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Rugby League Saints - Premierships 1956/66

Discussion in 'St George-Illawarra Dragons' started by S J, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    I saw this and thought some might enjoy the read.

    Its a while ago - but in the days where you played the game AND had a job.
     
  2. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    1956

    [​IMG]
    By SCG Trust

    This year's NRL Heritage match at the SCG on Sunday 20 March will celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the last premiership in sequence by St George.
    Eleven straight. Think about that for a moment as we wonder if it's now possible to win two in a row.
    Yes, it was a black-and-white world of grainy pictures and grainier memories, but those golden years when mighty St George ruled the SCG should never be forgotten.
    It was an era when the game’s stars played hard and lived hard - and the mighty Saints ruled Sydney like no team before or since.
    As the great Johnny Raper said in a Sunday Telegraph interview in 2011: “It was playing for the Dragons … that’s what made you feel invincible.”
    To celebrate the occasion we're counting down all 11 of the Saints' premierships in the lead up to next Sunday, beginning with their 18-12 triumph over Balmain in 1956.

    End of an era
    The 1956 season was the end of an era for South Sydney and the start of something special for St George.
    Balmain finished the 'Souths dynasty' of seven consecutive deciders with a 36-33 win in the preliminary final to set up a clash with the Saints the following week.
    A then record crowd of 61,987 filled the SCG to witness a gutsy display by the Red V.
    Merv Lees of the Saints injured his shoulder and was forced to the sideline, leaving St George a man down for the majority of the game.
    After a back and forth first half, St George took a 13-5 lead over Balmain after a Kevin Brown try.
    Minutes later they were in again following a barnstorming run by the great Norm Provan - a sight which would become all too familiar in the coming years.
    The courageous 12-man St George side went on to defeat Balmain and kick-start the greatest premiership run in the game's history.
    Head coach Norm Tipping had led the Dragons in remarkable season which featured 15 wins, four losses and one draw but was controversially ousted at the end of the year.
    Nonetheless, he laid an important foundation for their remarkable run.

    St George Dragons 18. Tries: O'Brien, Bugden, Brown, Melville. Goals: Fleming (3).
    Balmain Tigers 12. Tries: Staunton (2). Goals: Barnes (3).
     
  3. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    1957

    [​IMG]

    By SCG Trust
    This year's NRL Heritage Round at the SCG on Sunday 20 March will celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the last premiership in sequence by St George.
    Eleven straight. Think about that for a moment as we wonder if it's now possible to win two in a row.
    Yes, it was a black-and-white world of grainy pictures and grainier memories, but those golden years when mighty St George ruled the SCG should never be forgotten.
    It was an era when the game’s stars played hard and lived hard - and the mighty Saints ruled Sydney like no team before or since.
    As the great Johnny Raper said in a Sunday Telegraph interview in 2011: “It was playing for the Dragons . . . that’s what made you feel invincible.”
    To celebrate the occasion, we're counting down all 11 of the Saints' premierships.

    A humbling victory
    The 50th season of rugby league was another special one for St George.
    They humbled Manly 31-9 in the 1957 grand final in front of 54,399 fans at the SCG.
    The Sea Eagles trailed by just five points at the break but were unable to close the gap.
    Their captain George Hunter was unconscious after brutal blow and St George quickly pounced, scoring two tries in the first three minutes of the second half.
    Veteran Harry Bath iced the victory for the Saints by kicking eight goals for a record individual tally of 16 points.
    Dragons captain-coach Ken Kearney had led his side to their second premiership in as many years and as it was later revealed, played the latter part of the season with a broken jaw.
    Norm Provan was again a standout for St George, but his efforts in the first two deciders of their incredible run was only the beginning of his contribution to the red and white.
    After the 1957 grand final, Manly's 27 year old coach Ken Arthurson praised Provan along with the rest of the Saints' big men.
    "The sheer physical strength of the St George team is in itself a formidable thing to overcome," he said.
    "Our fellows tried everything, but St. George had so much more to give. Those big fellows are so clever."

    St George Dragons 31. Tries: Clay (2), Ryan, Fifield, Lumsden. Goals: Bath (8).
    Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 9. Tries: Burke. Goals: Willey (3).
     
  4. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    1958 - Colour

    [​IMG]

    St George beat Western Suburbs 20-9 in front of a bumper crowd at the SCG to take out their third premiership in a row.
    Wests were coming off a 10-man victory over Manly the previous week but had few answers to the Dragons who ran away with a 20-9 win on the hallowed turf.

    Again it was a second half masterclass by the Saints that did the job.
    Leading 5-2 at the change of ends, St George piled on three tries in the final 40 minutes, while Brian 'Poppa' Clay produced a man of the match defensive display to celebrate his birthday.
    It was a remarkable turnaround for St George, who had been mauled 34-10 in the preliminary final against Balmain just two weeks early at the SCG.
    The Sydney Morning Herald recorded the match as the most 'savage' game of the year, with punches and high shots a plenty in a brutal decider.
    Despite being penalised 20 times to Wests' nine, St George ultimately won the fight and their third straight premiership.
    Norm Provan proved his worth by scoring two tries, including an intercept at the death to send the partisan SCG crowd of 62,283 into jubilation.
    This was history in the making.

    St George Dragons 20. Tries: N. Provan (2), Bugden, Lumsden. Goals: Bath (4).
    Western Suburbs Magpies 9. Tries: Russell. Goals: Russell (3).
     
  5. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    1959

    [​IMG]

    The names Reg Gasnier and Johnny Raper pretty much sum up St George's 1959 season.
    The two young guns helped the Saints record 17 wins, one draw and not a single loss in one of the most dominant years in rugby league history

    At barely 20 years old, future Immortals Gasnier and Raper burst onto the scene for St George and played a key part in their undefeated season which culminated in a 20-0 win over Manly and their fourth successive premiership.
    It was a fierce grand final.

    Harry Bath from the Saints targeted Rex Mossop who was carrying a broken cheekbone.
    The two eventually exchanged blows and were both sent off by the referee nine minutes before full time.
    Following the game Bath rejoined his teammates on the field, with a cigarette in hand.
    Peter Provan lined up alongside his brother Norm for the grand final and lived up to the family name, playing on with a broken nose and collarbone at the SCG in front of a crowd of 49,457.
    St George capitalised on an 11-0 lead by scoring three tries in the second half.

    The Dragons became the fifth and last team to go through a season undefeated.

    St George Dragons 20. Tries: Lumsden (3), Graham, Weekes, N Provan. Goals: Bath (1).
    Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 0.
     
  6. stanleyg

    stanleyg Well-Known Member

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    :bag:There was a movie titled " we will always have paris" and in the case of long suffering Dragons fans we will always have 56 -66 and can rest easy knowing that to beat us they had to change the rules of the game.
    Of course there are other clubs struggling to even get a premiership or two so maybe their day will come but hopefully not at our expense:happy:
     
  7. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    1960

    [​IMG]

    By SCG Trust
    Eastern Suburbs had made their first grand final in 15 years but the moment was quickly spoiled by St George, who ran out the locals 31-6 at the SCG.

    Another strong crowd of 53,156 came through the turnstiles to watch the St George machine

    Reg Gasnier scored the first two tries of the day with his trademark turn of speed.
    In the end, the Saints' star power proved too much for Easts, who crumbled in defence as the backline led by Reg Gasnier ran them in circles.
    Kevin Ryan (St George) and Brian Wright (Easts) were sent off for fighting as the Dragons again outmuscled their opposition on the biggest stage.
    However it was the speed of their backs that did most of the damage.
    The Saints ran in seven tries, five of which were converted by Brian Graham.
    Captain-coach Ken Kearney became the oldest player to appear in a grand final at 36 and also equalled Jack Rayner's (South Sydney) record of five premierships won as a captain.
    At this point, St George were no longer just the big men of the competition, but a formidable force in rugby league that combined muscle, speed and class across the park.

    St George Dragons 31. Tries: Gasnier (2), King (2), Bugden, Brown, Provan. Goals: Graham (5).
    Eastern Suburbs Roosters 6. Goals: Landers (3).
     
  8. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    1961

    [​IMG]

    By SCG Trust
    St George earned a prominent place in rugby league history with their 22-0 whitewash of Wests in the 1961 grand final at the SCG.

    It marked their sixth straight premiership, bettering Souths' tally of five between 1925 and 1929.

    Saints' winger Eddie Lumsden scored a hat-trick in front of a crowd of 61,196.
    It was Wests' best chance yet to end the St George run, having beaten them 7-5 a week earlier and on for-and-against.
    However the might of the Red V and scattered showers on the day set Wests up for defensive battle they just couldn't win.
    The Saints were up 15-0 under half an hour with fullback Brian Graham kicking five goals to put the match well and truly out of reach shortly into the second half.
    It was also Bob Bugden's last match for St George. He had featured in all six wins to this point.

    St George Dragons 22. Tries: Lumsden (3), King. Goals: Graham (5).
    Western Suburbs Magpies 0.
     
  9. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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  10. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    1962

    [​IMG]

    By SCG Trust
    In miserable weather St George played the closest grand final of their remarkable run, beating Wests 9-6 in front a crowd of 41,000 at the SCG.

    Norm Provan was crushed by Jim Cody and had to get stiches at half time, leaving forward Billy Wilson to address the team, who were sucking on pineapples at the break.
    He told his gang not to go out there and 'square accounts' after their captain had been left bruised earlier in the game.

    But Wilson had his own agenda and was sent off in the first minute of the second half for singling out Cody, leaving St George a man down for the remainder of the grand final .
    However Provan's return from the blood bin was enough to see Saints through, with the great Johnny Raper covering both lock and five-eighth in the latter stages of the game.
    It marked St George's first premiership under 29 year old captain-coach Norm Provan, who took over from Ken Kearney at the end of the 1961 season.
    Provan was the natural selection, a relentless competitor, fitness fanatic and one of the finest defence men in rugby league at the time.

    St George Dragons 9. Tries: King. Goals: McDonald (3).
    Western Suburbs Magpies 6. Goals: Bray (3).
     
  11. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    1963

    [​IMG]

    By SCG Trust
    Torrential rain in the week leading up to the 1963 grand final turned the SCG into a mud-bath, but it didn't stop a then record crowd of 69,860 from turning up.
    St George created history by taking out the premiership in first grade, as well as the reserve and third grade titles.
    For the fifth and final time in their remarkable run, Saints would meet Western Suburbs in the decider.

    The St George jerseys didn't stay white for long, with players sliding in the slick ooze which covered the pitch, while St John's ambulance men patrolled the sideline with buckets of water to wash the mud from their eyes.
    Controversy marred the decider. Referee Darcy Lawler awarded St George bolter Johnny King a contentious try after he continued running following what appeared to be a complete tackle.
    Lawler, who had announced his retirement before the game, also disallowed a try to Wests' Peter Dimond who was believed to have been held up over the line.

    In total St George were penalised just seven times to Wests' 18.
    However the match will be most fondly remembered by the photo taken by legendary Fairfax photographer John O'Gready, who snapped rival captains Norm Provan and Arthur Simmons embracing.
    It has since been dubbed 'The Gladiators'.

    This Sunday the St George Illawarra Dragons and South Sydney Rabbitohs will celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the last premiership in sequence by Saints at the SCG.

    St George Dragons 8 Tries: Evans, King. Goals: Gasnier (1).
    Western Suburbs Magpies 3 Tries: McDougall.
     
  12. stanleyg

    stanleyg Well-Known Member

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    Nice to see the pic of Billy Smith.
    Good to see him hanging in there as it seems only a few years ago in one of his many jobs he did a delivery to my house and still looked fit enough to hold a mallee bull out for wee:bag:
     
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  13. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  14. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    1964:

    [​IMG]
    By SCG Trust

    If ever St George needed one of their nine lives in their historic run, it was during the 1964 grand final against Balmain at the SCG.
    A crowd of 61,369 came to witness history repeat itself, as the mighty Saints crawled back a first half deficit to win their ninth consecutive premiership on the hallowed turf.
    For the first time in their winning streak St George were down at halftime.

    With the breeze at their tail Balmain led 4-2 as a sea of supporters watched anxiously from the pavilions and all around the celebrated ground.
    It was shaping up to be an upset for the ages. Saints had lost their star import Dick Huddart to a knee injury the night before but it would be Johhny King that would get them out trouble.
    The incumbent winger scored a try in the tenth minute of the second half following a Balmain kick which failed to find the sideline.
    Graeme Langlands went on to convert the try - the only of the match.

    Penalties were traded in the latter stages of the game but Saints would end the match victorious.

    St George Dragons 11. Tries: King. Goals: Langlands (4).
    Balmain Tigers 6. Goals: Barnes (3).
     
  15. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    [​IMG]
    Picture: John Veage
     
  16. stanleyg

    stanleyg Well-Known Member

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    Slight understatement but Billy is a Legend and I always thought he may have had another season in him when the Dragons demoted him from first grade but while he was there he made a big difference.
     
  17. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    1965

    [​IMG]

    By SCG Trust
    Few sports records last forever but it's difficult to imagine a precious few, like Don Bradman's Test average or the SCG record crowd, ever being overtaken.
    An estimated 90,000 fans line the fences, roofs and garbage bins at the SCG to catch a glimpse of the 1965 rugby league grand final between St George and South Sydney.

    The official total was 78,056 - an incredible 30,000 more than any attendance for a sporting or concert at the venue since.
    Police had to shut the gates at 1pm, leaving hundreds to climb the adjoining showgrounds to see what they could of one of the grandest premiership deciders in the game's history.
    It was captain-coach Norm Provan's final game in red and white as he became the only clubman to have played in all 10 grand final wins.
    In a titanic struggle, St George held off an up and coming Souths side two tries to nil.
    Esteemed sports writer Ian Heads was there as a cadet journalist.
    "If great sporting grounds have a beating heart, the Sydney Cricket Ground's ticker would surely have skipped that day," he said.
    "Ahead lay the most extraordinary, dangerous and overwhelming 24 hours in the ground's long history.
    It was the perfect storm - the two glamour sides of long seasons matched in ultimate conflict, jousting for the title of 'Champions of the League'.
    This Sunday the St George Illawarra Dragons and South Sydney Rabbitohs will celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the last premiership in sequence by Saints at the SCG.

    St George Dragons 12. Tries: Smith, King. Goals: Langlands (3).
    South Sydney Rabbitohs 8. Goals: Longbottom (3), Simms (1).
     
  18. stanleyg

    stanleyg Well-Known Member

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    It was a top game. The fans were really packed in. They were on the roof of the stands and any vantage point they could find. I saw some of the game hanging off a wire dividing fence. In those days the car show was on next door so it was a pretty crowded Moore park back then.
     
  19. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    1965

    [​IMG]

    By SCG Trust
    Few sports records last forever but it's difficult to imagine a precious few, like Don Bradman's Test average or the SCG record crowd, ever being overtaken.
    An estimated 90,000 fans line the fences, roofs and garbage bins at the SCG to catch a glimpse of the 1965 rugby league grand final between St George and South Sydney.

    The official total was 78,056 - an incredible 30,000 more than any attendance for a sporting or concert at the venue since.
    Police had to shut the gates at 1pm, leaving hundreds to climb the adjoining showgrounds to see what they could of one of the grandest premiership deciders in the game's history.
    It was captain-coach Norm Provan's final game in red and white as he became the only clubman to have played in all 10 grand final wins.
    In a titanic struggle, St George held off an up and coming Souths side two tries to nil.
    Esteemed sports writer Ian Heads was there as a cadet journalist.
    "If great sporting grounds have a beating heart, the Sydney Cricket Ground's ticker would surely have skipped that day," he said.
    "Ahead lay the most extraordinary, dangerous and overwhelming 24 hours in the ground's long history.
    It was the perfect storm - the two glamour sides of long seasons matched in ultimate conflict, jousting for the title of 'Champions of the League'.

    This Sunday the St George Illawarra Dragons and South Sydney Rabbitohs will celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the last premiership in sequence by Saints at the SCG.

    St George Dragons 12. Tries: Smith, King. Goals: Langlands (3).
    South Sydney Rabbitohs 8. Goals: Longbottom (3), Simms (1).


    Game Day Activations

    The fixture will be recognising and celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1966 Premiership - the last in the world record run of 11 Premierships between 1956-1966.

    The Dragons will have a “History Walk” activation with different pieces of memorabilia celebrating the historic 11 Premiership wins between 1956-66 at the Victor Trumper Concourse (Level 1).
     
  20. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    1966:

    [​IMG]

    By SCG Trust

    St George captured their 11th consecutive grand final victory with a powerful 23-4 triumph over Balmain at the SCG.

    The game was won at halftime with the Saints leading 14-4 thanks to three tries early on, with Graeme Langlands going on to kick seven goals in total.

    The 1966 grand final was their eleventh consecutive premiership and the final game of the unlimited tackle era, with a four tackle rule introduced the following season.
    It marked the end or a remarkable era for St George, and the start of a new dimension for the game of rugby league.
    Following the match, St George captain-coach Ian Walsh, who took over from Norm Provan, was chaired from the field by his teammates.
    He had completed a rare double by also leading Australia to their Ashes success against England earlier in the year.
    Johnny Raper was retrospectively named Clive Churchill Medallist as the best player on the day, as St George kept a grand final opponent tryless for the seventh time during their improbable run.
    It was a decade when the game's stars played hard and lived hard - and the mighty Saints ruled Sydney like no team before or since.
    As the great Raper said in a Sunday Telegraph interview in 2011: "It was playing for the Dragons ... that's what made you feel invincible."

    Between 1956 and 1966 St George won 183 of their 222 matches, scoring an average of 23 points per match. (So over 80% of their games and 23 per game - would probably be enough to win now - considering tries are worth an extra point).

    St George 23. Tries: Pollard, Huddart, Ryan. Goals: Langlands (7).
    Balmain Tigers 4. Goals: Barnes (2).
     

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