1983 NSWRFL season

The 1983 NSWRFL season was the 76th season of professional rugby league football in Australia. Fourteen teams competed for the J J Giltinan Shield and Winfield Cup during the season, which culminated in a replay of the previous year's grand final between the Parramatta and Manly-Warringah clubs. During the season, NSWRFL teams also competed for the 1983 KB Cup.

1983 New South Wales Rugby Football League
PremiersParramatta colours.svg Parramatta (3rd title)
Minor premiersManly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah (5th title)
Matches played189
Points scored7296
Top points scorer(s)Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Michael Eden (256)
Player of the yearEastern Suburbs colours.svg Michael Eden (Rothmans Medal)
Top try-scorer(s)Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Phil Blake (27)

1983 was the final season in the New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership for Sydney-based foundation club Newtown Jets, and the first reduction in the number of teams in the competition since Sydney University’s departure at the end of the 1937 NSWRFL season. It was also the first season that was played with four-point tries.

Season summaryEdit

For the first time, the number of points awarded for scoring a try was raised from three to four. There was also the introduction of a handover if a team was caught in possession six times, which had the effect of killing the traditional scrum but attracted many new followers[citation needed] to a game that had seen attendances decline by fifty percent since the record year of 1968.[1] To counter a lucrative illegal betting market, legal betting via FootyTAB was introduced and was a regarded as a success.

Twenty-six regular season rounds were played from February till August, resulting in a top five of Manly-Warringah, Parramatta, Canterbury-Bankstown, Balmain and St. George, who battled it out in the finals. Manly-Warringah managed 23 wins from 28 matches in 1983 – at the time the most wins in a season by a club in NSWRFL premiership history alongside Parramatta’s 23 in 1982.

The 1983 season's Rothmans Medallist was Eastern Suburbs’ back, Michael Eden and the Dally M Award went to Western Suburbs’ half, Terry Lamb. Rugby League Week gave their player of the year award to Manly-Warringah winger, Phil Sigsworth. This season the Cocal-Cola Coach-of-the-year award was voted for by the coaches in the League and was awarded to rookie coach Laurie Freier.[2]

This was also the last year in the first-grade competition for foundation club Newtown, who were dropped at the season’s end.


The lineup of teams remained unchanged from the previous season, with fourteen clubs competing in total, including six Sydney-based foundation teams, another six from Sydney, one from greater New South Wales and one from the Australian Capital Territory. It was the last season for the Newtown club.[3]

Balmain Tigers
76th season
Ground: Leichhardt Oval
Coach: Frank Stanton
Captain: Wayne Pearce
Canberra Raiders
2nd season
Ground: Seiffert Oval
Coach: Don Furner
Captain: Allan McMahon
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
48th season
Ground: Belmore Oval
Coach: Ted Glossop
Captain: Chris Anderson
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
17th season
Ground: Endeavour Field
Coach: Terry Fearnley
Captain: Gavin Miller
Eastern Suburbs Roosters
76th season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Coach: Laurie Freier
Captain: Royce Ayliffe
Illawarra Steelers
2nd season
Ground: Wollongong Stadium
Coach: Allan Fitzgibbon
Captain: John Dorahy
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
37th season
Ground: Brookvale Oval
Coach: Bob Fulton
Captain: Max Krilich
Newtown Jets
76th season
Ground: Henson Park, Orana Park
Coach: Brian Moore
Captain: Ken Wilson, Dean Lance
North Sydney Bears
76th season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Coach: John Hayes, Greg Hawick
Captain: Mark Graham, John Adam
Parramatta Eels
37th season
Ground: Belmore Oval
Coach: Jack Gibson
Captain: Steve Edge
Penrith Panthers
17th season
Ground: Penrith Stadium
Coach: John Peard
Captain: Royce Simmons
South Sydney Rabbitohs
76th season
Ground: Redfern Oval
Coach: Ron Willey
Captain: Ziggy Niszczot
St. George Dragons
63rd season
Ground: Kogarah Oval
Coach: Roy Masters
Captain: Craig Young, John Jansen
Western Suburbs Magpies
76th season
Ground: Lidcombe Oval
Coach: Lenny Stacker
Captain: Warren Boland


Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1   Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 26 22 0 4 690 361 +329 44
2   Parramatta Eels 26 18 0 8 639 293 +346 36
3   Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 26 18 0 8 531 409 +122 36
4   Balmain Tigers 26 17 0 9 525 438 +87 34
5   St. George Dragons 26 14 1 11 551 450 +101 29
6   Eastern Suburbs Roosters 26 14 1 11 579 492 +87 29
7   North Sydney Bears 26 13 1 12 435 446 -11 27
8   South Sydney Rabbitohs 26 12 1 13 439 495 -56 25
9   Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 26 12 0 14 450 520 -70 24
10   Canberra Raiders 26 9 0 17 495 614 -119 18
11   Penrith Panthers 26 9 0 17 476 647 -171 18
12   Illawarra Steelers 26 8 0 18 451 644 -193 16
13   Newtown Jets 26 7 2 17 373 591 -218 16
14   Western Suburbs Magpies 26 5 2 19 394 628 -234 12


Home Score Away Match Information
Date and Time Venue Referee Crowd
  St. George Dragons 44-16   Eastern Suburbs Roosters 30 August 1983 Sydney Cricket Ground B. Barnes 17,981
Qualifying FInals
  Balmain Tigers 14-17   St. George Dragons 3 September 1983 Sydney Cricket Ground Kevin Roberts 24,652
  Parramatta Eels 30-22   Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 4 September 1983 Sydney Cricket Ground B. Barnes 22,311
Semi Finals
  Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 26-24   St. George Dragons 10 September 1983 Sydney Cricket Ground John Gocher 27,867
  Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 19-10   Parramatta Eels 11 September 1983 Sydney Cricket Ground Kevin Roberts 28,921
Preliminary Final
  Parramatta Eels 18-4   Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 18 September 1983 Sydney Cricket Ground Kevin Roberts 27,726
Grand Final
  Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 6-18   Parramatta Eels 25 September 1983 Sydney Cricket Ground Kevin Roberts 40,285

Grand FinalEdit

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Position Parramatta Eels
Graham Eadie FB Paul Taylor
John Ribot WG David Liddiard
Chris Close CE Mick Cronin
Phil Sigsworth CE Steve Ella
Kerry Boustead WG Eric Grothe
Alan Thompson (c) FE Brett Kenny
Phil Blake HB Peter Sterling
Ian Schubert LK Ray Price
Noel Cleal SR Steve Sharp
Paul Vautin SR Peter Wynn
Paul McCabe PR Paul Mares
Ray Brown HK Steve Edge (c)
Geoff Gerard PR Stan Jurd
Glenn Ryan Reserve Chris Phelan
Rick Chisholm Reserve Don Duffy
Michael Blake Reserve Mark Laurie
Reserve Gary Martine
Bob Fulton Coach Jack Gibson

Parramatta powered over Manly for the second year straight to claim their third successive title. The 18-6 win saw Brett Kenny claim a unique achievement in scoring two tries in three successive grand finals. Kenny opened the scoring and the Eels raced to a 10-0 lead after 13 minutes when Eric Grothe steamrolled burly Manly fullback Graham Eadie.

Parramatta 18 (Tries: Brett Kenny 2, Eric Grothe; Goals: Cronin 3)


Manly-Warringah 6 (Tries: Phil Sigsworth; Goals: Graham Eadie)


  1. ^ AFL Tables – Rugby League Crowds summary
  2. ^ Clarkson, Alan (21 September 1983). "Coach-of-year newcomer surprised by his voting rivals". the Sydney Morning Herald. Australia. p. 47. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
  3. ^ "History of the Premiership". centenaryofrugbyleague.com.au. Australian Rugby League. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2013.

External linksEdit