1972 NSWRFL season
The 1972 New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership was the 65th season of Sydney's professional rugby league football competition, Australia's first. Twelve teams, including six of 1908's foundation clubs and another six from across Sydney, competed for the J. J. Giltinan Shield during the season, which culminated in a grand final match between the Manly-Warringah and Eastern Suburbs clubs.
|1972 New South Wales Rugby Football League|
|Premiers||Manly-Warringah (1st title)|
|Minor premiers||Manly-Warringah (2nd title)|
|Top points scorer(s)||Allan McKean (220)|
|Player of the year||Tommy Raudonikis (Rothmans Medal)|
|Top try-scorer(s)||Bob Fulton (19)|
This season, for the first time since 1966, Souths would fail to reach the grand final.
Following the grand final, several players travelled to France to represent Australia in the 1972 Rugby League World Cup.
|1||Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles||22||18||1||3||460||255||+205||37|
|2||Eastern Suburbs Roosters||22||17||1||4||514||297||+217||35|
|3||St. George Dragons||22||16||2||4||398||221||+177||34|
|4||South Sydney Rabbitohs||22||14||0||8||456||331||+125||28|
|7||Western Suburbs Magpies||22||8||1||13||367||398||-31||17|
|9||North Sydney Bears||22||7||1||14||320||405||-85||15|
|Date and Time||Venue||Referee||Crowd|
|St. George||14-10||South Sydney||26 August 1972||Sydney Cricket Ground||Keith Page||47,945|
|Manly-Warringah||32-8||Eastern Suburbs||2 September 1972||Sydney Cricket Ground||Keith Page||43,695|
|Eastern Suburbs||8-6||St. George||9 September 1972||Sydney Cricket Ground||Keith Page||41,313|
|Manly-Warringah||19-14||Eastern Suburbs||16 September 1972||Sydney Cricket Ground||Keith Page||54,537|
|Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles||Position||Eastern Suburbs Roosters|
|Graham Eadie||FB||Allan McKean|
|Ken Irvine||WG||Jim Porter|
|Ray Branighan||CE||Harry Cameron|
|Bob Fulton||CE||Mark Harris|
|Max Brown||WG||Bill Mullins|
|Ian Martin||FE||John Ballesty|
|Dennis Ward||HB||Kevin Junee|
|Bill Hamilton||PR||John Armstrong|
|Fred Jones (c)||HK||Peter Moscatt|
|John O'Neill||PR||Arthur Beetson|
|Allan Thomson||SR||Greg Bandiera|
|Terry Randall||SR||John Quayle|
|Mal Reilly||LK||Ron Coote (c)|
|Ron Willey||Coach||Don Furner|
In a controversial match, the Sea-Eagles downed the Eastern Suburbs Roosters 19 to 14, thus shedding their 'bridesmaids' tag. The Roosters were highly critical of referee Keith Page after the match, claiming both of Manly's tries shouldn't have been awarded. To add to their rage, Easts crossed for 2 tries that were disallowed.
A dour first half saw the teams go to the break at 4-all, before a try by hooker Fred Jones put Manly ahead. Jones appeared to drop the ball as he attempted to ground it, but was awarded the try nonetheless. For his part Jones contends that he did place the ball with downward pressure. Midway through the second half, controversy flared again when Manly centre Ray Branighan appeared to stop over the Eastern Suburbs try line after accepting what looked like a forward pass from prop Bill Hamilton. However, referee Page allowed it and the Manly fans began celebrating, knowing that at 19-4 their first premiership victory was assured. Although Easts fought back with two late tries to John Ballesty and Bill Mullins and brought the score to 19-14, time ran out for the Roosters and Manly had won their first ever premiership in first grade.
In the end, it was Manly's part-time goal kicker Ray Branighan who proved the difference, kicking 6 goals from 8 attempts.
Man of the Match: Dennis Ward (Manly).
Referee: Keith Page