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1949 NSWRFL season

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Premiers  St. George (2nd title)
Top try-scorer(s)  Ron Roberts (25)
Teams  10
Matches played  94
Top points scorer(s)  Bill Keato (163)
Start date  1949
Points scored  2,995
People also search for  1952 NSWRFL season
1949 NSWRFL season
Minor premiers  South Sydney (10th title)

The 1949 New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership was the forty-second season of Sydney’s top-level professional rugby league football club competition, Australia’s first. Ten teams from across the city contested the premiership during the season which culminated in a grand final between St. George and South Sydney.


Season summary

St. George winger Ron Roberts’ 25 tries during 1949 stands in third place behind Les Brennan’s 29 in 1954 and Bob Lulham’s 28 in 1947 for the highest number of tries by a player in a debut season.

The 1949 season was also the last in the NSWRFL for future Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame inductee, Vic Hey.


  • Balmain, formed on 23 January 1908 at Balmain Town Hall
  • Canterbury-Bankstown
  • Eastern Suburbs, formed on 24 January 1908 at Paddington Town Hall
  • Manly-Warringah
  • Newtown, formed on 14 January 1908
  • North Sydney, formed on 7 February 1908
  • Parramatta, formed in November 1946
  • South Sydney, formed on 17 January 1908 at Redfern Town Hall
  • St. George, formed on 8 November 1920 at Kogarah School of Arts
  • Western Suburbs, formed on 4 February 1908
  • Finals

    Minor premier South Sydney's loss to St. George in the finals meant that a grand final would be necessary.

    Grand Final

    In a brutal encounter, St George ran in five tries and overcame minor premiers South Sydney 19–12 to claim their second premiership in front of 56,532 people, the second biggest crowd of all time to witness Sydney club match.

    Souths opened the scoring, with a converted try to Graves after 21 minutes. However the Dragons were led masterfully by their captain, Kangaroos five-eighth, Norman “Johnny” Hawke. Controlling all aspects of the match, Hawke took the game away from Souths who only got back into the contest when he was forced from the field with injury. Also injured was Saints forward George Jardine who played the match with a broken wrist.

    St. George led 11–5 at half time. Hawke returned to the field after treatment and was later dubbed “Man of the Match” and “the Player’s Player”. The Dragons’ wingers, season’s top try scorer Ron Roberts (25 tries) and newcomer Noel Pidding scored two tries each.

    Each of the grand final winning players received a record bonus of £300 each.

    St. George 19
    Tries: Roberts (2), Pidding (2), McCoy
    Goals: McCoy, Pidding

    South Sydney 12
    Tries: Graves, Purcell
    Goals: Graves (3)


    1949 NSWRFL season Wikipedia

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