Trisha Shetty (Editor)

1917 NSWRFL season

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Premiers  Balmain (3rd title)
Top points scorer(s)  Charles Fraser (67)
Start date  1917
Points scored  1,280
People also search for  1924 NSWRFL season
Minor premiers  Balmain (3rd title)
Top try-scorer(s)  Harold Horder (17)
Teams  8
Matches played  56
1917 NSWRFL season

The 1917 New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership was the tenth season of Sydney's professional rugby league football club competition, Australia's first. Eight teams from across the city contested during the season and Balmain finished on top of the ladder to claim the premiership.


Season summary

After nine seasons with only nineteen wins and two draws from 115 matches, Western Suburbs finally made a significant impact on the league, finishing a respectable third behind the traditionally strong sides of Balmain and South Sydney. Their advance was almost entirely due to centre Herb Gilbert, who moved from Easts, Hull and South Sydney to add skill and knowledge to team crying out for guidance, besides scoring nine of the team's thirty-four tries.

Balmain ultimately won their third consecutive premiership finishing eight points ahead of second placed South Sydney. The Balmain side only failed to win one of their games during the season against Newtown in round 8. In fourteen games Balmain’s secure defence allowed a mere 61 points and just nine tries to be scored against them, a statistic indicating their dominance and rivalled since only by St. George in 1963. Annandale managed to avoid bottom spot thanks to Glebe surrendering their two points to them following a 31–5 win for Glebe in round 8. The points were moved over to Annandale due to Glebe fielding Dan “Laddo” Davies – an ineligible player under the residential criteria of the time.

As well as losing Davies, fourteen of Glebe’s first grade players were suspended for a year after the players boycotted a match against Balmain. The NSWRFL changed the venue of the game from the Sydney Cricket Ground to Birchgrove Oval in Balmain, drastically reducing spectator numbers and, in doing so, cutting Glebe's share of the big gate takings expected at the SCG. A team consisting of lower grade players was fielded and Glebe lost heavily, 40–9. The NSWRFL suspended all the footballers who refused to play, including Frank, Laidley and Albert Burge.

Balmain also won the three round City Cup played in the late season. Members of the Balmain premiership winning side included Bob Craig, Bill Schultz and E. Burnicle.


The teams remained unchanged from the previous season.

  • Annandale
  • Balmain, formed on January 23, 1908, at Balmain Town Hall
  • Eastern Suburbs, formed on January 24, 1908, at Paddington Town Hall
  • Glebe, formed on January 9, 1908
  • Newtown, formed on January 14, 1908
  • North Sydney, formed on February 7, 1908
  • South Sydney, formed on January 17, 1908, at Redfern Town Hall
  • Western Suburbs, formed on February 4, 1908
  • Ladder

  • Glebe were stripped of two competition points due to fielding an ineligible player in one game.
  • References

    1917 NSWRFL season Wikipedia

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