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1972 NSWRFL season

The 1972 New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership was the 65th season of Sydney's professional rugby league football competition, Australia's first. Twelve teams, including six of 1908's foundation clubs and another six from across Sydney, competed for the J. J. Giltinan Shield during the season, which culminated in a grand final match between the Manly-Warringah and Eastern Suburbs clubs.

1972 New South Wales Rugby Football League
PremiersManly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah (1st title)
Minor premiersManly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah (2nd title)
Matches played136
Points scored4670
Top points scorer(s)Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Allan McKean (220)
Player of the yearWestern Suburbs colours.svg Tommy Raudonikis (Rothmans Medal)
Top try-scorer(s)Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Bob Fulton (19)

Season summaryEdit

The 1972 season's Rothmans Medal winner was Western Suburbs' halfback Tommy Raudonikis. Rugby League Week awarded their player of the year award to Eastern Suburbs' five-eighth John Ballesty.

This season, for the first time since 1966, Souths would fail to reach the grand final.

Following the grand final, several players travelled to France to represent Australia in the 1972 Rugby League World Cup.


65th season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Coach: Leo Nosworthy
Captain: Garry Leo
38th season
Ground: Belmore Oval
Coach: Bob Hagan
Captain: Johnny Greaves
6th season
Ground: Endeavour Field
Coach: Tommy Bishop
Captain: Cliff Watson / Ken Maddison
Eastern Suburbs
65th season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Coach: Don Furner
Captain: Ron Coote

26th season
Ground: Brookvale Oval
Coach: Ron Willey
Captain: Fred Jones
65th season
Ground: Henson Park
Coach: Harry Bath
Captain: Lionel Williamson
North Sydney
65th season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Captain-coach: Merv Hicks
26th season
Ground: Cumberland Oval
Coach: Ian Walsh
Captain: Bob O'Reilly
6th season
Ground: Penrith Park
Coach: Bob Boland
Captain: Ron Lynch
South Sydney
65th season
Ground: Redfern Oval
Coach: Clive Churchill
Captain: John Sattler
St. George
52nd season
Ground: Kogarah Oval
Captain-coach: Graeme Langlands
Western Suburbs
65th season
Ground: Lidcombe Oval, Pratten Park
Coach: Don Parish
Captain: Tom Raudonikis


Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1   Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 22 18 1 3 460 255 +205 37
2   Eastern Suburbs Roosters 22 17 1 4 514 297 +217 35
3   St. George Dragons 22 16 2 4 398 221 +177 34
4   South Sydney Rabbitohs 22 14 0 8 456 331 +125 28
5   Newtown 22 11 2 9 402 371 +31 24
6   Canterbury-Bankstown 22 12 0 10 382 373 +9 24
7   Western Suburbs Magpies 22 8 1 13 367 398 -31 17
8   Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 22 8 0 14 332 378 -46 16
9   North Sydney Bears 22 7 1 14 320 405 -85 15
10   Balmain 22 6 1 15 333 455 -122 13
11   Penrith Panthers 22 5 1 16 278 490 -212 11
12   Parramatta 22 4 2 16 317 585 -268 10


Home Score Away Match Information
Date and Time Venue Referee Crowd
Semi Finals
  St. George 14-10   South Sydney 26 August 1972 Sydney Cricket Ground Keith Page 47,945
  Manly-Warringah 32-8   Eastern Suburbs 2 September 1972 Sydney Cricket Ground Keith Page 43,695
Preliminary Final
  Eastern Suburbs 8-6   St. George 9 September 1972 Sydney Cricket Ground Keith Page 41,313
Grand Final
  Manly-Warringah 19-14   Eastern Suburbs 16 September 1972 Sydney Cricket Ground Keith Page 54,537

Grand finalEdit

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Position Eastern Suburbs Roosters
Graham Eadie FB Allan McKean
Ken Irvine WG Jim Porter
Ray Branighan CE Harry Cameron
Bob Fulton CE Mark Harris
Max Brown WG Bill Mullins
Ian Martin FE John Ballesty
Dennis Ward HB Kevin Junee
Bill Hamilton PR John Armstrong
Fred Jones (c) HK Peter Moscatt
John O'Neill PR Arthur Beetson
Allan Thomson SR Greg Bandiera
Terry Randall SR John Quayle
Mal Reilly LK Ron Coote (c)
Bench Laurie Freier
Ron Willey Coach Don Furner

After twenty-five years in the competition and five Grand Final losses, Manly finally broke through to win the club's first NSWRFL premiership.[1]

In a controversial match, the Sea-Eagles downed the Eastern Suburbs Roosters 19 to 14, thus shedding their 'bridesmaids' tag. The Roosters were highly critical of referee Keith Page after the match, claiming both of Manly's tries shouldn't have been awarded. To add to their rage, Easts crossed for 2 tries that were disallowed.

A dour first half saw the teams go to the break at 4-all, before a try by hooker Fred Jones put Manly ahead. Jones appeared to drop the ball as he attempted to ground it, but was awarded the try nonetheless. For his part Jones contends that he did place the ball with downward pressure. Midway through the second half, controversy flared again when Manly centre Ray Branighan appeared to stop over the Eastern Suburbs try line after accepting what looked like a forward pass from prop Bill Hamilton. However, referee Page allowed it and the Manly fans began celebrating, knowing that at 19-4 their first premiership victory was assured. Although Easts fought back with two late tries to John Ballesty and Bill Mullins and brought the score to 19-14, time ran out for the Roosters and Manly had won their first ever premiership in first grade.

In the end, it was Manly's part-time goal kicker Ray Branighan who proved the difference, kicking 6 goals from 8 attempts.

Manly-Warringah 19 (Tries: Fred Jones, Ray Branighan. Goals: Ray Branighan 6. Fld Goal: Bob Fulton)

Eastern Suburbs 14 (Tries: John Ballesty, Bill Mullins. Goals: Allan McKean 4 )

Man of the Match: Dennis Ward (Manly).

Referee: Keith Page

Attendance: 54,537


  1. ^ Clarkson, Alan (17 September 1972). "Manly - deserved winners". The Sun-Herald. Australia. p. 72. Retrieved 19 September 2010.

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