The 1968 New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership was the 61st season of professional rugby league football in Australia. Twelve teams, including six Sydney-based foundation teams and another six from around Sydney competed for the J J Giltinan Shield and the WD & HO Wills Cup during the season, which culminated in a grand final between South Sydney and Manly-Warringah.

1968 New South Wales Rugby Football League
Teams12
PremiersSouth Sydney colours.svg South Sydney (18th title)
Minor premiersSouth Sydney colours.svg South Sydney (14th title)
Matches played136
Points scored4027
Attendance1894627
Top points scorer(s)South Sydney colours.svg Eric Simms (212)
Player of the yearCronulla colours.svg Terry Hughes (Rothmans Medal)
Top try-scorer(s)St. George colours.svg Stan Gorton (22)

Season summaryEdit

The 1968 season's Rothmans Medallist was Cronulla-Sutherland's Terry Hughes.

The Balmain club narrowly missed out on a place in the top four, which was made up of South Sydney, Manly-Warringah, St. George and Eastern Suburbs.

TeamsEdit

Balmain
61st season
Ground: Leichhardt Oval
Captain-Coach: Keith Barnes
Canterbury-Bankstown
34th season
Ground: Belmore Sports Ground
Captain-coach: Kevin Ryan
Cronulla-Sutherland
2nd season
Ground: Endeavour Field
Coach: Ken Kearney
Captain: Warren Ryan
Eastern Suburbs
61st season
Ground: Sydney Sports Ground
Coach: Jack Gibson
Captain: Jim Matthews
Manly-Warringah
22nd season
Ground: Brookvale Oval
Coach: George Hunter
Captain: Bob Fulton
Newtown
61st season
Ground: Henson Park
Coach: Dick Poole
Captain: Bobby Keyes
North Sydney
61st season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Captain-coach: Colin Greenwood
Parramatta
22nd season
Ground: Cumberland Oval
Coach: Ian Johnston
Captain: Dick Thornett
Penrith
2nd season
Ground: Penrith Park
Captain-Coach: Bob Boland
South Sydney
61st season
Ground: Redfern Oval
Coach: Clive Churchill
Captain: John Sattler
St. George
48th season
Ground: Jubilee Oval
Coach: Norm Provan
Captain: Johnny Raper
Western Suburbs
61st season
Ground: Lidcombe Oval
Captain-coach: Noel Kelly

LadderEdit

Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1   South Sydney Rabbitohs 22 16 0 6 394 271 +123 32
2   Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 22 15 1 6 379 282 +97 31
3   St. George Dragons 22 13 3 6 416 320 +96 29
4   Eastern Suburbs Roosters 22 14 1 7 362 274 +88 29
5   Balmain Tigers 22 14 0 8 393 284 +109 28
6   Parramatta 22 12 1 9 308 284 +24 25
7   Western Suburbs Magpies 22 12 0 10 328 279 +49 24
8   Penrith Panthers 22 11 0 11 298 352 -54 22
9   Canterbury-Bankstown 22 9 1 12 259 301 -42 19
10   Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 22 6 0 16 259 405 -146 12
11   North Sydney Bears 22 4 0 18 259 388 -129 8
12   Newtown 22 2 1 19 257 472 -215 5

FinalsEdit

Home Score Away Match Information
Date and Time Venue Referee Crowd
Semi Finals
  St. George Dragons 17 - 10   Eastern Suburbs Roosters 31 August 1968 Sydney Cricket Ground Col Pearce 49,747
  South Sydney Rabbitohs 15 - 23   Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 7 September 1968 Sydney Cricket Ground Col Pearce 49,128
Preliminary Final
  South Sydney Rabbitohs 20 - 8   St. George Dragons 14 September 1968 Sydney Cricket Ground Col Pearce 44,803
Grand Final
  Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 9 - 13   South Sydney Rabbitohs 21 September 1968 Sydney Cricket Ground Col Pearce 54,255

Grand FinalEdit

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Position South Sydney Rabbitohs
Bob Batty FB Eric Simms
Michael McLean WG Michael Cleary
Alec Tennant CE Bob Honan
Frank Stanton CE Arthur Branighan
Les Hanigan WG Brian James
Bob Fulton (c) FE Denis Pittard
Denis Ward HB Bob Grant
Bill Hamilton PR Jim Morgan
Fred Jones HK Elwyn Walters
Norm Pounder PR John O'Neill
David Knox SR John Sattler (c)
John Morgan SR Bob Moses
Bill Bradstreet LK Ron Coote
S. Williams Res. Paul Sait
George Hunter Coach Clive Churchill

Manly was making its fourth ever Grand Final appearance and still looking for its first title. 21-year-old captain Bob Fulton led a young Sea Eagles side, while Souths was skippered by John Sattler who that season had been honoured as "Catholic Sportsman of the Year". Neither team lineup had any players older than 29 years of age. The depth of the Souths line-up was indicated by the fact that it’s stars Kevin Longbottom, Bob McCarthy and Ray Branighan were all named and played in the Rabbitohs' reserve grade side which ominously won its grand final match-up also against Manly.

The first-grade match began furiously with the toughening-up period resulting in four cautions by referee Pearce in the first four minutes. Ron Coote clashed with Bill Bradstreet and the opposing giants Hamilton and John O'Neill also measured up. Souths, with a strong breeze at its back, was the first to score when Michael Cleary intercepted a pass meant for Manly winger Les Hanigan and raced 80 yards to score. Simms punished Manly with a conversion and three successful penalty goals in the first half and at the break Souths led 11-2.

The Sea Eagles refused to lay down and mid-way through the second half second-rower John Morgan crashed over for a try which was converted by Bob Batty. Then a Bob Fulton field goal with fourteen minutes left brought Manly within reach. But despite the Manly fightback Souths was too resilient and hung on to win its second successive premiership and the club's 18th title.

South Sydney 13 (Tries: Cleary. Goals: Simms 5.)

Manly-Warringah 9 (Tries: Morgan. Goals: Batty 2. Fld Goals: Fulton 1.)

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit