Mullet

Eastern Suburbs

Formed on 22 March 1900
Ground: Rushcutters Bay Oval
Captain: Percy Macnamara

Glebe

Formed on 15 March 1900
Ground: Wentworth Park
Captain: Ernest McMahon

Newtown

Formed on 22 March 1900
Captain: George Hay

North Sydney

Formed on 23 March 1900
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Captain: Paddy Lane

South Sydney

Formed on 26 March 1900
Ground: RAS Showground
Captain: J Bourke

Sydney University

Formed on 19 August 1865
Ground: University Oval
Captain: Harry Wood & Horace Jones

Western Suburbs

Formed on 22 March 1900
Ground: Parramatta Oval
Captain: William Shortland

Season summaryEdit

The 1900 Sydney Rugby Premiership and the move to a district-based structure was deemed a success. Greater public interest in football was seen with crowd attendances at games a positive. At the final round of the season, the top-of-the-table clash between Glebe and Sydney University at University Oval saw approximately 7,000 in attendance.[1]

The winning club, Glebe, demonstrated more consistency during the season than the other clubs. After starting the season with four wins in the first seven rounds, they consistently developed their team until they were regarded as the finest team over the remaining seven rounds. They also benefitted from a very low injury toll to their players. Glebe won the two lower grade competitions to add to their first grade triumph.[1]

Sydney University performed very well to become runners-up considering they had a terrible injury toll. This included their captain HD Wood whose career was ended due to his injuries. Their success was mostly due to players such as Harry Blaney and Frank Futter who scored nearly half of their tries.[1]

For a greater part of the season, North Sydney were favourites for the premiership having only lost one game in the first ten rounds. However, when the club met Glebe in round eleven, they lost the game and three of their players were injured. The next round saw another injury to a player. North Sydney lost the last four remaining games (rounds 11 to 14) and with that the premiership.[1]

LadderEdit

Team Pld W D L B PF PA PD Pts
1   Glebe 14 11 1 2 0 156 57 +99 23
2   Sydney University 14 8 1 5 0 136 92 +44 17
3   North Sydney 14 7 2 5 0 138 78 +78 16
4   Western Suburbs 14 7 1 6 0 77 92 -15 15
5   South Sydney 14 6 1 7 0 67 92 -25 13
6   Eastern Suburbs 14 6 0 8 0 87 127 -40 12
7   Balmain 14 3 2 9 0 92 111 -19 8
8   Newtown 14 4 0 10 0 42 146 -104 8

Ladder progressionEdit

  • Numbers highlighted in blue indicates the team finished first on the ladder in that round.
  • Numbers highlighted in red indicates the team finished in last place on the ladder in that round
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
1   Glebe 2 2[10] 4 4 5 7 9[10] 11 13 15 17 19 21 23
2   Sydney University 0 2 2 4 6 6 8 10 11 13 15 17 17 17
3   North Sydney 2 4 6 6 7 9 11 13 14 16 16 16 16 16
4   Western Suburbs 2 4 4 6 6 8 10 10 10 10 10 12 14 15
5   South Sydney 2 2[10] 4 4 4[11] 4 4[10] 4 6 7[11] 7 9 11 13
6   Eastern Suburbs 0 0 0 2 4 4 4 6 8 8 10 10 10 12
7   Balmain 0 0 0 0 0[11] 0 0 0 0 3[11] 5 5 7 8
8   Newtown 0 0 2 4 4 6 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8

StatisticsEdit

PointsEdit

Player Pl T G FG Pts
1   Iggy O'Donnell 14 6 14 3 61
2   Harry Blaney 13 11 3 1 43
3   James Joyce 11 0 14 3 42
4   George Thomas 13 0 11 0 24
5   Stanley Wickham 13 3 6 0 23
6   Leo Finn 14 1 8 0 23
7   Ed Halloren 12 5 1 1 21
8   George Roberts 12 7 0 0 21
9   Charlie White 10 5 0 1 19
10   Frank Futter 13 6 0 0 18

TriesEdit

Player Pl T
1   Harry Blaney 13 11
2   George Roberts 12 7
3   Iggy O'Donnell 14 6
4   Frank Futter 13 6
5   Ed Halloren 12 5
6   E Hughes 11 5
7   William Shortland 13 5
8   Charlie White 10 5
9   William Hardcastle 12 4
10   Victor Harris 14 4

[1]

Lower gradesEdit

The MRFU also conducted Second Grade and Third Grade competitions for teams representing the district clubs. Glebe were victorious in both lower grade competitions and were thus declared club champions across all three grades. Overall, the club had only lost two games across all three grades, being undefeated in both lower grade competitions.

Second gradeEdit

All of the clubs competing in the First Grade competition entered a team in Second Grade. Teams were: North Sydney, South Sydney, Eastern Suburbs, Western Suburbs, Newtown, Glebe, Balmain and Sydney university. At the conclusion of the season, Glebe finished the season undefeated at the top of the table and were declared Premiers.[1]

Third gradeEdit

The same clubs competed in the Third Grade competition. Teams were: North Sydney, South Sydney, Eastern Suburbs, Western Suburbs, Newtown, Glebe, Balmain and Sydney University. At the conclusion of the season, Glebe again finished the season undefeated at the top of the table and were declared Premiers.[1]

Participating clubsEdit

Club Grade
1st 2nd 3rd
  Balmain District Football Club Y Y Y
  Eastern Suburbs District Rugby Football Club Y Y Y
  Glebe District Football Club Y Y Y
  Newtown District Football Club Y Y Y
  North Sydney District Rugby Football Club Y Y Y
  South Sydney District Football Club Y Y Y
  Sydney University Football Club Y Y Y
  Western Suburbs District Rugby Football Club Y Y Y

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "FOOTBALL IN 1900". Referee (Sydney, NSW : 1886 - 1939). 29 August 1900. p. 8. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  2. ^ "FOOTBALL". Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954). 28 October 1893. p. 7. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  3. ^ "The Sydney Morning Herald". Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954). 11 April 1894. p. 6. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  4. ^ "FOOTBALL". Referee (Sydney, NSW : 1886 - 1939). 12 August 1896. p. 8. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  5. ^ "FOOTBALL". Referee (Sydney, NSW : 1886 - 1939). 2 September 1896. p. 8. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  6. ^ "FOOTBALL". Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954). 27 September 1898. p. 6. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  7. ^ "THE ENGLISH FOOTBALL TEAM". Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954). 9 February 1899. p. 3. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  8. ^ "FOOTBALL NOTES". Referee (Sydney, NSW : 1886 - 1939). 14 March 1900. p. 8. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  9. ^ "FOOTBALL NOTES". Referee (Sydney, NSW : 1886 - 1939). 16 May 1900. p. 8. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d The game between Glebe and South Sydney that was scheduled for round 2 was postponed due to the ground being unfit for play. The game was not played until prior to round 7. As a result, the points won by Glebe were not applied until round 7.
  11. ^ a b c d The game between Balmain and South Sydney that was scheduled for round 5 was postponed due to the ground being unfit for play. The game was not played until prior to round 10. As a result, the points awarded to both teams for the draw were not applied until round 10.

ReferencesEdit