[Article 6399]The Wests Grand Finals.

Wests have been involved in many premiership titles since Rugby League started in 1908

Wests have won the premiership on 4 occasions. 1930, 1934, 1948 and 1952

Wests were also runners up in 1918, 1925, 1932, 1950, 1958 and the famous Trifecta against St George 1961, 62, and 1963

Wests Grand Final History.

Famous photo from the 1963 Grand Final

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Rare photo from the the SMH

That’s John Mowbray caring for Kevin Ryan

A little bit of Rugby League History

 Rugby league in NSW began in 1908, the first premiership deciding game was played at the Royal Agricultural Society Showground, with Souths defeating Easts 14-12.  From 1912 to 1925, no finals system was in place, however in 1916, 1922, 1923 and 1924, a match was played as a tiebreaker to decide the season’s premiership winner. From 1926 to 1953, finals were played under the Argus system, which produced a deciding game in two slightly differing ways

All of these deciding games are now deemed to be grand finals, whether they were referred to as such at the time or not

From 1954 to the present, using a variety of systems, the deciding match has been explicitly termed a grand final, and no distinction is made between grand finals played under the auspices of the various governing bodies

A little confusing but that’s Rugby League…..

Lets go way back in time to 1918….Wests were runners up to Souths. Wests won 11 games and Lost 3

Souths won 12 and lost 2 . Simply system

1918 gff

St Lukes Oval at Concord was the home ground and Herb Gilbert was the Captain of Wests

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Herb Gilbert dual International

Note: After leaving Wests Herb was the captain-coach of the St. George Dragons club in their inaugural season 1920, he is considered one of the nation’s finest footballers of the 20th century

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Wests squad 1918, 1919 and 1920



In 1925 Wests were again runners up to South Sydney. Wests Won 6 but lost 5

Wests home ground had moved back to Pratten Park and E.Stapleton was Captain

1925 premiership table

Souths finished 10 points clear of Wests

1925 1

Wests Team. Runners up in 1925



This was the start of Souths winning 5 premiership titles in a row

1925 Gordon Stettler

Gordon Stettler

Wests highest point scorer for 1925

1925 scores


Wests win their first Premiership in 1930

Jimmy Craig was Captain/Coach of Wests in 1930.  Wests won 12 games and only lost 2 during the regular season

On the way to the title Wests beat South Sydney 9-5 in the Semi Final

Then Lost the Final to St George 6-14 but Wests were able to challenge due to the fact that they were Minor Premiers


Jimmy Craig




Game report from the SMH

On the 4th of October Wests 27 beat St George 2 in the first Grand Final in the Sydney competition


I think a lot of Wests players and supporters used De Witt’s Pills after this brilliant win


1932 Runners up again

 Jim Craig was still coach, Wild Bill Brogan was Captain and Pratten Park was Wests home ground

Wests during the regular season played 14 games. They won 11 and lost 3


Wild Bill Brogan


The car Wests supporters preferred to drive!!!

1932 2

In 1932 Wests were on the other side of the Challenge system. Souths were Minor Premiers and when Wests beat them in the Final 23 to 8

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Action shot of Wests V Souths Final. Wests 23 give Souths 8 a thrashing


Souths under the rules could challenge Wests the following week


The game was played at the old Sydney Sports Ground


The score in the Grand Final Challenge Souths Sydney 19 Wests 12

After the game it was time for a bit of father and son bonding….1932 style



Wests – from wooden spoon to premiers

Wests under new coach and captain Frank “Skinny”McMillan Wests came from the wooden spoon in 1933 and won the comp in 1934


Wests played 18 games winning 16 and losing only 2 games in the regular season

Wests and Easts finished on equal points so there was a playoff between Wests and Easts to determine who was the minor premiers


Wests 7 beat Easts 2. Having won this game it gave Wests the right to challenge if beaten in the Final


Wests beat St George in the Semi final 16 to 6

Easts 19 beat Souths 6 in the other semi but due to bad weather it was 2 weeks before Wests v Easts could be held at the SCG

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The winning Wests team of 1932



 Meanwhile on the other side of the world….our Don is at it again!!!




Only 3 years after the war  Wests win the 1948 Sydney Rugby League Comp

On September 18th at the SCG before a crowd of almost 30,000 Wests 8 beat Balmain 5


Pratten Park around 1948

Jeff Smith was the coach and Jack “Duck” Walsh was captain and the Magpies were still playing out of Pratten Park


Coach Jeff Smith with the glasses


Jack Walsh on the burst. A very young Bernie Purcell in support

Wests played 18 games winning 16 and losing only 2 during the regular season

Wests were minor premiers which was excellent because Balmain beat them in the Semi Final 8 to 7


The Challenger system saved Wests again


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Bill Horder Wests Player number 459 (1948) and Bill Brown Wests Player number 392 (1942)

Bill Brown is the number 2 and hooker for Wests

Bill Brown played at Wests between 1942 and 1949 playing 38 First Grade games

*Thanks to Steven Cameron for this newspaper clipping

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Wests also played in the Reserve Grade GF

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The winning team and a few officials !!!

Meanwhile across town big things were about to happen



It was the start of a new decade and Wests almost beat a red hot Souths at the SCG

Along the way Wests played 18 games winning 10 and losing 6 with 2 draws


Wests and Australia’s Dynamic Duo Keith Holman and Frank Stanmore

Jeff Smith was coach again and a young Frank Stanmore was Captain of Wests

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Wests 28 beat Balmain 10 in the Semi Final played on the 9th September at the SCG

Just down the road at The Old Tin Shed it was on for young and old…

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Note: I believe that the Chief won the bout with his famous Tomahawk Chop move

Souths 30 beat Newtown 4 in the other semi setting the scene for a exciting Grand Final the following Saturday

1950 2

Yappy wins the Canteen of Cutlery and 150 quid…not bad

1950 4

 Souths 21 beat the Magpies 15

Because Souths were the Minor premiers there was no Challenge to be made by Wests

Nothing to do with Wests or Rugby League…..this story was on the same page as the Rugby League GF report

1950 5



1952 was a Kangaroo Tour year and both Wests and Souths were missing some top line players

Wests had Keith Holman and Frank Stanmore on tour and Souths had Clive Churchill, Col Donohoe and Greg Harwick

During the normal season Wests played 18 games winning 14 losing 3 and 1 draw. With that record Wests won the Minor Premiership

Tom McMahon was Wests new coach  Captain was Peter McLean


Peter McLean being chaired off after the 1952 Grand Final win

Col Ratcliffe is on Peter’s left and Ron Watson on his righ


Col Ratcliffe on the right talking to Rick Wayde at the 2017 Pratten Park Magpies reunion

The Semi Final was played on the 30th of August at the SCG against Souths. Wests 10 were beaten by Souths 18

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Because Wests had won the Minor Premiership they still went into the Grand Final which was played on the 20th of September

Yes that’s right ….21 days later !!!

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Souths 25 beat North Sydney 12 in the Final to be eligible to play Wests in the Grand Final

I have tried to cover the 2 weeks leading up to the Grand Final to try and get the feeling of what was about to happen on Saturday the 20th September 1952

Wests went to Maitland to play a game against Maitland during this extended break and the drama of Dev Dines coming back to play in the Grand Final for Wests

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Dev Dines

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A little bit of drama

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The head lines read…

Saints sink “The Millionaires”

Lets see what  happened in and around September of 1958

Wests coach was ex – player Vic Hey and the Wests captain was Harry Wells

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L to R. Harry Wells, Vic Hey and Dick Poole

Wests played 18 games during the regular season winning 12 losing 6

They finished the season coming 2nd to St George

Wests played St George in the Major Semi Final on the 30th of August at the SCG before a crowd of over 38 thousand fans

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1958 =

Not a Millionaire in sight

1950 west v stg semi

 1958 9

1958 10

Pretty sure they meant Peter Dimond

1958 peter dimond

Peter Dimond in full flight…scary!!

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Because of this win Wests go straight through to the Grand Final

Below is a few stories leading up to the GF on Saturday the 13th of September

1958 norm

1958 13

L to R.  Billy Wilson, Ken Kearney, Harry Bath, Bobby Bugden with Monty Porter head shot

1958 2

Not sure about Billy Wilson but the rest of the St George pack used these products


Harry Wells and Alan Davidson at Ashfield Park


Harry and Alan at a Pratten Park Magpies function

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1950 gf west v stg.


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1958 8

Time to tune into Tiger Black on 2KY and listen to the 1958 Grand Final

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After the big build up…..disappointment for all. Except Saints of course

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Who knows maybe the Dimond switch was used one game to early??

Some good news on the day Wests won the 3rd Grade Grand Final

1958 20


1961 was the start of the 3 years of Wests playing St George in Grand Finals

Spoiler alert Saints won all three

Wests had a very good season playing in 18 games winning 15 and losing 3

Wests came second to the St George Machine

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Jack Fitzgerald counting the stitches on the ball with Ken Bray

New coach was ex -Wests player Jack Fitzgerald  and Nev Charlton was Captain

Nec Charlton SCG 1961

Nev Charlton

Saints by 1961 had won 5 straight Grand Final wins. Would Wests of 1961 be their 6th???

Wests team photo 1961 PP dressing room 2

1961 1

Wests played St George in the Major Semi Final on the 2nd of September


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1961 Wests v  StG semi final. program

Nev Charlton RIP running v ST G

Nev Charlton makes a break

SB 1961 57

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After this lose Wests played Balmain in the Final  The winner played St George in the Grand Final

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The “last minute warning” must of worked Wests won…..just!!!

1961 balmain v wests

Image of program from the private collection of Rick Fetherston

1961 7

Onto Grand Final week….1961 style

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Big Kel shortly before his death in 2015

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It does start to get a little boring…….

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The St George fans were sitting in their cars listening on their New Pressmatic Car Radio to Frank Hyde on 2SM

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For a change Wests finished 3rd in 1962 behind St George and Newtown. Wests played 18 games winning 12 losing 5 and drew 1

Coach was Jack Fitzgerald and Kel O’Shea (C.)

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Kel O’Shea .

Wests played St George in the last round of the comp at the SCG

1962 b Wests v Stg program links photo os Wests team

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The New 1962 Holden.

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Just for the record Wests played at the SCG 7 times in 1962

Because Wests came 3rd they had to play Parramatta in the Minor Semi

1962 wests v parra

Thanks to Rick Fetherston for his help obtaining these rare programs

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Gil McDougall scores 2 tries and Wests win

Newtown 9 had been beaten by St George 30 in the Major semi

  Now the Blue Bags faced Wests to see who would play St George for the J.J. Giltinan Shield

1962 wests v newtown

Thanks again Rick….pity about the autographs

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Wests have a convincing win against the Blue Bags

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Words of advice from an old Magpie

The Grand Final week in 1962 was full of surprises Nothing much has changed!!!

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Col Pearce was not Happy!!!

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Union convert George Evans, Kevin McDonald and Coach Sticks Provan

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1962 scg 2

Ken Bray gets the “Oranges” call from Arthur Summons

1962 1

L to R. Ken Bray, Denis Meaney and coach Jack Fitzgerald

1963 7

Thanks to Ken Bray for giving me permission to use these photos from his personal collection


Jim Cody and Ken Bray at the 2017 Pratten Park Magpies reunion

1962 2

L to R.  Jim Cody, Gil McDougall, Ken Bray, Jack Fitzgerald and Johnny Mowbray

Note: Not sure why Mowy was there he was not in the 1962 G.F. side ???

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No comment.

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Two changes Ken Bray for Don Parish and Garry Russell for Kel O’Shea

Arthur Summons was Captain

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1962 PD

Not even PD could change the outcome

Thats Johnny Greaves on the deck


Pat Thomas and John Greaves at a PPM reunion

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1962 Jim Cody

Just after in happened…Billy Wilson (bald head) and Young Jim Cody in front of him on the ground …

Watch the highlights on You Tube of the 1962 Grand Final

Click on link below



Little did Wests and their thousands of supporters know that 1963 would be the last time Wests were involved in a First Grade Grand Final

1963 was a Kangaroo Tour year but with the advent of modern aeroplanes there was no need for the players to leave our shores before the Grand Final was played

Wests were runners up (AGAIN) to St George

Winning 14 and losing 4 out of the 18 games played in the regular season

Jack Fitzgerald was coach and Arthur Summons was Captain

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Aerial photo of the SCG area . This is were all the drama was about to unfold

Just for the record…Top to Bottom…Syd Sports Ground, SCG No 2, The SCG and the Showground

Because Wests ran second they played St George in the Major Semi at the SCG on the 10th of August

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1962 mowy

John Mowbray.  Size did not matter to Mowy

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A little different from to-days team chats…..no baseball caps, no tatts, ……

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1963 semi

1963 semi final

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Wests now go straight to the Grand Final to play the winner of  St George and Parramatta

Saints just beat Parramatta. St George 12 Parramatta 7

Almost an Eels v Magpies Grand Final

The week of the Grand Final begins



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Even at training its a scary sight

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Chang and Mrs Raper.

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Arthur Summons talking about the 1963 Grand Final. And signing Wests jumpers with Rick Wayde

Noel Kelly and Don Hall are behind Arthur

The photo below was taken just before Wests ran onto the SCG

1963 team pic

Top L to R. Chow Hayes, Jack Gibson, Kel O’Shea, Denis Meaney, Ned, Jazza

Bottom L to R. Kevin Smyth, PD, Gil Mc Dougall, Arthur Summons, Podgy Mc Guinness, Irish Malone, Don Parish

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1963 running on to scg

The 3 men retiring from Rugby League run onto the SCG first

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1963 gf


A little about the Famous Fake tackle below….taken from the Sun Herald game report



As Jack Palance would say “Believe it or not……

Wests Grand Final History.

The Famous photo

1963 sticks and athere

From a different angle

1963 sticks

Years later

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Big Norm Provan chaired off by I think LtoR Chang, Monty Porter and Johnny King

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1963 mud

My favorite photo of the 1963 Grand Final


On a personal note my late Mum and I were standing behind the posts at the Randwick end of the SCG cheering on our beloved Magpies

It was raining, very wet and cold and the only time we could see the game was when the players came down to the Randwick end

Both mum and I agree Peter Dimond did score that try ….


1963 mum and me

* Marks the spot where Mrs Lewis and her 10 year old son Tony stood on the 24th August 1963

      Thanks for taking me mum



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