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The Shute Shield is a rugby union competition in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is the premier grade club tournament in NSW rugby. The Shute Shield is awarded at the end of the Sydney Club Rugby season to the team that wins the Grand Final.
Logo introduced for the 2015 season
|No. of teams||11|
Club-based rugby football began some time before 1865. The Sydney University Football Club began in 1863 (although this date is questioned by some historians) and is the oldest existing football club outside the British Isles. The first recorded rugby season in Australia was in 1865 with Sydney University, Sydney Football Club and the Australian Club reported as playing games.
On 24 June 1874, a meeting was held between ten prominent football clubs to create a governing body to administer the game within New South Wales. The Southern Rugby Football Union was formed. The first task of the Union was to decide on a set of rules for all clubs to adhere to. Clubs were given "senior" or "junior" status which could change from season to season. Although a governing body had now been formed, there was no centrally controlled competition until many years later.
The Sydney Rugby PremiershipEdit
Initially, a competition was loosely arranged by the Union where the clubs were in charge of organising their own matches. This would result in clubs not playing the same teams or the same number of teams. A "Premier Club of the Colony" was declared by the Union at an end of year meeting. It was not necessarily given to the team that had the best results on the field. Results mattered, but other criteria may have also been used. What these were are not known.
The year 1880 saw the Southern Rugby Football Union endure the first splintering of the football code in Australia. It was during this season that a newspaper "war" began. Discussions centred around the merits of Rugby Football, British Association Football (Soccer) and the Victorian game (Aussie Rules Football). As a result of these heated discussions, an association was formed under the Victorian rules with two strong clubs formed to play the game. No sooner than the dust had settled and another association was formed under the British Association rules. Despite this new competition, Rugby Football held sway as the premier code in Sydney.
In 1883, the Gardiner Challenge Cup was introduced with a mixture of "senior" and "junior" clubs competing. Foundation clubs included Redfern, Sydney University, Wallaroo, Newtown, Burwood, Oriental, Glebe, Balmain, St. Leonards, Parramatta, Arfoma and Paddington. The first Cup was won by Redfern who were undefeated. At the beginning of the season, a proposal was put to the Southern Rugby Union to change the rules determining how a game was decided. Prior to the 1883 season, a game was decided by the number of goals scored. The amendment that was successfully passed by the Union declared that games would be decided by number of points scored. A try was awarded 2 points, a conversion was 3 points and a goal kicked from the field of play 4 points.
Within a few years of the Gardiner Cup beginning, the Premiership had developed to become a more structured competition with a centralised list of fixtures and rounds. An official ladder was produced and maintained with points given for wins, draws and byes. By the 1890s a finals system was introduced to assist in determining the premiership winner.
The Sydney Rugby Premiership came under the control of the Metropolitan Rugby Union, a branch of the New South Wales Rugby Football Union (formally the Southern Rugby Football Union), in 1897.
The District CompetitionEdit
As early as 1893 it had been suggested to change the current structure of the premiership to a district-based formula. In early 1900, a meeting of the Metropolitan Rugby Union was held and a recommendation to establish district football in the coming season was made. Eight clubs competed in the inaugural season: Balmain, Glebe, Newtown, South Sydney, North Sydney, Western Suburbs, Eastern Suburbs and Sydney University. The first district competition was won by Glebe who were successful in all three grade competitions.
It was during this period, in 1907, that the supremacy of the Sydney Rugby Premiership was threatened. The imminent arrival of a professional football team from New Zealand sparked heated discussion about professionalism and compensation pay for lost time at work. In August of that year, the New South Wales Rugby Football League was formed. During the following season, a professional league competition was begun. Over the next few years, players switched across to the professional competition resulting in crowd numbers falling at Union matches.
Despite this, the district competition continued to run, rebuilding its supporter base, until the outbreak of World War 1 with the last season held during 1914. With the outbreak of war, competition was suspended.
The Return of the PremiershipEdit
At the conclusion of the war, the Sydney Rugby Premiership was recommenced. With the competition returning under the control of the NSW Rugby Football Union, only six clubs competed: Cambridge, Eastern Suburbs, Glebe-Balmain, Manly, Sydney University and YMCA. The competition remained as a district-based premiership until approximately the 1940s.
The Shute ShieldEdit
The Shute Memorial Shield was struck in honour of the late Robert Elliott Stewart Shute, who died on 6 June 1922 aged 23, following a match at Manly Oval. Shute served as an infantryman in 30th Battery A.I.F. during World War One. On his return to Australia he took up his studies at the University of Sydney and joined the Sydney University rugby club as a front row forward in the first XV. The Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 7 June 1922 reported:
As a result of injuries received while playing at Manly in the Rugby football match between the team which toured New Zealand and the Next 15, Robert Elliott Shute, a front row forward in the latter team, died at a private hospital at Manly yesterday morning. The accident occurred during the latter portion of the first spell of the match. Shute secured the ball and when tackled fell heavily. He was removed to a private hospital, where it was ascertained that he was suffering from cerebral hemorrhage. Without recovering consciousness he died at 6am. A former pupil of Sydney Grammar School, Shute, who was 23 years of age, was a third year student at Sydney University and he played for the University first fifteen. He served in the AIF for four years.
The University club had the shield made following his death and donated it in 1923 to the NSWRFU to be used as a perpetual trophy for the Sydney first grade competition.
In 1966, the Sydney Rugby Union was formed to administer the running of Sydney rugby and the Shute Shield.
The NSW ChampionshipEdit
In late 1986, the Sydney Rugby Union (SRU) approved a new competition structure for the Shute Shield. The SRU were concerned about the falling number of clubs involved in the lower divisions. The new structure involved distributing all teams in the three competitions evenly across three new divisions with some teams earning the right to play for the premiership in the first division.
The clubs that made up first division were opposed to the new structure and sought the opportunity to form a breakaway competition affiliated directly with the NSWRFU. This resulted in the formation of a 10 club competition called the NSW Championship, while the remaining lower division clubs remained with the SRU Championship. Both competitions ran during the 1987 and 1988 seasons.
For the 1989 season, the NSW Championship clubs returned to the SRU and the Shute Shield.
In 1992, the NSW Rugby Union again took over the administration of the Shute Shield competition.
Toohey's New Cup and the Australian Rugby ChampionshipEdit
From 2002 through 2006 the Toohey's New Cup was run to fill the void between Grade Rugby and Super Rugby in Australia. This became the Sydney Premiership competition, with the Shute Shield becoming the First Grade pre-season competition. However, in 2004 the Shute Shield was awarded to the Second Grade competition.
In 2007 the Toohey's New Cup was merged into the Shute Shield to become the Toohey's New Shute Shield when an attempt at an Australian wide domestic rugby competition, the Australian Rugby Championship, was started. The Australian Rugby Championship only lasted the one season.
There are currently eleven clubs that compete for the Shute Shield.
|Jersey||Club||Location||Home Ground||Nickname||First Season||Premierships||Notes|
|Eastern Suburbs||Upper Eastern Suburbs (Rose Bay)||Woollahra Oval, Rose Bay||The Beasties||1900||9||* Competed in the Sydney rugby premiership every season since 1900, apart from when relegated to the 2nd division in 1981 and 1984.|
|Eastwood||The Hills||T G Millner Field, Marsfield||The Woodies||1947||6||* Promoted to the Sydney rugby premiership in 1947, and competed in the premiership every season since then, apart from when relegated to the 2nd division in 1981.|
|Gordon||Upper North Shore (Chatswood)||Chatswood Oval, Chatswood||Highlanders||1936||8||* Not linked to the Gordon club that won the Sydney premiership in 1886. Competed in the Sydney rugby premiership every season since 1936, and never relegated to 2nd division.|
|Manly||Lower Northern Beaches (Manly)||Manly Oval, Manly||The Marlins||1906||7||* Competed in the Sydney rugby premiership every season since 1906, and never relegated to 2nd division.|
|Northern Suburbs||Lower North Shore (North Sydney)||North Sydney Oval, North Sydney||The Shoreman, Norths, The Red and Blacks||1900||7||*Originally formed as North Sydney. Competed in the Sydney rugby premiership every season since 1900, except for 1919 and when relegated to 2nd division from 1982-1989. Changed name to Northern Suburbs in 1928.|
|Western Sydney||Parramatta||Granville Park, Merrylands||Two Blues||1934||3||*Originally formed in 1879 as Cumberland, then played as Parramatta, in the Sydney rugby premiership up until the end of the 1899 season. Re-joined Sydney premiership in 1934 and played every season since. Never relegated to 2nd division.|
|Randwick||Lower Eastern Suburbs (Randwick/Coogee)||Coogee Oval, Coogee||Galloping Greens, The Wicks||1914||32||* Originally formed in 1882 and played in the Sydney rugby premiership up to the end of the 1899 season, winning 4 premierships. Re-joined Sydney premiership in 1914, but did not play from 1919-22. Played every season since then and never relegated to 2nd division. Has won 28 premierships in post-1900 Sydney rugby premiership.|
|Southern Districts||St. George and The Shire||Forshaw Park, Sylvania Waters||The Rebels||1989||0||*Formed from merger of St. George (founded 1906) and Port Hacking (founded 1957 as North Cronulla SLSC).|
|Sydney University||Camperdown||University Oval No. 2, Camperdown||The Students||1900||40||* Originally formed in 1863 and played in the Sydney rugby premiership from its start in 1874, winning 9 premierships up until the end of the 1899 season. Competed in the Sydney rugby premiership every season since 1900, except for when relegated to 2nd division in 1979 and 1983. Has won 31 premierships in post-1900 Sydney rugby premiership.|
|Warringah||Upper Northern Beaches (Narrabeen)||Pittwater Park, Warriewood||The Rats, Ratties||1971||1||* Formed in 1963 and played in 2nd division from 1964-1970, then promoted to 1st division in 1971. Never relegated to 2nd division.|
|West Harbour||Inner West (Concord)||Concord Oval, Concord||Pirates||1900||2||*Originally formed as Western Suburbs. Competed in the Sydney rugby premiership every season from 1900 except for 1919, until relegated at the end of 1951. Played in the Sydney Sub-Districts competition (now the NSWSRU competition) from 1952-1961, then joined the 2nd division when it started in 1962. Played in 2nd division from 1962–65, then promoted to 1st division in 1966 and remained in the Sydney rugby premiership since, except for when relegated to 2nd division in 1980. Changed name to West Harbour in 1995.|
Promotion and relegation from Sydney rugby premiershipEdit
- After Eastwood joined the premiership in 1947, the following 11 clubs competed in the Sydney rugby premiership.
- Drummoyne, Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Randwick, St George, Sydney University, Western Suburbs.
- After the 1951 season, Western Suburbs were relegated to the Sydney Sub-Districts competition.
- The premiership became the 1st division when a 2nd division was created in 1962.
- In 1966, Western Suburbs and University of NSW were promoted to 1st division from the 2nd division.
- In 1971, Warringah and Port Hacking were promoted to 1st division from the 2nd division.
- In 1976, Hornsby and Macquarie University were promoted to 1st division from the 2nd division.
- After the 1978 season, the Sydney Rugby Union reduced the 1st division to 10 teams, but introduced automatic annual promotion and relegation between the 1st and 2nd divisions.
- The following changes occurred for the following seasons.
- 1979 Relegated clubs - Hornsby, Macquarie University, Port Hacking, St George, Drummoyne, Sydney University.
- 1980 Promoted clubs - Sydney University, St George. Relegated clubs - University of NSW, Western Suburbs.
- 1981 Promoted clubs - Western Suburbs, Hornsby. Relegated clubs - Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood.
- 1982 Promoted clubs - Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood. Relegated clubs - Hornsby, Northern Suburbs.
- 1983 Promoted club - Port Hacking. Relegated club - Sydney University.
- 1984 Promoted club - Sydney University. Relegated club - Eastern Suburbs.
- 1985 Promoted club - Eastern Suburbs. Relegated club - St George.
- 1986 Promoted club - St George. Relegated club - Port Hacking.
- Automatic promotion and relegation ended after the 1986 season.
- In 1989, Southern Districts took the place of St George (who had merged with Port Hacking to form the new club).
- In 1990 Northern Suburbs were promoted to 1st division.
- In 1991 Drummoyne were promoted to 1st division.
- In 1992 Hornsby took legal action against the Sydney Rugby Union seeking promotion, but failed.
- The 2nd division ended in 1992, with the NSWRU taking over the running of the Sydney rugby premiership and merging the 2nd division into the NSW Suburban RU competition.
- In 1995 Drummoyne were dropped from the Sydney (now NSWRU) premiership and Canberra, Newcastle and Penrith were added.
- In 2000 Newcastle were dropped from the NSWRU premiership.
- In 2001 Canberra were dropped from the NSWRU premiership.
- In 2004 Canberra were re-admitted to the NSWRU premiership.
- In 2006 Canberra were dropped from the NSWRU premiership.
- In 2007 Illawarra were admitted to the NSWRU premiership, but played only that season.
- In 2018, a few rounds into the season, Penrith were dropped from the (again) Sydney rugby premiership.
Former clubs & expansionEdit
Below is a list of some of the clubs that have once competed in the Sydney rugby premiership.
|Club||Location||First Season||Last Season||Premierships||Notes|
|Balmain||Balmain||1874||1895||1||* Won premiership (voted as premier club) in 1875. Currently playing in the NSWSRU First Division competition.|
|Waratah||1874||1||* Won premiership (voted as premier club) in 1874 (first Sydney rugby premiers). Were runners-up in 1876 and 1878.|
|Wallaroo||North Sydney||1874||1899||7||* Won 7 premierships in period from 1876-1899, including the last premiership (1899) before the Sydney rugby premiership became a district competition in 1900. Also won 1 RAS Shield and 1 SCG Trophy. Combined with Pirates to form North Sydney (now Northern Suburbs) as a district club to enter the Sydney rugby premiership in 1900.|
|Redfern||Redfern||1883||1886||1||* Won premiership (undefeated) in 1883|
|Burwood||Burwood||1883||1888||1||* Won premiership in 1884|
|Gordon||Gordon||1886||1887||1||* Won premiership in 1886. Not linked to Gordon club that entered Sydney rugby premiership in 1936 and still exists today.|
|Pirates||North Sydney||1893||1899||1||* Won premiership in 1898, were runners-up in 1897, and won 3 RAS Shields from 1897-1899. Combined with Wallaroo to form North Sydney (now Northern Suburbs) as a district club to enter the Sydney rugby premiership in 1900.|
|Balmain (District)||Balmain||1900||1914||0||* Merged with Glebe to form Glebe-Balmain in 1919.|
|Glebe||Glebe||1900||1914||7||* Won 7 premierships from 1900-1914. Merged with Balmain to form Glebe-Balmain in 1919.|
|Newtown||Newtown||1900||1921||3||* Won premierships in 1908 and 1910-11. Played every season in the Sydney rugby premiership from 1900-1921, except for 1919, when a team called Cambridge, based in Newtown, played instead.|
|South Sydney||Redfern||1900||1914||1||* Won premiership in 1905.|
|Sydney District||Sydney||1905||1910||0||* Runners-up in 1906.|
|St George||St George||1906||1988||1||* Formed in 1906 and played in Sydney premiership from 1906-1914 and then again from 1928 onwards, except for when relegated to 2nd division in 1979 and 1985. Merged with Port Hacking to form Southern Districts before 1989 season.|
|Drummoyne||Drummoyne||1919||1994||2||* Originally Glebe-Balmain and won 1 premiership under that name. Renamed in 1931 as Drummoyne and won 1 premiership under that name. Played every season in the Sydney rugby premiership from 1919-1978, until relegated to 2nd division, where it played from 1979-1990. Promoted to 1st division in 1991 and played in the premiership from 1991-1994, playing in 1994 as UTS-Drummoyne. Moved to NSWSRU in 1995 and remained there since, currently playing in the NSWSRU First Division competition.|
|University of NSW||Kensington||1966||1979||0||* Formed in 1949 and joined the Sydney Sub-Districts competition (now the NSWSRU competition) in 1951. Joined the Sydney premiership 2nd division in 1963 and played in that division from 1963-65. Promoted to 1st division in 1966 and played in that division from 1966-1979. Relegated to 2nd division in 1980 and played in that division from 1980-1992, when 2nd division ended. Moved to NSWSRU in 1993 and remained there since, currently playing in the NSWSRU Second Division competition.|
|Port Hacking||The Shire||1971||1985||0||* Formed in 1957 as North Cronulla SLSC. Joined 2nd division when it started in 1962 and played there from 1962-1970, then promoted to 1st division in 1971. Played in 1st division from 1971-1978, then relegated to 2nd division in 1979 and played in that division from 1979-1982. Promoted to 1st division in 1983 and played in that division from 1983-1985. Relegated in 1986 and played in 2nd division from 1986-1988. Merged with St George to form Southern Districts before 1989 season.|
|Hornsby||Hornsby||1976||1981||0||* Established in 1962 when it joined the newly created 2nd division. Promoted to 1st division in 1976, and remained there until relegated to 2nd division after 1978. Promoted back to 1st division for 1981 season, but relegated after that season. Remained in 2nd division until it was dissolved after 1992, although Hornsby took legal action against the Sydney Rugby Union in 1992 seeking promotion at Drummoyne's expense. After 1992 Drummoyne beat Hornsby in playoffs involving all grade teams and a colts' team to remain in 1st division. Hornsby joined the NSWSRU competition in 1993 and remained there until it left to join the Central Coast RU competition in 2015.|
|Macquarie University||Macquarie Park||1976||1978||0||* Established in 1967 and played in the Sub-Districts competition until the club joined 2nd division in 1971, before being promoted to 1st division in 1976. Played in 1st division until relegated to 2nd division after 1978. Played in 2nd division in 1979 but then relegated to 3rd division for the 1980 season, and stayed there until that division was dissolved after 1986. Macquarie Uni then joined the NSWSRU competition in 1987, where it remains, now in the lower divisions.|
|Newcastle||Newcastle||1995||1999||0||* Played in Sydney rugby premiership as 'Newcastle Wildfires'.|
|Canberra||Canberra||1995||2005||0||* Played in Sydney rugby premiership as Canberra Kookaburras from 1995-1998 and Canberra Vikings from 1999-2000 and 2004-2005. Grand finalists in 1995. Didn't play in Sydney premiership in 2001-2003, when they instead played in and won the Brisbane club premiership all 3 years. Currently playing in the National Rugby Championship.|
|Penrith||Penrith||1995||2018||0||* Founded in 1965 as Nepean and changed name to Penrith in 1981. Joined Sydney premiership 2nd division in 1966 and played in that division from 1966-1980. Relegated to 3rd division in 1981 and played in that division from 1981-1983. Promoted to 2nd division in 1984 and played in that division from 1984-1992, when the division ended. Joined NSWSRU competition in 1993. Promoted to Sydney rugby premiership in 1995. Removed from the Sydney premiership early in the 2018 season due to a failure to "meet the standards set for all clubs to compete at the premiership level".|
These clubs also played in the Sydney premiership (1st division after 1962) in the period after 1900.
Cambridge (1919), YMCA (1919, 1923-1929), Mosman (1920), GPS Old Boys (1921-1924), Petersham (1922), Police (1929), Illawarra (2007).
From 1957 until 2014, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation had broadcast the Match of the Day from the Shute Shield competition in NSW/ACT every Saturday afternoon and replayed nationally on Tuesday mornings. The ABC ended its 57-year partnership with the competition at the completion of the 2014 season, following the Australian Government's decision to cut funding to the national broadcaster.
On 17 March 2015, Sydney Rugby formally announced that the Seven Network would become the new free to air Match of the Day broadcasters of the Shute Shield in NSW, commencing on 21 March on 7TWO showing a match between Eastern Suburbs and Gordon. The Prime Network will broadcast to regional areas of NSW. This agreement has been renewed for the 2018 season.
The competition format currently involves an 18-week round-robin competition which is followed by a three-week play-off series culminating in a grand final. The playoffs are contested by the top six placed teams following the round-robin. The first week of the play-offs sees 1st play 6th, 2nd play 5th and 3rd play 4th. The lowest two losers are eliminated and the three winners plus the highest ranked loser proceed to week 2 of the play-offs. The two winners from week 2 proceed to the Grand Final in week 3.
- Up until 1886, the premiers were declared by the Union at an end-of-year meeting. It is not clear how the premiership was decided at these meetings.
- From 1886 to 1889, the season consisted of a round of games organised as a round-robin, with the premiership awarded to the team who finished the season at the top of the ladder. However, in 1887 there was a final to decide the premier.
- In 1890 and 1891, there was a final played after a round robin.
- From 1892-1898, after the round-robin first round, there were knockout competitions held to determine the winners of the RAS Shield and the SCG Trophy, with the results counting for premiership points and with the premiership awarded to the team who finished the season at the top of the ladder. In 1899 the results of the knockout matches did not count for premiership points.
- From 1900 onwards, the season consisted of either one or two rounds of round-robin games. The premiership was awarded to the team who finished the season at the top of the ladder. After 1907 there was a final played in some years after the round-robin.
- In 1919 and 1920, the premiership returned to the previous structure of a round-robin. Again, the premiership was awarded to the team who finished the season at the top of the ladder.
- From 1921 there was a final played in some years after the round robin.
- From 1932, the premiership was decided by a Grand Final.
- For 1987-88 a NSW Championship existed alongside the Shute Shield. The first grade teams played for the rebel NSW Championship, while the Shield contained clubs from the lower grades.
- From 2002 to 2006, the Shute Shield was awarded to a pre-season competition.
The Sydney Rugby PremiershipEdit
Ken Catchpole MedalEdit
- "Sydney Club Rugby History". Green and Gold Rugby. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
- "FOOTBALL RULES". Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912). 11 July 1874. p. 46. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
- "Sydney Club Rugby History". Green and Gold Rugby. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
- "THE SPORTS OF AUSTRALIA.[?]FOOTBALL". Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1881 - 1894). 30 August 1888. p. 8. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
- "FOOTBALL". Sydney Daily Telegraph (NSW : 1879 -1883). 17 May 1883. p. 3. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
- "FOOTBALL". Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954). 28 October 1893. p. 7. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
- "Football Notes". Referee (Sydney, NSW : 1886 - 1939). 14 March 1900. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
- "FOOTBALL FATALITY". The Brisbane Courier. Brisbane, Queensland: The Brisbane Courier. 7 June 1922. p. 4. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
- "FOOTBALLER'S DEATH". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney, New South Wales: The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 June 1922. p. 10. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
- "Local History from Manly Library". Manly Library. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
- According to Sydney University records, different clubs were declared premiers. The following are the clubs listed by these records: 1874- Wallaroo, 1875- University & Waratah, 1876- Wallaroo, 1877- University, 1878- Wallaroo & Waratah
- Royal Agricultural Society Final displayed.
- Randwick did not make the RAS final. However, they remained on the top of the ladder after the games had been run and won.
- The Pirates were declared winners of the RAS Shield as Randwick had fielded an illegal player.
- Sydney University and Glebe agreed to not play a final due to an international tour to New Zealand. Both teams were declared joint premiers.
- "2007 Tooheys New Shute Shield Draw". nswrugby.com.au. Archived from the original on 19 May 2007. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
- "2007 Tooheys New Shute Shield Draw". nswrugby.com.au. Archived from the original on 19 May 2007. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
|Shute Shield seasons|