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The 1923 New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership was the sixteenth season of Sydney’s top-level rugby league club competition, Australia’s first. Nine teams from across the city contested during the season which culminated in Eastern Suburbs’ victory over South Sydney in the premiership final.[1] This season would be the last season that future Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame inductee Duncan Thompson played in, for he returned to Toowoomba after a dispute with North Sydney.

1923 New South Wales Rugby Football League
PremiersEastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs (4th title)
Minor premiersEastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs (3rd title)
Matches played73
Points scored1862
Top points scorer(s)Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Arthur Oxford (113)
Top try-scorer(s)North Sydney colours.svg Herman Peters (16)


16th season
Ground: Birchgrove Oval
Captain-Coach: Charles Fraser
Eastern Suburbs
16th season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Coach: Ray Norman
Captain: Harry Caples
16th season
Ground: Wentworth Park
Captain-Coach: Frank Burge
16th season
Ground: Marrickville Oval
Coach: Arthur Halloway & Albert Johnston
Captain: Alex Bolewski
North Sydney
16th season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Captain: Duncan Thompson
St. George
3rd season
Ground: Hurstville Oval
Coach: Herb Gilbert
Captain: Clarrie Tye
South Sydney
16th season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Captain-Coach: Bill Gillespie
4th season
Coach: Bill Kelly
Captain: Hubert Finn
Western Suburbs
16th season
Ground: Pratten Park
Captain-Coach: Tedda Courtney


The geographical locations of the foundation teams across Sydney.
Team Pld W D L B PF PA PD Pts
1   Eastern Suburbs 16 13 0 3 2 235 124 +111 30
2   South Sydney 16 13 0 3 2 242 173 +69 30
3   Balmain 16 10 1 5 2 247 136 +111 25
4   Western Suburbs 16 9 0 7 2 257 218 +39 22
5   North Sydney 16 8 0 8 2 245 223 +22 20
6   Glebe 16 6 0 10 2 160 193 -33 16
7   St. George 16 5 0 11 2 168 236 -68 14
8   Newtown 16 4 2 10 2 161 297 -136 14
9   Sydney University 16 2 1 13 2 120 235 -115 9


The top two sides, Eastern Suburbs and South Sydney, tied on equal points at the end of the season. Eastern Suburbs had previously been leading South Sydney by two premiership points coming into the final round of the year, only to lose to third-placed Balmain by one point in front of 14,000 people in their final match. South Sydney on the other hand won their final match against North Sydney to finish level on top of the ladder.

Premiership finalEdit

Eastern Suburbs Position South Sydney
Ed Rigney FB Howard Hallett
Cyril Abotomey WG Benny Wearing
Jack Dawson CE Tom Barry
Les Steel CE Vic Lawrence
George Agar WG Oscar Quinlivan
Harry Caples (c) FE Bill Gillespie (c)
Sid Kaufman HB Alec Johnson
Arthur Oxford PR David Watson
Bill Richards HK Pat Murphy
Tom Molloy PR Perce Horne
Bill Ives SR Ern Wilmot
Harold Holmes SR Alf O'Connor
Jack Watkins LK Jack Lawrence
Edward Connerton Res. -
Ray Norman Coach

A final, the second in as many seasons, was played between Eastern Suburbs and South Sydney the following Wednesday 12 September at the Sydney Cricket Ground, attracting a crowd of 15,000 people. With referee Tom McMahon officiating Eastern Suburbs prevailed winners 15-12 and claimed their first premiership since 1913.

Eastern Suburbs 15 (Tries: Caples 2, Steel. Goals: Oxford 3)

South Sydney 12 (Tries: Wearing 2. Goals: Wearing 3)


  1. ^ Premiership Roll of Honour Archived 2011-05-14 at the Wayback Machine at

External linksEdit