1958 NSWRFL season

The 1958 NSWRFL season was the 51st season of the New South Wales Rugby Football League, Australia's first rugby league football competition. Ten teams from across Sydney competed for the J. J. Giltinan Shield during the season, which culminated in a grand final between St. George and Western Suburbs.

1958 New South Wales Rugby Football League
PremiersSt. George colours.svg St. George (5th title)
Minor premiersSt. George colours.svg St. George (5th title)
Matches played95
Points scored3050
Top try-scorer(s)St. George colours.svg Eddie Lumsden (18)

Season summaryEdit

Having been wooden spooners in NSWRFL season 1955, Wests embarked on a massive spending spree to recruit internationals Harry Wells, Kel O'Shea, Arthur Summons, Dick Poole, Darcy Henry and Ian Moir over a five-year period. The fruits of this labour began to show in 1958 when they finished in second place for the minor premiership and posed a challenge to St George in the finals.

Harry Bath was the competition's leading goal scorer in 1958, with his St George teammate Eddie Lumsden the leading try scorer. Bath shattered the Dragons club's point scoring record with 225 season points from three tries and 108 goals.

19-year-old Reg Gasnier, later to be honoured as one of the Australian game's Immortals, made his 3rd grade debut in 1958 and was immediately noticed, regularly scoring length-of-the-field tries.

The 1958 season also saw the retirement from the League of future Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame inductee, Clive Churchill.



51st season
Ground: Leichhardt Oval
Coach: John O'Toole
Captain: Bill Marsh

24th season
Ground: Belmore Sports Ground
Coach: Cec Cooper
Captain: Ray Gartner
Eastern Suburbs
51st season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Coach: Dave Brown
Captain: Terry Fearnley
12th season
Ground: Brookvale Oval
Coach: Ken Arthurson
Captain: Ron Willey
51st season
Ground: Henson Park
Coach: Dick Poole
Captain: Gordon Clifford
North Sydney
51st season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Coach: Trevor Allen
Captain: Bob Honeysett
12th season
Ground: Cumberland Oval
Coach: Jack Rayner
Captain: Roy Fisher
South Sydney
51st season
Ground: Redfern Oval
Captain-Coach: Clive Churchill
St. George
38th season
Ground: Jubilee Oval
Captain-coach: Ken Kearney
Western Suburbs
51st season
Ground: Pratten Park
Coach: Vic Hey
Captain: Harry Wells


Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1   St. George 18 16 0 2 480 187 +293 32
2   Western Suburbs 18 12 0 6 379 263 +116 24
3   Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 18 11 1 6 291 251 +40 23
4   Newtown 18 10 0 8 297 252 +45 20
5   Balmain 18 10 0 8 254 273 −19 20
6   North Sydney 18 9 0 9 279 322 −43 18
7   Eastern Suburbs 18 8 0 10 244 252 −8 16
8   South Sydney 18 6 0 12 246 391 −145 12
9   Canterbury 18 4 1 13 207 276 −69 9
10   Parramatta 18 3 0 15 202 412 −210 6


The developing Western Suburbs side which would become such a force at the beginning of the 1960s, was already building around the class of internationals Keith "Yappy" Holman, Harry "Dealer" Wells, Kel "Twigs" O'Shea along with their hard men Neville "Boxhead" Charlton, Mark Patch and fiery 19-year-old Peter Dimond. With a simple game plan of "retaliate first", the Magpies' aggression in the semi-final stunned St George who were coming off a coasting run through the end of the season. In spite of having beaten Wests twice in the regular season, the Dragons were mauled by them 34-10 in the major-semi final with Dimond dominating his opposite five-eighth Peter Carroll and forcing the Dragons to a sudden death final against Balmain for the right to defend their title.

The lessons from this loss sat heavily with St George - how an early forward onslaught designed to knock the spirit of the rival pack could determine the course of the entire game. For the next eight years, in all of their finals appearances, the Dragons would play a deliberate tactic of giving the opposition the ball in the first 15 minutes and setting about demoralising them with brutal defence.

Home Score Away Match Information
Date and Time Venue Referee Crowd
  Newtown 4-15   Balmain 19 August 1958 Redfern Oval 10,430
Semi Finals
  Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 10-22   Balmain 23 August 1958 Sydney Cricket Ground Darcy Lawler 27,985
  St. George 10-34   Western Suburbs 30 August 1958 Sydney Cricket Ground Darcy Lawler 38,857
Preliminary Final
  St. George 26-21   Balmain 6 September 1958 Sydney Cricket Ground Darcy Lawler 39,132
Grand Final
  Western Suburbs 9-20   St. George 13 September 1958 Sydney Cricket Ground Darcy Lawler 62,283

Grand FinalEdit

St. George Position Western Suburbs
Brian Graham FB Darcy Russell
Eddie Lumsden WG Bernard Kelly
Ray Smith CE Harry Wells (c)
Geoff Weekes CE Darcy Henry
Brian Messiter WG Don Malone
Brian Clay FE Peter Dimond
Bob Bugden HB Keith Holman
Harry Bath PR Mark Patch
Ken Kearney (Ca./Co.) HK Bede Goff
Billy Wilson PR Neville Charlton
Monty Porter SR Bill Carson
Norm Provan SR Jack Bowman
Peter Provan LK Doug Jones
Coach Vic Hey

In an effort to negate Peter Dimond, Saints dropped Peter Carroll for the Grand Final, selecting lock and hard hitting defender, Brian Clay at five-eighth. From the kick-off, the record crowd saw a furious St George team lay into Wests. High tackles and punches were the order of the day and referee Darcy Lawler penalised the Dragons seventeen times to Wests seven.

Wests were unable to counter the onslaught which saw a ruthless Dragons' defence advancing upon them at every opportunity although the score remained close for most of the match. Eventually with the Magpies subdued, Norm Provan and Bob Bugden cut loose, with Provan scoring two tries and Bugden snatching an intercept try near the end. Saints won the fight, and the match. For 80 minutes Clay was all over Dimond who ended the match dazed and bleeding.

The Sydney Morning Herald described the match as the most 'savage' game of the season.

St George 20 (Tries: N. Provan 2, Bugden, Lumsden. Goals: Bath 4.)

Wests 9 (Tries: Russell. Goals: Russell 3 )

Great Britain Lions TourEdit

From May until August, the Great Britain Lions toured Australia and New Zealand. In Australia they played the three Test Ashes series against Australia as well as games against various sides including Sydney Firsts, New South Wales and a Sydney Representative Colts side that featured a young Reg Gasnier.

The team was coached by Jim Brough and was captained was Alan Prescott.

Note: Other than the Ashes Tests, only games in NSW listed

Game Date Result Venue Attendance
1 18 May   Great Britain def.   Southern Districts 36–18 Wollongong Showground, Wollongong
2 21 May   Great Britain drew with   Western Districts 24–24 Wade Park, Orange
3 24 May   Great Britain def.   Newcastle 35–16 Newcastle Sportsground, Newcastle 21,126
4 28 May   Great Britain def.   Northern NSW 27–17 Scully Park, Tamworth
5 31 May   Great Britain def.   Sydney 20–15 Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney 48,692
6 4 June   Great Britain def.   Riverina 29–10 Leeton 6,000
7 7 June   Great Britain def.   New South Wales 19–10 Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney 52,963
8 14 June   Australia def.   Great Britain 25–8 Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney 68,777
15 5 July   Great Britain def.   Australia 25–18 Brisbane Exhibition Ground, Brisbane 33,563
17 13 July   Great Britain def.   NSW North Coast 56–15 Oakes Oval, Oakes Oval, Lismore 5,541
18 19 July   Great Britain def.   Australia 28–26 Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney 68,720
?? 14 August   Representative Colts vs   Great Britain Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
?? 17 August Coalfields vs   Great Britain Maitland Showground, Maitland


External linksEdit