The 1936 New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership was the twenty-ninth season of Sydney’s top-level rugby league football club competition, Australia’s first. Nine teams from across the city contested the premiership during the season, which lasted from April until September, and culminated in Eastern Suburbs’ victory over Balmain in the final.[1]

1936 New South Wales Rugby Football League
PremiersEastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs (6th title)
Minor premiersEastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs (7th title)
Matches played63
Points scored1956
Top points scorer(s)Balmain colours.svg Syd Christensen (123)
Top try-scorer(s)Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Fred Tottey (25)

Season summaryEdit

In round 14 of the University club ended a losing streak which had begun round 2, 1934 and marked the most consecutive losses in NSWRL/NRL premiership history at 42. Eastern Suburbs went through 1936 undefeated – a feat achieved by teams in only five other seasons before or since.

The first premiership game of Rugby League at Henson Park was played on 1 April 1936, when Newtown defeated University 20–0.

For the first time since 1919 and only the second since the competition began South Sydney lost more games than it won.[2]


29th season
Ground: Leichhardt Oval
Coach: Joe Busch
Captain: Syd Christensen
2nd season
Ground: Belmore Sports Ground
Coach: Frank Burge
Captain: Alan Brady
Eastern Suburbs
29th season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Coach: Arthur Halloway
Captain: Dave Brown
29th season
Ground: Henson Park
Coach: Bill Kelly
Captain: Hans Mork
North Sydney
29th season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Coach: Jim Craig
Captain: Rex Harrison
South Sydney
29th season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Coach: Dave Watson
Captain: Eric Lewis
St. George
16th season
Ground: Earl Park
Coach: Arthur Justice / Eddie Root
Captain: Eddie Root
17th Season
Coach: Bob Williams
Captain: Leo Reddy
Western Suburbs
29th season
Ground: Pratten Park
Coach: Frank McMillan
Captain: Cliff Pearce


The geographical locations of the teams that contested the 1936 premiership across Sydney.
Team Pld W D L B PF PA PD Pts
1   Eastern Suburbs 13 11 2 0 2 335 145 +190 28
2   Balmain 13 9 0 4 2 268 161 +107 22
3   Canterbury 14 9 2 3 1 345 243 +102 22
4   North Sydney 13 7 1 5 2 210 161 +49 19
5   Newtown 14 7 0 7 1 203 226 -23 16
6   Western Suburbs 13 5 1 7 2 199 203 -4 15
7   South Sydney 13 5 0 8 2 187 185 +2 14
8   St. George 13 3 0 10 2 141 228 -87 10
9   Sydney University 14 1 0 13 1 99 414 -315 4


In the two semi finals, the top two ranked teams Eastern Suburbs and Balmain beat their lower-ranked opponents North Sydney and Canterbury-Bankstown. Eastern Suburbs and Balmain then played off for the premiership in the Final.

September 1936 - Sports Ground
  Balmain 16
12 September 1936 - Sports Ground
  North Sydney 3
  Eastern Suburbs 32
September 1936 - Sports Ground
  Balmain 12
  Eastern Suburbs 25
  Canterbury-Bankstown 13

Premiership FinalEdit

Balmain Position Eastern Suburbs
Frank Johnston FB Tom Dowling
Sid Goodwin WG Rod O'Loan
Gus Reeves CE Dave Brown (c)
Eddie Lockhart CE Jack Lynch
Jack Redman WG Fred Tottey
Syd Christensen (c) FE Ernie Norman
Tom Grahame HB Viv Thicknesse
Dave Manning PR Jack Coote
Bill Alexander HK Tom McLachlan
Frank Griffiths PR Ray Stehr
Billy Johnson SR Harry Pierce
Edmund Beaver SR Joe Pearce
Roy Palmer LK Andy Norval
Joe Busch Coach Arthur Halloway

In front of a crowd of 14,395 at the Sydney Cricket Ground Easts were vying for back-to-back premierships and took on Balmain.

The match, officiated by referee Lal Deane was tight in the first half with a scoreline favouring Easts 8–6 at the break. In the second half Easts ran away with the game, scoring eight tries all up to Balmain's two.

The game marked the end of sterling career for champion Tiger and former international halfback Joe “Chimpy” Busch, and was a suitable farewell for the Roosters’ captain and star, Dave Brown, who headed to the English club Warrington for two years, so that he did not play for the Tricolours during the 1937 and 1938 seasons.

Eastern Suburbs 32 (Tries: Fred Tottey 2, Rod O’Loan, Dave Brown, Ray Stehr, Ernie Norman, Jack Lynch, Andy Norval. Goals: Jack Lynch 2, Dave Brown 2 )


Balmain 12 (Tries: Frank Griffiths, Sid Goodwin. Goals: Sid Christensen 2, Bill Johnson)


External linksEdit