1948 NSWRFL season

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1948 New South Wales Rugby Football League
Teams 10
Premiers Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs (3rd title)
Minor premiers Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs (2nd title)
Matches played 94
Points scored 2829
Top points scorer(s) St. George colours.svg Jack Lindwall (101)
Top try-scorer(s) Newtown colours.svg Norm Jacobson (27)

The 1948 NSWRFL season was the forty-first New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership season, Sydney’s top-level rugby league football competition, and Australia’s first. The teams remained unchanged from the previous season, with ten clubs from across the city contesting the premiership during the season which culminated in Western Suburbs’ victory over Balmain in the grand final.[1]

Season summary

When Balmain’s young stars of 1946 and 1947 Pat Devery and Harry Bath left for big money offers in England it seemed doubtful that the Tigers would be able to continue their run of success. However Balmain gave themselves every chance to achieve their third title in a row and made it through to the Grand Final match up against Wests.


Balmain home jersey 1940.svg
41st season
Ground: Leichhardt Oval
Coach: Athol Smith
Captain: Tom Bourke
Canterbury home jersey 1935.svg
14th season
Ground: Belmore Sports Ground
Coach: Arthur Halloway
Captain: Henry Porter
Eastern Suburbs
41st season
Ground: Belmore Oval
Coach: Percy Williams
Captain: Wally O'Connell
2nd season
Ground: Brookvale Oval
Coach: Ray Stehr
Captain: Ron O'Connell
Newtown Jets home jersey 1908.svg
41st season
Ground: Erskineville Oval
Captain-Coach: Frank Farrell
North Sydney Bears home jersey 1932.svg
North Sydney
41st season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Coach: Cliff Pearce
Captain: Frank Cottle
2nd season
Ground: Cumberland Oval
Captain-coach: Vic Hey
South Sydney
41st season
Ground: Redfern Oval
Coach: Dave Watson
Captain: Jack Rayner
St. George
28th season
Ground: Hurstville Oval
Coach: Jim Duckworth
Captain: Matt McCoy
Western Suburbs
41st season
Ground: Pratten Park
Coach: Jeff Smith
Captain: Jack Walsh


Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs (P) 18 16 0 2 322 189 +133 32
2 Newtown colours.svg Newtown 18 13 0 5 386 248 +138 26
3 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 18 12 2 4 287 222 +65 26
4 St. George colours.svg St. George 18 10 1 7 332 262 +70 21
5 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown 18 7 2 9 282 276 +6 16
6 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 18 7 2 9 225 248 -23 16
7 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 18 7 1 10 265 302 -37 15
8 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta 18 5 1 12 237 346 -109 11
9 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 18 4 1 13 221 334 -113 9
10 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney 18 3 2 13 191 321 -130 8


In Balmain’s preliminary final match up with St George, Balmain winger Arthur Patton refused to leave the field whilst injured as the Tigers held on to win 13–12. At game’s end it was found that he had a broken leg.

Home Score Away Match Information
Date and Time Venue Referee Crowd
Semi Finals
Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 7 - 8 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 28 August 1948 Sydney Cricket Ground George Bishop 25,907
Newtown colours.svg Newtown 8 - 20 St. George colours.svg St. George 4 September 1948 Sydney Cricket Ground Jack O'Brien 31,310
Preliminary Final
Balmain colours.svg Balmain 13 - 12 St. George colours.svg St. George 11 September 1948 Sydney Cricket Ground Jack O'Brien 37,404
Grand Final
Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 8 - 5 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 18 September 1948[2] Sydney Sports Ground George Bishop 29,122

Grand Final

Western Suburbs Position Balmain
William Keato FB Dave Parkinson
Col Hudson WG Leo Nosworthy
Eric Bennett CE George Williams
Lindsay Rodda CE Tom Bourke (c)
John Lackey WG Mitchell Wallace
Frank Stanmore FE William Sneddon
Neville Hogan HB Des Bryan
William Horder PR Jim Thomson
William Brown HK Robert Crane
Jack Walsh (c) PR Jack Spencer
Kevin Hansen SR Sid Ryan
Don Milton SR Pat Madden
Peter McLean LK Jack Hampstead
Jeff Smith Coach Athol Smith

After rainy conditions the Grand Final was played on a soft Sydney Sports Ground surface.[3] The Tigers led the game until the final quarter when a 40-metre run by Wests’ second rower Kevin Hansen saw him tackled right on the tryline. The referee awarded the try and Wests held an 8–5 break until full-time to record their third premiership win.

Western Suburbs Magpies 8 (Tries: Hudson, Hansen. Goals: Keato)


Balmain Tigers 5 (Tries: Bourke. Goals: Bourke)


  1. ^ Premiership Roll of Honour Archived April 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. at rl1908.com
  2. ^ 1948 Grand Final at nrlstats.com
  3. ^ "League grand final on soft field". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia. 1948-09-18. p. 7. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 

External links

  • Rugby League Tables - Notes AFL Tables
  • Rugby League Tables - Season 1948 AFL Tables
  • Premiership History and Statistics RL1908
  • Finals lineups and results Hunterlink site
  • Results: 1941-1950 at rabbitohs.com.au
  • 1948 Labor Daily Cup[dead link] at rleague.com
  • NSWRFL season 1948 at rugbyleagueproject.org
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