1946 NSWRFL season

The 1946 New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership was the thirty-ninth season of Sydney’s top-level rugby league competition, Australia’s first. Eight teams from across the city contested during the season which culminated in Balmain’s victory over St. George in the premiership final.[1]

1946 New South Wales Rugby Football League
PremiersBalmain colours.svg Balmain (9th title)
Minor premiersSt. George colours.svg St. George (2nd title)
Matches played60
Points scored1956
Top points scorer(s)Newtown colours.svg Tom Kirk (122)
Top try-scorer(s)St. George colours.svg Jack Lindwall (16)

Season summaryEdit

The South Sydney club did not win a single match in 1946, continuing a losing streak that started in round 8, 1945 and which would run till round 1, 1947.

Eastern Suburbs’ Lionel Cooper took out the New South Wales “Player of the Year” award.



39th season
Ground: Leichhardt Oval
Coach: Norm Robinson
Captain: Tom Bourke


12th season
Ground: Belmore Oval
Coach: Ross McKinnon
Captain: Ron Bailey

Eastern Suburbs

39th season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Captain-Coach: Ray Stehr


39th season
Ground: Henson Park
Coach: Frank Farrell & Len Smith
Captain: Frank Farrell

North Sydney

39th season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Coach: Harry Forbes
Captain: Jim Scoular

South Sydney

39th season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Coach: Arthur Hennessy
Captain: Clem Kennedy

St. George

26th season
Ground: Hurstville Oval
Captain-Coach: Herb Narvo

Western Suburbs

39th season
Ground: Pratten Park
Captain-Coach: Jack Walsh


The geographical locations of the teams that contested the 1946 premiership across Sydney.
Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1   St. George 14 11 0 3 264 203 +61 22
2   Newtown 14 10 0 4 294 189 +105 20
3   Balmain 14 9 0 5 279 193 +86 18
4   Canterbury-Bankstown 14 8 1 5 212 196 +16 17
5   Eastern Suburbs 14 8 0 6 213 174 +39 16
6   North Sydney 14 5 0 9 248 283 -35 10
7   Western Suburbs 14 4 1 9 224 267 -43 9
8   South Sydney 14 0 0 14 124 353 -229 0


With just two rounds remaining, Newtown looked on track for the minor premiership until they lost to Eastern Suburbs and then Balmain in the two final rounds of the year. This left St. George to take the minor premiership, and with it, a guaranteed place in a Final. This proved costly for Newtown who were narrowly beaten by Canterbury-Bankstown in the semi final eliminator, meaning they were out of the competition. St. George also lost their first round match, meaning they immediately got sent into the Grand Final against the winner of a Balmain and Canterbury-Bankstown match, which Balmain won by a point.

Home Score Away Match Information
Date and Time Venue Referee Crowd
Semi Finals
  St. George 14–22   Balmain 24 August 1946 Sydney Cricket Ground George Bishop 34,408
  Newtown 10–12   Canterbury-Bankstown 31 August 1946 Sydney Cricket Ground Jack O'Brien 28,012
Preliminary Final
  Balmain 8–7   Canterbury-Bankstown 7 September 1946 Sydney Cricket Ground Tom McMahon 36,445
Grand Final
  St. George 12–13   Balmain 14 September 1946 Sydney Sports Ground George Bishop 32,296

Grand FinalEdit

St George Position Balmain
Ray Lindwall FB Jack McCullough
Noel Jones WG Arthur Patton
Doug McRitchie CE Pat Devery
Fred Brown CE Tom Bourke (c)
Jack Lindwall WG Joe Jorgenson
Don Graham FE George Williams
Max Hayward HB Stan Ponchard
Jack Munn PR Hilton Kidd
Ken Banks HK Herb Gilbert Jnr
Jack McPherson PR Jack Spencer
Jim Hale SR Fred de Belin
Herb Narvo (c/c) SR Harry Bath
Chick Donnelley LK Jack Hampstead
Coach Norm Robinson

In spite of St George’s status as minor premiers, Balmain were Grand Final favourites due to their comprehensive routing of the Dragons in the first semi-final. Ultimately though the decider, played on Saturday 14 September, was a closely fought contest.[2]

A series of dubious decisions by referee George Bishop gave Balmain an advantage. There was a disallowed try to St George and two Balmain tries which came off what appeared to be forward passes, one when Balmain’s Joe Jorgenson scored after receiving a ball that seemed to have been propelled at least a yard forward.

The Dragons came close to victory when late in the game Jack Lindwall scored in the corner but his brother, prospective Test bowler, Ray Lindwall was unable to convert it. Lindwall in fact missed all four conversion attempts on the day.

The Tigers had won seven straight victories to take the premiership.

Tensions of the encounter overflowed after full-time and the match concluded on an ugly note when Saints forward, Jim Hale went toe to toe with Balmain hooker, Herb Gilbert, Jr, himself a former Dragon. Hale was then attacked by a spectator and an all-in brawl followed.[3]

Balmain 13 (Tries: Jorgenson 2, Patton. Goals: Bourke 2 )


St George 12 (Tries: J Lindwall 2, Jones, Munn)


  1. ^ Premiership Roll of Honour Archived April 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine at rl1908.com
  2. ^ 1946 Grand Final Archived 2012-03-04 at the Wayback Machine at nrlstats.com
  3. ^ "Tigerish Grand Final in League". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia. 1946-09-16. p. 10. Retrieved 2009-11-19.

External linksEdit