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New South Wales Rugby League premiership

The New South Wales Rugby League premiership was the first rugby league football club competition established in Australia and contributor to today's National Rugby League. Run by the New South Wales Rugby League (initially named the New South Wales Rugby Football League) from 1908 until 1994, the premiership was the state's elite rugby league competition.

NSWRL Premiership
SportRugby league
Inaugural season1908
Ceased1994
Replaced bySuper League
ARL Premiership
HoldersCanberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders (3rd title)
Most titlesSouth Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs (21 titles)
Related competitionWinfield Cup

For most of the premiership's history it was contested by clubs from the state of New South Wales only, but later attempted to grow into a nationwide competition, eventually leading to the competition being played under the auspices of the Australian Rugby League in 1995. Despite this name, the 1995 and 1996 Australian Rugby League Premierships competitions were still administered by the Board and staff of the New South Wales Rugby League.

Contents

HistoryEdit

1908: Rugby league premiership in SydneyEdit

The inaugural New South Wales Rugby Football League (NSWRFL) premiership began in 1908, and was made up of eight Sydney-based teams and one team from Newcastle. Cumberland joined the competition after the first round, meaning that they played one game fewer than the rest of the field for the season. Still known as the "foundation clubs" today, these nine teams battled against one another during the 1908 season, with South Sydney taking the first premiership honours after beating Eastern Suburbs in the Final.

Club Traditional Colours Years Contested Matches [1] Seasons
Played Won Drew Lost Win/Loss Played Premiers Minor Premiers Runners-Up
Balmain   1908 - 1999 1705 871 68 766 53.08% 92 11 7 9
Cumberland   1908 8 1 0 7 12.50% 1 0 0 0
Eastern Suburbs   1908 - current 1880 995 67 818 54.71% 107 13 18 15
Glebe   1908 - 1929 297 163 6 128 55.89% 22 0 1 4
Newcastle   1908 - 1909 20 9 0 11 45.00% 2 0 0 0
Newtown   1908 - 1983 1305 583 59 663 46.93% 76 3 6 7
North Sydney   1908 - 1999 1665 678 71 916 42.85% 92 2 2 1
South Sydney   1908 - 1999
2002 - current
1813 940 45 828 53.09% 105 21 17 13
Western Suburbs   1908 - 1999 1691 734 49 908 44.86% 92 4 5 8

1909 - 1994: Expansion of the premiershipEdit

Between 1912 and 1925 the premiers were decided by first past the post. As a result of South Sydney's dominant 1925 season, the NSWRFL introduced a finals system in order to maintain interest in the competition.[2]

Over the decades since the NSWRFL competition started, Sydney suburban teams came and went throughout its history but it was not until 1982 that the competition saw significant expansion outside of the Sydney area. The two new inclusions were from the Australian Capital Territory - the Canberra Raiders - as well as a team from the southern New South Wales region - the Illawarra Steelers. This corresponded with the adoption of commercial sponsorship of the competition for the first time, seeing it become the Winfield Cup (named after the popular cigarette brand).

The NSWRFL had also commenced a very popular and successful mid-week competition in 1973, originally known as the Amco Cup, but also as the Tooth Cup and the National Panasonic Cup. The success of this competition, which included teams from both Brisbane and New Zealand ultimately created pressure for further expansion of the NSWRL competition. In 1984, the New South Wales Rugby Football League changed its name to New South Wales Rugby League.

In 1988, for the very first time, two Queensland teams joined the competition, with the inclusions of the Brisbane Broncos and the Gold Coast-Tweed Giants. This saw the premiership competition move beyond the outer borders of New South Wales. At the same time, as a result of mounting pressure from the central coast of New South Wales, a Newcastle franchise was returned to the competition. Their return saw the end of an 86-year wait in the wilderness and this time around the team was badged the Newcastle Knights.

Club Traditional Colours Years Contested Matches [1] Seasons
Played Won Drew Lost Win/Loss Played Premiers Minor Premiers Runners-Up
Annandale   1910 - 1920 153 25 6 122 18.30% 11 0 0 0
University   1920 - 1937 242 47 5 190 20.45% 18 0 0 1
St. George   1921 - 1998 1545 910 56 579 60.71% 78 15 15 12
Canterbury-Bankstown   1935 - current 1502 778 53 671 53.56% 71 8 6 8
Manly-Warringah   1947 - 1999
2003 - current
1261 719 35 507 58.41% 56 7 9 10
Parramatta   1947 - current 1321 608 38 675 47.46% 59 4 5 4
Cronulla-Sutherland   1967 - current 932 456 22 454 50.11% 39 0 2 3
Penrith   1967 - current 917 379 26 512 42.75% 39 2 2 1
Illawarra   1982 - 1998 396 153 13 230 40.28% 17 0 0 0
Canberra   1982 - current 606 323 9 274 54.04% 24 3 1 2
Brisbane   1988 - current 457 299 11 147 66.63% 18 5 4 0
Newcastle   1988 - current 446 234 14 198 54.04% 18 2 0 0
Gold Coast   1988 - 1998 246 53 9 184 23.37% 11 0 0 0

After mostly solid results were obtained by the expansion teams in 1988, there was increasing pressure for new inclusions into the competition. Having decided in May 1992 that a team from Auckland would join the premiership in 1995, the League announced in November that three more new clubs — a second team from Brisbane, and also a team each from Perth and Townsville — will also be invited.

In 1995, some seven years later, the competition expanded further into Queensland, with the inception of the South Queensland Crushers and the North Queensland Cowboys. 1995 also saw a new team in Western Australia, the 'Western Reds', later called the Perth Reds, as well as a New Zealand-based team - the Auckland Warriors. The total number of teams in the competition was now twenty - the largest-scale rugby league competition ever in Australia. The premiership's new national outlook was further reflected in the governing body's name, with the New South Wales Rugby League transferring control of the competition to the Australian Rugby League (ARL).

PremiersEdit

Between 1912 and 1925 there was no semi-final system and a final was only played if two clubs finished level at the conclusion of the Minor Premiership. Souths won the 1909 premiership when Balmain forfeited in protest against the final being played as a preliminary match before a promotional game between the national Rugby League and Rugby Union sides. The 1937 season also featured no finals as the year was disrupted by the Kangaroos tour. Between 1926 and 1953 first played third and second played fourth and winners played off. If the minor premiers were defeated they had a right of challenge, but if they were not defeated there was no true "grand final."

From 1954 a mandatory grand final was introduced in which there was a knockout minor semi-final between third and fourth and a second-chance major semi between first and second. The winner of the major semi went to the grand final and a preliminary final was played between the winner of the minor semi and the loser of the major semi to decide who would meet the winner of the major semi.

In 1973 a final five was devised with the top team going straight into the major semi, the second and third teams playing a major preliminary semi, and the fourth and fifth playing a sudden-death minor preliminary semi. The top team played the winner of the major preliminary semi-final, whilst the winner of the minor preliminary semi played the loser of the major preliminary semi in the minor semi-final (which was played as before under the final four system.

 
Past winners of the NSWRL Premiership
Season
Champions Score Runners-up
1908   South Sydney
14-12
  Eastern Suburbs
1909   South Sydney forfeit   Balmain
1910   Newtown 4-4   South Sydney
1911   Eastern Suburbs 11-8   Glebe
1912   Eastern Suburbs
N/A
1913   Eastern Suburbs
1914   South Sydney
1915   Balmain
1916   Balmain 5-3   South Sydney   Balmain
1917   Balmain   Balmain
1918   South Sydney   South Sydney
1919   Balmain   Balmain
1920   Balmain   Balmain
1921   North Sydney   North Sydney
1922   North Sydney 35-3   Glebe   North Sydney
1923   Eastern Suburbs 15-12   South Sydney   Eastern Suburbs
1924   Balmain 3-0   South Sydney   Balmain
1925   South Sydney   South Sydney
1926   South Sydney 11-5   University   South Sydney
1927   South Sydney 20-11   St. George   South Sydney
1928   South Sydney 26-5   Eastern Suburbs   St. George
1929   South Sydney 30-10   Newtown   South Sydney
1930   Western Suburbs 27-2   St. George   Western Suburbs
1931   South Sydney 12-7   Eastern Suburbs   Eastern Suburbs
1932   South Sydney 19-12   Western Suburbs   South Sydney
1933   Newtown 18-5   St. George   Newtown
1934   Western Suburbs 15-2   Eastern Suburbs   Eastern Suburbs
1935   Eastern Suburbs 19-3   South Sydney   Eastern Suburbs
1936   Eastern Suburbs 32-12   Balmain   Eastern Suburbs
1937   Eastern Suburbs   Eastern Suburbs
1938   Canterbury-Bankstown 19-6   Eastern Suburbs   Canterbury-Bankstown
1939   Balmain 33-4   South Sydney   Balmain
1940   Eastern Suburbs 24-14   Canterbury-Bankstown   Eastern Suburbs
1941   St. George 31-14   Eastern Suburbs   Eastern Suburbs
1942   Canterbury-Bankstown 11-9   St. George   Canterbury-Bankstown
1943   Newtown 34-7   North Sydney   Newtown
1944   Balmain 12-8   Newtown   Newtown
1945   Eastern Suburbs 22-18   Balmain   Eastern Suburbs
1946   Balmain 13-12   St. George   St. George
1947   Balmain 13-9   Canterbury-Bankstown   Canterbury-Bankstown
1948   Western Suburbs 8-5   Balmain   Western Suburbs
1949   St. George 19-12   South Sydney   South Sydney
1950   South Sydney 21-15   Western Suburbs   South Sydney
1951   South Sydney 42-14   Manly-Warringah   South Sydney
1952   Western Suburbs 22-12   South Sydney   Western Suburbs
1953   South Sydney 31-12   St. George   South Sydney
1954   South Sydney 23-15   Newtown   Newtown
1955   South Sydney 12-11   Newtown   Newtown
1956   St. George 18-12   Balmain   St. George
1957   St. George 31-9   Manly-Warringah   St. George
1958   St. George 20-9   Western Suburbs   St. George
1959   St. George 20-0   Manly-Warringah   St. George
1960   St. George 31-6   Eastern Suburbs   St. George
1961   St. George 22-0   Western Suburbs   Western Suburbs
1962   St. George 9-6   Western Suburbs   St. George
1963   St. George 8-3   Western Suburbs   St. George
1964   St. George 11-6   Balmain   St. George
1965   St. George 12-8   South Sydney   St. George
1966   St. George 23-4   Balmain   St. George
1967   South Sydney 12-10   Canterbury-Bankstown   St. George
1968   South Sydney 13-9   Manly-Warringah   South Sydney
1969   Balmain 11-2   South Sydney   South Sydney
1970   South Sydney 23-12   Manly-Warringah   South Sydney
1971   South Sydney 16-10   St. George   Manly-Warringah
1972   Manly-Warringah 19-14   Eastern Suburbs   Manly-Warringah
1973   Manly-Warringah 10-7   Cronulla-Sutherland   Manly-Warringah
1974   Eastern Suburbs 19-4   Canterbury-Bankstown   Eastern Suburbs
1975   Eastern Suburbs 38-0   St. George   Eastern Suburbs
1976   Manly-Warringah 13-10   Parramatta   Manly-Warringah
1977   St. George 9-9
22-0
  Parramatta   Parramatta
1978   Manly-Warringah 11-11
16-0
  Cronulla-Sutherland   Western Suburbs
1979   St. George 17-13   Canterbury-Bankstown   St. George
1980   Canterbury-Bankstown 18-4   Eastern Suburbs   Eastern Suburbs
1981   Parramatta 20-11   Newtown   Eastern Suburbs
1982   Parramatta 21-8   Manly-Warringah   Parramatta
1983   Parramatta 18-6   Manly-Warringah   Manly-Warringah
1984   Canterbury-Bankstown 6-4   Parramatta   Canterbury-Bankstown
1985   Canterbury-Bankstown 7-6   St. George   St. George
1986   Parramatta 4-2   Canterbury-Bankstown   Parramatta
1987   Manly-Warringah 18-8   Canberra   Manly-Warringah
1988   Canterbury-Bankstown 24-12   Balmain   Cronulla-Sutherland
1989   Canberra 19-14   Balmain   South Sydney
1990   Canberra 18-14   Penrith   Canberra
1991   Penrith 19-12   Canberra   Penrith
1992   Brisbane 28-8   St. George   Brisbane
1993   Brisbane 14-6   St. George   Canterbury-Bankstown
1994   Canberra 36-12   Canterbury-Bankstown   Canterbury-Bankstown
  • 1909: Balmain refused to play the final in protest to the game being held as a curtain-raiser to a Kangaroos v Wallabies match. Souths played, kicked off, scored & were declared premiers. Many contend though that a 'gentlemans agreement' was reached to postpone the game to the following weekend - and the action undertaken by Souths in starting the match sparked a fierce and bitter rivalry between the clubs that continued for many decades.
  • 1910: Top two played off for the title. In the event of a drawn match, the superior record during the season secured the title, Newtown had compiled 23 competition points, Souths 22.
  • 1977-78: Drawn games requiring a replay.
  • 1989: The score was tied 14 all at normal full-time - extra time was played to decide the winner.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Rugby League Tables / Win-Loss Records / All Teams Archived 11 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine, As of Round 10, 2006,
  2. ^ Middleton, David (30 September 2013). "Ten of the most dominant seasons in rugby league history from historian David Middleton". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 February 2014.

External linksEdit