1944 NSWRFL season

The 1944 NSWRFL season was the thirty-seventh season of the New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership, Sydney’s top-level rugby league competition, and Australia’s first. Eight teams from across the city contested the premiership during the season which culminated in Balmain’s victory over Newtown in the grand final.[1]

1944 New South Wales Rugby Football League
PremiersBalmain colours.svg Balmain (8th title)
Minor premiersNewtown colours.svg Newtown (4th title)
Matches played60
Points scored2159
Top points scorer(s)Newtown colours.svg Tom Kirk (185)
Top try-scorer(s)Newtown colours.svg Sid Goodwin (22)



37th season
Ground: Leichhardt Oval
Coach: Norm Robinson
Captain: Arthur Patton


10th season
Ground: Belmore Sports Ground
Coach: Ron BaileyCec Fifield
Captain: Ron Bailey

Eastern Suburbs

37th season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Coach: Sid Pearce
Captain: Harry Pierce


37th season
Ground: Henson Park
Coach: Arthur Folwell
Captain: Frank Farrell

North Sydney

37th season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Captain-Coach: Frank Hyde

South Sydney

37th season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Coach: Alf Blair
Captain: Jack Walsh

St. George

24th season
Ground: Hurstville Oval
Coach: Bill Kelly
Captain: Len Kelly

Western Suburbs

37th season
Ground: Pratten Park
Coach: Henry Bolewski
Captain: Paddy Bugden


The geographical locations of the teams that contested the 1944 premiership across Sydney.
Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1   Newtown 14 11 0 3 379 220 +159 22
2   Balmain 14 10 1 3 402 171 +231 21
3   St. George 14 9 0 5 230 238 -8 18
4   South Sydney 14 7 1 6 193 287 -94 15
5   North Sydney 14 5 1 8 204 202 +2 11
6   Western Suburbs 14 4 2 8 180 246 -66 10
7   Eastern Suburbs 14 4 0 10 227 360 -133 8
8   Canterbury-Bankstown 14 3 1 10 206 297 -91 7


Newtown looked set for back-to-back titles after finishing as minor premiers. Both Newtown and Balmain won their respective semi-finals with the Bluebags blitzing St George by 55 points to 7, which was to remain the Dragons’ largest losing margin until 1994[2] and the largest margin in a finals match until 2019.[3][4][5][6] However injuries and war duties then ravaged the side including the key losses of Len Smith and Herb Narvo who had starred for them all season. Balmain thus overcame Newtown 19–16 in the final, enabling Newtown a “right of challenge”.

Home Score Away Match Information
Date and Time Venue Referee Crowd
  Newtown 55–7   St. George 26 August 1944 Sydney Cricket Ground Tom McMahon 34,883
  Balmain 15–6   South Sydney 2 September 1944 Sydney Cricket Ground Jack O'Brien 28,237
  Newtown 16–19   Balmain 9 September 1944 Sydney Cricket Ground Tom McMahon 41,807
Grand Final
  Newtown 8–12   Balmain 16 September 1944[7] Sydney Cricket Ground Jack O'Brien 24,186

Grand FinalEdit

Newtown Position Balmain
Tom Kirk FB Dave Parkinson
Sid Goodwin WG Arthur Patton (c)
Lin McLean CE Joe Jorgenson
Bruce Ryan CE Tom Bourke
Norm Jacobson WG Keith Parkinson
Tom Nevin FE Stan Ponchard
Jack Kadwell HB Pat Devery
Charlie Montgomery PR Jack Hampstead
Jimmy Brailey HK George Watt
Frank Farrell (c) PR Colin Campbell
Keith Phillips SR Athol Smith
Leo Ryan SR Sid Ryan
Charles Cahill LK Dawson Buckley
Arthur Folwell Coach Norm "Latchem" Robinson

Newtown exercised their “right of challenge” as minor premiers and called for a Grand Final. In a low-scoring affair Balmain's representative centre Joe Jorgenson kicked two late penalty goals to give the Tigers a 12–8 win and their eighth title.

Balmain 12 (Tries: Devery, K Parkinson. Goals: Jorgenson 3)


Newtown 8 (Tries: Farrell, McLean. Goals: Kirk)

Tom Bourke of Balmain, with the ball, is about to be tackled by the Newtown defence. In the foreground Balmain pair Stan Ponchard (No.7) and Keith Parkinson (No.18) watch on.

Player statisticsEdit

The following statistics are as of the conclusion of Round 14.


  1. ^ Premiership Roll of Honour Archived 2007-04-28 at the Wayback Machine at rl1908.com
  2. ^ St. George: Biggest Losses
  3. ^ "Parramatta Eels eliminate Brisbane Broncos from the NRL Finals with a thumping 58-0 win". ABC.
  4. ^ "Fuming Seibold fires off at players, promises review of roster after 'embarrassing' loss". Fox Sports.
  5. ^ "Seibold: 'Top to bottom' review needed as Brisbane search for answers". NRL.
  6. ^ "Brisbane Broncos' post-Bennett blues still haunting Anthony Seibold". The Guardian.
  7. ^ 1944 Grand Final Archived 2012-03-04 at the Wayback Machine at nrlstats.com

External linksEdit