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The 1915 New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership was the eighth season of Sydney’s top-grade rugby league football club competition, Australia’s first. Eight teams from across the city contested during the season, with the Balmain club finishing on top of the ladder to claim the premiership.[1]

1915 New South Wales Rugby Football League
PremiersBalmain colours.svg Balmain (1st title)
Minor premiersBalmain colours.svg Balmain (1st title)
Matches played56
Points scored1308
Top points scorer(s)Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Wally Messenger (73)
Top try-scorer(s)Glebe colours.svg Frank Burge (20)

Season summaryEdit

Even though World War I had broken out across Europe and many players were unavailable, there was a general consensus amongst the public that the rugby league premiership continue. On 8 May in good weather the first matches were played between the eventual top four clubs: In front of a record crowd of 13,000 Glebe defeated defending premiers Easts at the SCG, and at Wentworth Oval Balmain drew 11–all with Newtown.[2] Midway through the season, three clubs had clearly broken ahead of the others: Balmain, Glebe and South Sydney. With South Sydney falling away in the second half of the season, Balmain and Glebe became the two remaining contenders for the title, and they clashed with four rounds to play. In front of 20,000 people, the two clubs played out a memorable match at the Sydney Sports Ground, where Balmain eventually prevailed 12–2 on a cold, rainy day. Balmain were assured their first premiership without the need for a playoff after their close last-round win over South Sydney 7–4.

Balmain went through 1915 undefeated – a feat achieved by only five other teams since. They won the premiership in all three grades. Members of the Balmain first-grade premiership winning side included Bob Craig, Bill Schultz and E. Burnicle.

In 1915, the NSWRFL lost its first ever full-time Secretary Edward Larkin when he was killed in fighting at Gallipoli on 25 April.


The teams remained unchanged from the 1914 season.

6th season
Ground: Wentworth Park
Captain: Robert Stuart
8th season
Ground: Birchgrove Oval
Captain-coach: Bill Kelly
Eastern Suburbs
8th season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Captain: Sandy Pearce
8th season
Ground: Wentworth Park
Captain: Frank Burge
8th season
Ground: Erskineville Oval, Sydney
Captain: Paddy McCue
North Sydney
8th season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Coach: Denis Lutge
Captain: Con Sullivan
South Sydney
8th season
Ground: RAS Showground
Coach: Arthur Hennessy
Captain: Arthur Butler
Western Suburbs
8th season
Ground: St Lukes Oval
Captain: Tedda Courtney


The geographical locations of the teams that contested the 1915 premiership across Sydney.
Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1   Balmain 14 12 2 0 232 71 +161 26
2   Glebe 14 12 0 2 268 106 +162 24
3   Newtown 14 9 1 4 208 119 +89 19
4   South Sydney 14 8 1 5 157 94 +63 17
5   Eastern Suburbs 14 6 0 8 180 109 +71 12
6   Annandale 14 3 0 11 113 256 -143 6
7   Western Suburbs 14 2 0 12 67 200 -133 4
8   North Sydney 14 2 0 12 83 353 -270 4


  1. ^ Premiership Roll of Honour Archived 2011-05-14 at the Wayback Machine at
  2. ^ Haddan, Stephen (1991). History of the NSW Rugby League Finals. Australia. p. 26. Retrieved 13 July 2014.

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