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Image: mafphotography
Image: mafphotography

Throw Back Thursday – Newtown’s Finest Hour On Its Biggest Stage

Each week thanks to Cryo, we look back at a moment in our rich history. Ahead of this second leg of the Frank Hyde Shield Clash against North Sydney this weekend, we revisit the 1943 Grand Final

NEWTOWN’S FINEST HOUR ON ITS BIGGEST STAGE

The 1943 NSWRL Grand Final delivered Newtown it’s third and final First Grade premiership. 

Newtown had actually finished the regular season minor premiers, although a loss to Norths in the first Semi-Final meant that if they wished to take the title, Newtown was required to play a grand final challenge, again against North Sydney.

The Blues hadn’t beaten Norths in their previous three encounters during that season, although two of Norths’ key players, captain-coach Hyde and hooker Frank Facer, came into the match carrying injuries. Norths had also lost star lock Harry Taylor, who was sent to Papua New Guinea for military service so suddenly that his club did not realise he wasn’t showing up until minutes before kick-off. 

The attendance on Grand Final Day 1943 set a record for the code. The day of the game coincided with an Austerity Day during which all horse and dog racing was banned throughout Australia. With no reserved seats and tickets only available at the gate, records numbers flocked to the Sydney Cricket Ground. The gates were closed an hour before kick-off, however, the sheer number of people outside the ground eventually caused them to be crashed open. The official figure recorded was 60,922, but many more people were believed to be in attendance.

Bluebags winger Sid Goodwin got things underway when he brushed off Stan Ridgway and Johnny McLachlan to score after 10 minutes. Goodwin completed his double minutes later, while tries to Jimmy Brailey and Bruce Ryan gave the Blues a 14-0 lead at the break.

North Sydney got on the board early in the second-half when McLachlan scored, while a subsequent penalty goal to Tedd Rudd made the score 14-7. However, from that point on though it was all Newtown. Expert tactics from coach Arthur Folwell neutralised Norths’ dangerous short kicking game and allowed the Bluebags to dominate possession. With second half tries to Herb Narvo, Len Smith and Frank Farrell, as well as five goals to Tom Kirk, Newtown skipped away with the game, chalking up a convincing 34-7 win.

At the time, it was the most points scored by a team during a grand final. 

Newtown 34 (Tries: Goodwin 2, Ryan, Brailey, Phillips, Narvo, Smith, Farrell. Goals: Kirk 5) defeated North Sydney 7 (Tries: McLachlan. Goals: Rudd 2). 

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Newtown and North Sydney line up for a picture prior to kick off in the 1943 NSWRFL Grand Final.
The Newtown RLFC 1943 First Grade team portrait.
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