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NSWRL Premiership
SportRugby league
Inaugural season1908
Ceased1994
Replaced byARL Premiership
Holders
Canberra Raiders (3rd title)
Most titles
South Sydney Rabbitohs (20 titles)
Related competitionWinfield Cup

The New South Wales Rugby League premiership was the first rugby league football club competition established in Australia and contributor to today's National Rugby League. Run by the New South Wales Rugby League (initially named the New South Wales Rugby Football League) from 1908 until 1994, the premiership was the state's elite rugby league competition, parallel to Queensland's first-class league, the Brisbane Rugby League.

For most of the premiership's history it was contested by clubs from the state of New South Wales only, but later attempted to grow into a nationwide competition, eventually leading to the competition being played under the auspices of the Australian Rugby League in 1995. Despite this name, the 1995 and 1996 Australian Rugby League Premierships competitions were still administered by the Board and staff of the New South Wales Rugby League.

History

1908: Rugby league premiership in Sydney

The inaugural New South Wales Rugby Football League (NSWRFL) premiership began in 1908, and was made up of eight Sydney-based teams and one team from Newcastle. Cumberland joined the competition after the first round, meaning that they played one game fewer than the rest of the field for the season. Still known as the "foundation clubs" today, these nine teams battled against one another during the 1908 season, with South Sydney taking the first premiership honours after beating Eastern Suburbs in the Final.

Club Years Contested Matches[1] Seasons
Played Won Drew Lost Win/Loss Played Premiers Minor Premiers Runners-Up
Balmain
1908 - 1994 1705 871 68 766 53.08% 92 11 7 9
Cumberland
1908 8 1 0 7 12.50% 1 0 0 0
Eastern Suburbs
1908 - 1994 1880 995 67 818 54.71% 92 11 15 11
Glebe
1908 - 1929 297 163 6 128 55.89% 22 0 1 4
Newcastle
1908 - 1909 20 9 0 11 45.00% 2 0 0 0
Newtown
1908 - 1983 1305 583 59 663 46.93% 76 3 6 7
North Sydney
1908 - 1994 1665 678 71 916 42.85% 92 2 2 1
South Sydney
1908 - 1994 1813 940 45 828 53.09% 92 20 17 13
Western Suburbs
1908 - 1994 1691 734 49 908 44.86% 92 4 5 8

1909 - 1994: Expansion of the premiership

Between 1912 and 1925 the premiers were decided by first past the post. As a result of South Sydney's dominant 1925 season, the NSWRFL introduced a finals system in order to maintain interest in the competition.[2]

Over the decades since the NSWRFL competition started, Sydney suburban teams came and went throughout its history but it was not until 1982 that the competition saw significant expansion outside of the Sydney area. The two new inclusions were from the Australian Capital Territory - the Canberra Raiders - as well as a team from the southern New South Wales region - the Illawarra Steelers. This corresponded with the adoption of commercial sponsorship of the competition for the first time, seeing it become the Winfield Cup (named after the popular cigarette brand).

The NSWRFL had also commenced a very popular and successful mid-week competition in 1973, originally known as the Amco Cup, but also as the Tooth Cup and the National Panasonic Cup. The success of this competition, which included teams from both Brisbane and New Zealand ultimately created pressure for further expansion of the NSWRL competition. In 1984, the New South Wales Rugby Football League changed its name to New South Wales Rugby League.

In 1988, for the very first time, two Queensland teams joined the competition, with the inclusions of the Brisbane Broncos and the Gold Coast-Tweed Giants. This saw the premiership competition move beyond the outer borders of New South Wales. At the same time, as a result of mounting pressure from the central coast of New South Wales, a Newcastle franchise was returned to the competition. Their return saw the end of an 86-year wait in the wilderness and this time around the team was badged the Newcastle Knights.

Club Traditional Colours Years Contested Matches[1] Seasons
Played Won Drew Lost Win/Loss Played Premiers Minor Premiers Runners-Up
Annandale
1910 - 1920 153 25 6 122 18.30% 11 0 0 0
University
1920 - 1937 242 47 5 190 20.45% 18 0 0 1
St. George
1921 - 1998 1545 910 56 579 60.71% 78 15 15 12
Canterbury-Bankstown
1935 - current 1502 778 53 671 53.56% 71 8 6 8
Manly-Warringah
1947 - 1999
2003 - current
1261 719 35 507 58.41% 56 7 9 10
Parramatta
1947 - current 1321 608 38 675 47.46% 59 4 5 4
Cronulla-Sutherland
1967 - current 932 456 22 454 50.11% 39 0 2 3
Penrith
1967 - current 917 379 26 512 42.75% 39 2 2 1
Illawarra
1982 - 1998 396 153 13 230 40.28% 17 0 0 0
Canberra
1982 - current 606 323 9 274 54.04% 24 3 1 2
Brisbane
1988 - current 457 299 11 147 66.63% 18 5 4 0
Newcastle
1988 - current 446 234 14 198 54.04% 18 2 0 0
Gold Coast
1988 - 1998 246 53 9 184 23.37% 11 0 0 0

After mostly solid results were obtained by the expansion teams in 1988, there was increasing pressure for new inclusions into the competition. Having decided in May 1992 that a team from Auckland would join the premiership in 1995, the League announced in November that three more new clubs — a second team from Brisbane, and also a team each from Perth and Townsville — will also be invited.

In 1995, some seven years later, the competition expanded further into Queensland, with the inception of the South Queensland Crushers and the North Queensland Cowboys. 1995 also saw a new team in Western Australia, the 'Western Reds', later called the Perth Reds, as well as a New Zealand-based team - the Auckland Warriors. The total number of teams in the competition was now twenty - the largest-scale rugby league competition ever in Australia. The premiership's new national outlook was further reflected in the governing body's name, with the New South Wales Rugby League transferring control of the competition to the Australian Rugby League (ARL).

Senior Grade Premiers

For all time list of Premiers, see Australian rugby league premiers.

Between 1912 and 1925 there was no semi-final system and a final was only played if two clubs finished level at the conclusion of the Minor Premiership. Souths won the 1909 premiership when Balmain forfeited in protest against the final being played as a preliminary match before a promotional game between the national Rugby League and Rugby Union sides. The 1937 season also featured no finals as the year was disrupted by the Kangaroos tour. Between 1926 and 1953 first played third and second played fourth and winners played off. If the minor premiers were defeated they had a right of challenge, but if they were not defeated there was no true "grand final."

From 1954 a mandatory grand final was introduced in which there was a knockout minor semi-final between third and fourth and a second-chance major semi between first and second. The winner of the major semi went to the grand final and a preliminary final was played between the winner of the minor semi and the loser of the major semi to decide who would meet the winner of the major semi.

In 1973 a final five was devised with the top team going straight into the major semi, the second and third teams playing a major preliminary semi, and the fourth and fifth playing a sudden-death minor preliminary semi. The top team played the winner of the major preliminary semi-final, whilst the winner of the minor preliminary semi played the loser of the major preliminary semi in the minor semi-final (which was played as before under the final four system.

Season Grand Finals Minor Premiers
Premiers Score Runners-up
1908
Souths
14-12
Easts
Souths
1909
Souths
forfeit
Balmain
Souths
1910
Newtown
4-4
Souths
Newtown
1911
Easts
11-8
Glebe
Glebe
1912
Easts
N/A
Glebe
N/A
1913
Easts
Newtown
1914
Souths
Newtown
1915
Balmain
Glebe
1916
Balmain
5-3
Souths
Balmain
1917
Balmain
N/A
Souths
N/A
1918
Souths
Wests
1919
Balmain
Easts
1920
Balmain
Souths
1921
Norths
Easts
1922
Norths
35-3
Glebe
Norths
1923
Easts
15-12
Souths
Easts
1924
Balmain
3-0
Souths
Balmain
1925
Souths
N/A
Wests
N/A
1926
Souths
11-5
University
Souths
1927
Souths
20-11
St. George
Souths
1928
Souths
26-5
Easts
St. George
1929
Souths
30-10
Newtown
Souths
1930
Wests
27-2
St. George
Wests
1931
Souths
12-7
Easts
Easts
1932
Souths
19-12
Wests
Souths
1933
Newtown
18-5
St. George
Newtown
1934
Wests
15-2
Easts
Easts
1935
Easts
19-3
Souths
Easts
1936
Easts
32-12
Balmain
Easts
1937
Easts
N/A
Souths
N/A
1938
Canterbury-Bankstown
19-6
Easts
Canterbury-Bankstown
1939
Balmain
33-4
Souths
Balmain
1940
Easts
24-14
Canterbury-Bankstown
Easts
1941
St. George
31-14
Easts
Easts
1942
Canterbury-Bankstown
11-9
St. George
Canterbury-Bankstown
1943
Newtown
34-7
Norths
Newtown
1944
Balmain
12-8
Newtown
Newtown
1945
Easts
22-18
Balmain
Easts
1946
Balmain
13-12
St. George
St. George
1947
Balmain
13-9
Canterbury-Bankstown
Canterbury-Bankstown
1948
Wests
8-5
Balmain
Wests
1949
St. George
19-12
Souths
Souths
1950
Souths
21-15
Wests
Souths
1951
Souths
42-14
Manly-Warringah
Souths
1952
Wests
22-12
Souths
Wests
1953
Souths
31-12
St. George
Souths
1954
Souths
23-15
Newtown
Newtown
1955
Souths
12-11
Newtown
Newtown
1956
St. George
18-12
Balmain
St. George
1957
St. George
31-9
Manly-Warringah
St. George
1958
St. George
20-9
Wests
St. George
1959
St. George
20-0
Manly-Warringah
St. George
1960
St. George
31-6
Easts
St. George
1961
St. George
22-0
Wests
Wests
1962
St. George
9-6
Wests
St. George
1963
St. George
8-3
Wests
St. George
1964
St. George
11-6
Balmain Tigers
St. George
1965
St. George
12-8
Souths
St. George
1966
St. George
23-4
Balmain Tigers
St. George
1967
Souths
12-10
Canterbury-Bankstown
St. George
1968
Souths
13-9
Manly-Warringah
Souths
1969
Balmain Tigers
11-2
Souths
Souths
1970
South
23-12
Manly-Warringah
Souths
1971
Souths
16-10
St. George
Manly Warringah
1972
Manly-Warringah
19-14
Easts
Manly-Warringah
1973
Manly-Warringah
10-7
Cronulla-Sutherland
Manly-Warringah
1974
Easts
19-4
Canterbury-Bankstown
Easts
1975
Easts
38-0
St. George
Easts
1976
Manly-Warringah
13-10
Parramatta
Manly-Warringah
1977
St. George
9-9
22-0
Parramatta
Parramatta
1978
Manly-Warringah
11-11
16-0
Cronulla-Sutherland
Wests
1979
St. George
17-13
Canterbury-Bankstown
St. George
1980
Canterbury-Bankstown
18-4
Easts
Easts
1981
Parramatta
20-11
Newtown
Easts
1982
Parramatta
21-8
Manly-Warringah
Parramatta
1983
Parramatta
18-6
Manly-Warringah
Manly-Warringah
1984
Canterbury-Bankstown
6-4
Parramatta
Canterbury-Bankstown
1985
Canterbury-Bankstown
7-6
St George
St George
1986
Parramatta
4-2
Canterbury-Bankstown
Parramatta
1987
Manly-Warringah
18-8
Canberra
Manly-Warringah
1988
Canterbury-Bankstown
24-12
Balmain
Cronulla-Sutherland
1989
Canberra
19-14
Balmain
Souths
1990
Canberra
18-14
Penrith
Canberra
1991
Penrith
19-12
Canberra
Penrith
1992
Brisbane
28-8
St George
Brisbane
1993
Brisbane
14-6
St George
Canterbury-Bankstown
1994
Canberra
36-12
Canterbury-Bankstown
Canterbury-Bankstown

Results (Senior Grade)

Team Wins Loses Years won Years lost
Souths
20 13 1908, 1909, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1931,

1932, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1971

1910, 1916, 1917, 1920, 1923, 1924,

1935, 1937, 1939, 1949, 1952, 1965, 1969

St George
15 12 1941, 1949, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963,

1964, 1965, 1966, 1977, 1979

1927, 1930, 1933, 1942, 1946, 1953,

1971, 1975, 1985, 1992, 1993, 1996

Easts
11 11 1911, 1912, 1913, 1923, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1940, 1945, 1974, 1975 1908, 1919, 1921, 1928, 1931, 1934, 1938, 1941, 1960, 1972, 1980
Balmain
11 9 1915, 1916, 1917, 1919, 1920, 1924, 1939, 1944, 1946, 1947, 1969 1909, 1936, 1945, 1948, 1956, 1964, 1966, 1988, 1989
Manly
5 7 1972, 1973, 1976, 1978, 1987 1951, 1957, 1959, 1968, 1970, 1982, 1983
Canterbury
6 7 1938, 1942, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1988 1940, 1947, 1967, 1974, 1979, 1986, 1994
Brisbane
2 0 1992, 1993
Wests
4 8 1930, 1934, 1948, 1952 1918, 1925, 1932, 1950, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1963
Parramatta
4 3 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986 1976, 1977, 1984
Newtown
3 7 1910, 1933, 1943 1913, 1914, 1929, 1944, 1954, 1955, 1981
Canberra
3 2 1989, 1990, 1994 1987, 1991
Norths
2 1 1921, 1922 1943
Penrith
1 1 1991 1990
Cronulla
0 2 1973, 1978
Glebe
0 4 1911, 1912, 1915, 1922
Sydney Uni.
0 1 1926

Reserve Grade Premiers

Year Premiers Score Runners-Up Decider Report Winning Captain(s) Winning Coach Referee
1908
Easts
Souths
No
1909
Easts
11-7
Glebe
Final TSS[3] W.P. Finegan
1910
Easts
5-2
Newtown
Final EN[4] L. Kearney
1911
Easts
12-0
Glebe
Final ST[5] A. Ballerum
1912
Glebe
30-0 Redfern United Final SMH[6] A. Finegan
1913
Souths
10-3 Grosvenor Final Sun[7] T. McMahon
1914
Souths
6-5
Easts
Final Sun[8] J. Buchanan
1915
Balmain
9-3
Glebe
Final Sun[9]
1916
Balmain
6-4
Easts
Final Sun[10]
1917
Souths
Balmain
No
1918
Glebe
Souths
No
1919
Glebe
Wests
No
1920
Glebe
Souths
No SMH[11]
1921
Glebe
Norths
No
1922
Newtown
10-2
Glebe
Final Sun[12] E. Gallagher W. Neill
1923
Souths
13-6
Balmain
Final SMH[13] A. Thornton
1924
Souths
Wests
No
1925
Souths
14-2
Balmain
Final TR[14] E. Kerr
1926
Souths
25-13
Norths
Final Sun[15] L. Dolan
1927
Souths
16-5
St. George
Final SGC[16] James Breen Lal Deane
1928
Balmain
7-5
Easts
Final Sun[17] Arthur Tennant B. Wales
1929
Souths
26-3
Wests
Final Sun[18] Tom Craigie W. Fry
1930
Balmain
5-0
Souths
GF Truth[19] S. Lever W. Fry
1931
Souths
24-5
St. George
Final Sun[20] W. Neill
1932
Souths
5-2
Newtown
GF Sun[21] Jackie Jones W. Fry
1933
Balmain
15-12
Souths
GF Sun[22] George Frankland W. Fry
1934
Souths
13-10
Balmain
GF Sun[23] Jim Tait J. Murphy
1935
Easts
16-2
Balmain
GF Sun[24] T. McMahon
1936
Wests
15-5
Norths
Final Truth[25] Jim Parsons Jerry Brien T. McMahon
1937
Easts
Newtown
No
1938
St. George
9-4
Balmain
GF Sun[26] Jack Kenyon A. Davis
1939
Canterbury
13-0
Norths
GF Sun[27] Jim Duncombe J. McGaulay
1940
Norths
10-5
St. George
GF SGC[28] Jack O'Brien
1941
Balmain
13-4
St. George
GF Sun[29] John Rees P. Lee
1942
Norths
15-5
St. George
GF Sun[30] Aub Oxford
1943
Souths
15-9
Balmain
GF Sun[31] George Kilham G. Bishop
1944
Balmain
11-9
Norths
Final Sun[32] (Jack Danzey Snr) Jack O'Brien
1945
Souths
11-7
Canterbury
GF Sun[33] Ken Brogan Aub Oxford
1946
Balmain
8-5
Easts
GF Sun[34] Gil Bo XJack O'Brien
1947
Newtown
6-2
Balmain
GF Sun[35] Fred Fayers Keith Ellis L. Williams
1948
Newtown
7-4
Wests
GF Sun[36] Keith Ellis Col Pearce
1949
Easts
30-7
Newtown
GF DT[37] Jim Hunt Aub Oxford
1950
Balmain
10-6
St. George
Final DT[38] George Williams G. Bishop
1951
Newtown
10-6
St. George
GF SMH[39] George Debnam Aub Oxford
1952
Souths
19-0
Canterbury
GF Sun[40] Ray Mason Jack O'Brien
1953
Souths
17-11
Manly
GF Sun[41] Norm Nilson Aub Oxford
1954
Manly
9-4
Souths
GF SH[42] Darcy Lawler
1955
Norths
9-2
St. George
GF Robert Gorman Jack O'Brien
1956
Souths
10-6
Manly
GF Ray Mason Col Pearce
1957
Balmain
16-7
Norths
GF Ron Clifford Col Pearce
1958
Balmain
20-10
St. George
GF RLN[43] Ron Proudfoot Col Pearce
1959
Norths
19-10
St. George
GF RLN[44] Robert Sullivan Robert Sullivan Col Pearce
1960
Manly
17-6
Balmain
GF RLN[45] Robert Lenon Neville Pierce Col Pearce
1961
Wests
9-3
Manly
GF RLN[46] Roger Buttenshaw Dudley Beger Darcy Lawler
1962
St. George
19-0
Wests
GF RLN[47] Peter Armstrong Sid Ryan Arthur Neville
1963
St. George
5-4
Souths
GF Peter Armstrong Sid Ryan Col Pearce
1964
St. George
7-2
Souths
GF RLN[48] Johnny Riley Sid Ryan F. Erickson
1965
Balmain
9-7
St. George
GF RLN[49] Jack Danzey Leo Nosworthy J. Harris
1966
Souths
12-4
Balmain
GF RLN[50] Colin Dunn "Chick" Cowie J. Bradley
1967
Balmain
11-7
Souths
GF Robert Boland Leo Nosworthy Laurie Bruyeres
1968
Souths
17-7
Manly
GF Dennis Lee Fred Nelson Les Samuelson
1969
Manly
10-6
Balmain
GF George McTaggart Ron Willey Keith Holman
1970
Newtown
6-0
Easts
GF Robert Green Clarrie Jeffreys Keith Holman
1971
Canterbury
11-5
St. George
GF Barry Phillis Malcolm Clift Keith Page
1972
Canterbury
14-3
St. George
GF Barry Phillis Malcolm Clift Laurie Bruyeres
1973
Manly
22-14
St. George
GF Max Krilich Frank Stanton Laurie Bruyeres
1974
Newtown
6-5
Easts
GF Des O'Connor Charlie Renilson Keith Page
1975
Parramatta
21-13
Cronulla
GF John Baker Terry Fearnley Keith Page
1976
St. George
17-12
Cronulla
GF Billy Smith Peter Dickerson Greg Hartley
1977
Parramatta
11-9
Manly
GF Graham Murray Len Stacker Jack Danzey
1978
Balmain
10-5
St. George
GF William Hillard Dennis Tutty Jack Danzey
1979
Parramatta
22-2
Canterbury
GF John Kolc Mick Alchin Jack Danzey
1980
Canterbury
18-16
Parramatta
GF Mal Creavey Geoff Connell Jack Danzey
1981
Wests
19-2
Parramatta
GF CT[51] Ian Schubert Laurie Freier
1982
Balmain
17-12
Easts
GF CT[52] Bill Hilliard Laurie Freier
1983
Souths
12-6
Manly
GF CT[53] Nathan Gibbs Wally Watsford B. Barnes
1984
Balmain
10-8
St. George
GF Mike Marketo Peter Duffy C. Ward
1985
St. George
22-16
Canberra
GF CT[54] George Moroko John Bailey Mick Stone
1986
Easts
10-2
Parramatta
GF Dave Brown Jim Morgan Kevin Roberts
1987
Penrith
11-0
Manly
GF Craig Izzard Graham Murray Greg McCallum
1988
Manly
22-2
Easts
GF Peter Cullum Alan Thompson Graham Annesley
1989
Norths
11-6
Parramatta
GF CT[55] Gary Maguire Steve Martin Mick Stone
1990
Brisbane
14-6
Canberra
GF CT,[56] VH[57] Ray Herring Bill Gardner Greg McCallum
1991
Norths
12-6
Canberra
GF CT[58] Gary Smith Peter Louis Eddie Ward
1992
Norths
28-14
Balmain
GF CT[59] Gary Smith Peter Louis Graham Annesley
1993
Norths
5-4
Newcastle
GF CT[60] Alan Wilson Peter Mulholland Bill Harrigan
1994
Cronulla
14-4
Newcastle
GF Alan Wilson John Dykes Bill Harrigan


Past winners of the NSWRL Premiership

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Rugby League Tables / Win-Loss Records / All Teams Archived 11 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine, As of Round 10, 2006,
  2. ^ Middleton, David (30 September 2013). "Ten of the most dominant seasons in rugby league history from historian David Middleton". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
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  30. ^ "Norths Win Reserve Title 15-5". The Sun. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 12 July 1942. p. 5. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  31. ^ "Souths Win Reserves". The Sun. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 4 September 1943. p. 6. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
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