A trip down the WARL memory lane 1948 – 1989. Part 1 of 2

This Excerpt is from the WARL Website. for full History visit http://warugbyleague.com.au/our-history/


  • The Western Australian Amateur Rugby League was formed. Jim Burns was elected President, Gordon Squires Chairman and Roy Williams Secretary.
  • Rugby League competition was formed with four Clubs involved were Fremantle, Perth, South Perth and Cottesloe. The first match was played on the 17th April at Perth Esplanade between Fremantle Districts and Perth Districts. Fremantle Rugby League Club and South Perth Rugby League Club were formed.
  • Fremantle Districts – Fullback: J McGuiness, Wings: F Johnson & B Brown, Centres: J Whitley & T Sullivan, Five Eight: J Sweet, Halfback: J Cousins, Lock: G Washington, Second Row: D Tonkin & R Owen, Front Row: A Matheson & A Webster, Hooker: K Allen.
  • Perth Districts – Fullback: J Williams, Wings: A Gleaves & D Cort, Centres: S Cohen & J Carrol, Five Eight: Bob Chester, Halfback: R Moore, Lock: E Warner, Second Row: F Mike & B Wells, Front Row: R Lees & D Fogarty, Hooker: G Dixon.
  • Five Clubs played Rugby League in the initial year – Perth, South Perth, Applecross, Fremantle & Cottesloe. 1st Grade: 4 teams, Premier Grade: 4 teams, Thirds: 7 teams


  • Canning Bulldogs & Victoria Park were formed.
  • Junior Rugby League’s first game was played at Peet Park between Applecross and Eastern Suburbs on the 28th May, 1949. The result was 3 all draw.


  • The first international was staged in Perth when Great Britain stopped over on the way to Sydney.


  • North Beach club was formed. The French came over to play.


  • 62 juniors teams competed in the 1953 Junior Carnival, including teams from the mid week Catholic College Competition.
  • Rugby Union clubs Palmyra and Nedlands changes codes to Rugby League.
  • A second division competition was formed comprising of teams from Southern Districts, Mt. Pleasant, Balmoral, Canning Districts, Northern Suburbs, Midland, Hellenic, Azzurri and North Beach.
  • Due to the lack of enclosed grounds for the finals, the WARL acquired their own ground, Higham Park. Higham Park was the rear section of the Claremont Showgrounds.


  • Plans were approved to build a stadium at the Junction of Stoneham Street and Great Eastern Highway, Belmont. The initial costs for earthworks, drainage, change rooms, turnstiles, fencing etc was twenty five thousand pounds.


  • League headquarters at Belmont Oval was officially opened by the Australian Rugby League President, Jersey Flegge on the 15th of May 1955. The game played that day was Western Australian versus France.
  • A second game was held against the French.


  • NT came and played three games against WA, WA won two out of three games.


  • Great Britain played another game in Perth against WA and won 66-5 at the WACA.


  • Great Britain played in Perth.


  • A first grade Sydney side, Manly-Warringah traveled west to play. On Friday, 21st August 1964 the French Rugby League touring team visited Western Australia for the third time. The Junior League consisted of 10 clubs (23 teams). Which were picked from approx. 500 boys ranging from the Under 16′s to the midgets. The Clovelly Junior Rugby League touring party arrived in W.A. for 11 days and played three games against W.A. Juniors.


  • Darwin invited WA to play against them in Darwin to celebrate their 100th Anniversary, WA won 23-19.


  • Pilbara Rugby League is formed


  • Goldfields Rugby League is formed


  • WA Played England.
  • After 20 years Belmont Oval lease was terminated with a cash settlement being received.


  • The W.A.R.L moved into the new three million dollar Canning Central complex. The three round qualifying series was replaced by a two round competition. First Grade moved up to ten teams with the new coming of Nollamara/Balga and Wanneroo. W.A was introduced into the nationwide Amco Cup and W.A. State Team defeated Northern Territory by 23 to 18. Newman’s Stirling Committee was organised. West Pilbara and Goldfields have teams.


  • Newman representative team traveled to Perth.


  • Newman’s first inter-town match was played between Newman and Port Hedland.


  • Newman Representative side plays a combined Goldfields Association team.
  • Full time administrator appointed and new registered office in Hay Street, Perth.


  • Joint premiership declared between Fremantle and Mosman Cottesloe for the Grand Final, scores locked at 28-all at full-time and an extra 20 minutes of extra time failed to separate the sides. With players constantly going down with cramp in the intense heat, both captains refused to play a further five minutes of extra time and the League was unable to schedule a replay.


  • Northern Territory came down to play WA for the Crestwood Inntown Hotel Interstate Challenge.


  • Northern Territories and Goldfields traveled to Perth to play.


  • Belmont Steelers were formed when Belmont and Bayswater Kiwis combined and are the first privately owned Rugby League Club in WA. Perth City played against Tweed Heads Seagulls. Newman won the Emu Export Pilbara Championship against Port Hedland. The national Under 15′s carnival is held at Ken Allen Field.


  • The South Coast Raiders entered the competition.


  • Armadale Rugby League Club was added. Each Club was requested to supply a Development Officer to promote and encourage Junior Players. Laurie Ord was presented the Ron Hudson Medal for his contribution to Rugby League. Canterbury-Bankstown and Canberra Rugby League came to Perth. Balmain played Parramatta at the WACA for the Panasonic Cup.

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