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Sydney Club Rugby History

Discussion in 'Club Rugby' started by Hugh Jarse, Aug 10, 2016.

  1. Hugh Jarse Rocky Elsom (76)

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    Sydney Club Rugby
    IN THE BEGINNING – 1860s to 1899

    Club rugby in Sydney commenced some time before 1865. Sydney University Football Club (SUFC) - the oldest existing rugby club in Australia - has traditionally claimed to have been established in 1863. There is no archival evidence for this. Games may or may not have been played by SUFC in 1863 and 1864 but there is no record of these.

    Three clubs, University, Sydney Football Club and the Australian Club, are reported as playing in 1865 which was the first “recorded season” (articles in newspapers and journals) of rugby football in Sydney.

    A union (the Southern Rugby Football Union) to control "football" in the colony of NSW was formed in 1874. Ten clubs were present on 24 June 1874 at the inaugural meeting of the Southern Rugby Football Union (latter renamed the “New South Wales Rugby Football Union” in 1892).

    The 10 clubs present at that first 1874 meeting were:
    5 Metropolitan clubs:
    Balmain
    University
    Victoria (located in Darlington)
    Wallaroo
    Waratah
    2 Country clubs:
    Goulburn
    Mudgee
    3 Schools:
    Camden College (Glebe)
    Newington College (then in Silverwater now at Stanmore)
    The King’s School (Parramatta)

    Although there was a Rugby Union from 1874, there was no centrally controlled competition until the Gardiner Challenge Cup was introduced in 1883. Prior to that, clubs organised their own games by arrangement between themselves. Not all clubs played each other during a season.

    Clubs were seen as "senior" and "junior" clubs. Your status could change from season to season. A "Premier Club of the Colony" was declared, but this was not necessarily the best performing club. This “cosmopolitan” [ie from all parts of Sydney] club system lasted from 1874 to 1899. The Southern Rugby Football Union changed its name on 26 April 1892 to the New South Wales Rugby Football Union (NSWRFU). A Metropolitan Branch of the NSWRFU (more commonly known as the Metropolitan Rugby Union) was formed on 5 March 1897 to take over the running of the Sydney club competition. The resolution to establish this metropolitan union was carried by the NSWRFU in September 1896.


    Gardiner Challenge Cup 1883-88.

    1883: (mixture of senior & junior clubs) Redfern, University, Wallaroo, Newtown, Burwood, Oriental, Glebe, Balmain, St Leonards, Parramatta, Arfoma, Paddington.

    1884: (mixture of senior & junior clubs) Burwood,University, Redfern, Balmain, Arfoma, St Leonards, Newtown, Parramatta Union, Parramatta, Waverley, Glebe, Summer Hill.

    From 1885, clubs are shown in order of results. "Senior" grade clubs only are now shown.

    1885:University, Wallaroo, Burwood, Arfoma, Balmain, Redfern, Newtown, St Leonards.

    1886: Gordon, University, Arfoma, Wallaroo, Burwood, Balmain, Rosedale, Balmain Wellington, Redfern, Glebe, Newtown.

    1887: University, Burwood, Arfoma, Wallaroo, Newtown, Rosedale, Gordon, Balmain, Balmain Wellington, Glebe.

    1888: University, Arfoma, Rosedale, Wallaroo, Newtown, Balmain, Balmain Wellington, Burwood.

    1889: University "A", Strathfield, Arfoma, Zealandia, Rosedale, Elvira, Randwick, Double Bay, University "B", Parramatta, Wallaroo, Cammeray, Newtown, Strathfield Rovers (withdrew).

    RAS Shield 1890-93

    1890: University "A", Strathfield, Parramatta, Arfoma, Sydney, Wallaroo, Rosedale, University "B", Zealandia, Randwick, Elvira.

    1891: University "A", Strathfield, Wallaroo, Zealandia, Sydney, Randwick, Parramatta, University "B", Rosedale (retired), Arfoma (retired).

    1892: Wallaroo, University "A", Wentworth, Randwick, Zealandia, Wentworth, Parramatta, Strathfield, University "B", Sydney (retired), Balmain (retired).

    1893: University, Randwick, Wallaroo, Parramatta, Wentworth, Pirate, Carlton.


    1894: Wallaroo, University, Pirate, Randwick, Paddington, Parramatta, Glebe.

    1895: Randwick, University, Pirate, Wallaroo, Wentworth, Paddington Electorate, Balmain.

    1896: Randwick, Wentworth, Wallaroo, University, Pirate, Paddington (withdrew).

    1897: Randwick, Pirate, Wentworth, University, Wallaroo, Paddington.

    1898: Pirate, Sydney, Randwick, University, Wallaroo, Paddington.

    1899: Wallaroo, Randwick, Sydney, Marrickville, Pirate, Buccaneer, University, Parramatta.

    DISTRICT COMPETITION – 1900 until WW1

    The NSWRFU/MRU decided to conduct a “District Competition” from 1900 replacing the existing “Cosmopolitan” one. Initially it was intended that the district competition would start as from the 1899 season. However as there was a British tour to Australia in 1899, the start was postponed to 1900 so as not to interfere with preparations for that tour.

    The 8 clubs that made up the inaugural 1900 “District Competition” were:
    • Balmain District
    • Eastern Suburbs District
    • Glebe District
    • Newtown District
    • North Sydney District
    • South Sydney District
    • University Football Club (ie Sydney University)
    • Western Suburbs District.
    The competition ran from 1900 to 1914, stopping during World War I (ie 1915 to 1918), and recommencing in 1919.

    A club competition has continued to the present day (under the auspices of either NSWRU, Metropolitan RU or Sydney Rugby Union).

    Cubs are in alphabetical order. (Clubs shown in bold are making their debut or changed their name. Underlined clubs are returning.)

    1900-04 (8 clubs): Balmain, Eastern Suburbs, Glebe, Newtown, North Sydney, South Sydney, University, Western Suburbs.

    1905 (9 clubs): Balmain, Eastern Suburbs, Glebe, Newtown, North Sydney, South Sydney, Sydney, University, Western Suburbs.

    1906-1910 (11): Balmain, Eastern Suburbs, Glebe, Manly, Newtown, North Sydney, St George, South Sydney, Sydney, University, Western Suburbs.

    1911-1913 (10): Balmain, Eastern Suburbs, Glebe, Manly, Newtown, North Sydney, St George, South Sydney, University, Western Suburbs.

    1914 (11): Balmain, Eastern Suburbs, Glebe, Manly, Newtown, North Sydney, St George, Randwick, South Sydney, University, Western Suburbs.

    AFTER WORLD WAR I

    The NSWRU changed its by-laws on 11 March 1919 to disband the Metropolitan Union and allow the NSW Union to again directly take over the running of the club competition. The MRU had operated from 1897 to 1918. There was no official competitions between 1915 to 1918 due to World War I).

    On recommencement of competition after World War I in 1919, only 6 clubs competed:

    1919 (6): Cambridge (based in Newtown), Eastern Suburbs, Glebe-Balmain, Manly, University, Y.M.C.A.

    1920 (8): Eastern Suburbs, Glebe-Balmain, Manly, Mosman, Newtown, North Sydney, University, Western Suburbs.

    1921 (8): Eastern Suburbs, Glebe-Balmain, GPS Old Boys, Manly, Newtown, North Sydney, University, Western Suburbs.

    1922 (8): Eastern Suburbs, Glebe-Balmain, GPS Old Boys, Manly, North Sydney, Petersham, University, Western Suburbs.

    1923-24 (9): Eastern Suburbs, Glebe-Balmain, GPS Old Boys, Manly, North Sydney, Randwick, University, Western Suburbs, YMCA.

    1925-27 (8): Eastern Suburbs, Glebe-Balmain, Manly, North Sydney, Randwick, University, Western Suburbs, YMCA.

    1928 (9): Eastern Suburbs, Glebe-Balmain, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Randwick, St George, University, Western Suburbs, YMCA.

    1929 (10): Eastern Suburbs, Glebe-Balmain, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Police, Randwick, St George, University, Western Suburbs, YMCA.

    1930 (8): Eastern Suburbs, Glebe-Balmain, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Randwick, St George, University, Western Suburbs.

    1931-33 (8): Eastern Suburbs, Drummoyne, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Randwick, St George, University, Western Suburbs.

    1934-35 (9): Eastern Suburbs, Drummoyne, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Randwick, St George, University, Western Suburbs.

    1936-46 (10): Eastern Suburbs, Drummoyne, Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Randwick, St George, University, Western Suburbs.

    1947-51 (11): Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Drummoyne, Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Randwick, St George, University, Western Suburbs.

    1952-65 (10): Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Drummoyne, Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Randwick, St George, University.

    1966-70 (12): Eastern Suburbs, Drummoyne, Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Randwick, St George, Sydney University, University of NSW, Western Suburbs.

    1971-75 (14): Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Drummoyne, Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Port Hacking, Randwick, St George, Sydney University, University of NSW, Warringah, Western Suburbs.

    1976-78 (16): Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Drummoyne, Gordon, Hornsby, Macquarie University, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Port Hacking, Randwick, St George, Sydney University, University of NSW, Warringah, Western Suburbs.

    PROMOTION AND RELEGATION

    A Second Division was established in 1962. When a Third Division was established in 1979 promotion and relegation between divisions was introduced. It lasted from 1979 to 1986.

    1979 (10): Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Randwick, University of NSW, Warringah, Western Suburbs.

    1980 (10): Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Randwick, St George, Sydney University, Warringah.

    1981 (10): Gordon, Hornsby, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Randwick, St George, Sydney University, Western Suburbs, Warringah.

    1982 (10): Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Parramatta, Randwick, St George, Sydney University, Western Suburbs, Warringah.

    1983 (10): Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Port Hacking, Parramatta, Randwick, St George, Western Suburbs, Warringah

    1984 (10): Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Port Hacking, Parramatta, Randwick, St George, Sydney University, Western Suburbs, Warringah

    1985 (10):Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Port Hacking, Parramatta, Randwick, Sydney University, Western Suburbs, Warringah

    1986 (10):Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Parramatta, Randwick, St George, Sydney University, Western Suburbs, Warringah

    "NSW CHAMPIONSHIP CLUBS"

    In 1987, the ten clubs that had been in the 1986 First Division affiliated directly with the NSWRU leaving the Sydney RU. The dispute was over promotion and relegation and a proposed restructure of the competition. This "break-away" lasted for two years (1987 and 1988).

    1987-88 (10): Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Parramatta, Randwick, St George, Sydney University, Warringah, Western Suburbs.

    "CHAMPIONSHIP CLUBS" RETURN

    1989 (10): Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Parramatta, Randwick, Southern Districts, Sydney University, Warringah, Western Suburbs.

    1990 (11): Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Randwick, Southern Districts, Sydney University, Warringah, Western Suburbs.

    1991-93 (12): Drummoyne, Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Randwick, Southern Districts, Sydney University, Warringah, Western Suburbs.

    1994 (12): UTS-Drummoyne, Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Randwick, Southern Districts, Sydney University, Warringah, Western Suburbs.
    EXPANSION

    1995-98 (14): Canberra (Kookaburras), Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Newcastle, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Penrith, Randwick, Southern Districts, Sydney University, Warringah, West Harbour.

    1999 (14): Canberra Vikings, Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Newcastle, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Penrith, Randwick, Southern Districts, Sydney University, Warringah, West Harbour.

    2000 (13): Canberra Vikings, Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Penrith, Randwick, Southern Districts, Sydney University, Warringah, West Harbour.

    PREMIER RUGBY

    2001-03 (12): Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Penrith, Randwick, Southern Districts, Sydney University, Warringah, West Harbour.

    2004-05 (13): Canberra Vikings, Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Penrith, Randwick, Southern Districts, Sydney University, Warringah, West Harbour.

    2006 (12): Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Penrith, Randwick, Southern Districts, Sydney University, Warringah, West Harbour.

    2007 (13): Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Gordon, Illawarra, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Penrith, Randwick, Southern Districts, Sydney University, Warringah, West Harbour.

    2008- (12): Eastern Suburbs, Eastwood, Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, Parramatta, Penrith, Randwick, Southern Districts, Sydney University, Warringah, West Harbour.
  2. Hugh Jarse Rocky Elsom (76)

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    A great read from the Rats Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/warringahrats/posts/1061534617191795

    ::::: THE SHUTE SHIELD - A TALE OF TWO SHUTES :::::
    The Shute Shield. A prize many clubs covet but only one can win each year. Club Rugby's premiership trophy is well known to many, it's name rolling off our tongues each and every season. But have you ever wondered just why it's called the Shute Shield?

    Like most of Rugby's greatest prizes, NSW's Premiership trophy.or more appropriately Shield..has an interesting, if somewhat tragic history. And it is somewhat fitting that we explore the history of the Shute Shield in the lead up to this year's Grand Final - one that ironically features Eastwood, a club that will forever remain woven into the very fabric of the Shute Shield story.

    This is a tale of two Shutes - Jack and Robert. Ironically, though sharing an unusual surname, they were not related but as fate would have it, they would forever be tied together through their passion for the sport and ultimately one tragic incident.

    In an article that featured in the 'Stock and Station Journal' in the lead up to the NSW v Springboks clash of 1921, Jack Shute was described as "diminutive, ginger and plucky, afraid to tackle nothing and a straight runner."
    Jack Shute was an old boy from Parramatta High School who was playing Junior Rugby in the Eastwood district.

    With WW1 coming to an end, Rugby was looking to restart the local competition and by 1919 the young winger was selected to join a newly formed "Western Sydney" team that was to compete in the Sydney Premiership.

    Jack Shute showed great promise..a solid defender with a penchant for scoring tries. It wasn't long before he caught the eyes of NSW selectors and joined the state team in 1920. Though narrowly missing selection in the team to face the All Blacks in 1921, a spate of injuries to the team saw Jack Shute recalled to the side that ultimately went on to record the best NSW touring record against New Zealand (winning ten out of twelve matches). It was his performance on that tour that saw Jack Shute selected to join the NSW team that was to play a trial match against a second squad of players, also vying for selection..this second team was colloquially known as "The Rest". The game was played on the King's birthday holiday, Monday the 5th June 1922 - interestingly at Manly Oval.

    Selected into "The Rest" side was a young lad called Robert Shute. He was not related to Jack Shute. Robert Shute was an old boy of Sydney Grammar School. Upon leaving school he was employed as an Engineer's Apprentice but he, like many young men at the time, enlisted in the Australian Army on 19th April 1917 just three months after he turned 18.

    He was assigned to the 35th Reinforcements of the 8th Field Artillery Brigade as a Gunner. War diaries of the 8th FAB tells of the constant bombardment of their positions and exposure to gas warfare. Robert Shute ultimately ended up in a hospital in Italy before finally returning to Australia and his post war life on 24 November 1919. By 1922 he had enrolled at Sydney University, studying Engineering and making a name for himself as a sturdy prop of great promise in their rugby team.

    Both men could not have known that following that fateful match, their lives would forever become intertwined.
    The trial game was played on Monday the 5th June at Manly Oval, then considered to be the premier rugby ground in Sydney. Towards the end of the first half Robert Shute had possession when he was tackled by Jack Shute. Robert fell heavily, hitting his head on the ground. He initially tried to get up but fell back to the ground unconscious. An ambulance was called and Robert Shute was taken to hospital.

    The game continued without any of the players knowing the true extent of Robert Shute's injury and was ultimately won by the NSW 1st XV over "The Rest" 27 to 18, with Jack Shute scoring two tries and retaining his place in the NSW team. Robert Shute would later succumb to his injuries early the next morning at 6am on Tuesday 6th June, 1922, having never regaining consciousness.

    The inquest into Robert Shute's death found it to be an unfortunate accident and that no one was to blame. Though devastated at their loss, Robert Shute's mother wrote an extraordinary letter to Jack Shute 10 days after the accident - a letter that remains preserved in the Shute family archives to this day;
    "June 15 /22,
    My Dear Boy,
    In the midst of our own sorrow we have so often thought of you, and I feel I would like to write and tell you that you must not grieve too much over what happened to our darling. It was just an u fortunate accident, and no one was to blame in any way, and we feel very sorry so much has been said about it for your sake, as everyone says what a good clean player you are, and like our own Bob a true sport.
    Thanking you very much for your kind sympathy.
    Believe me
    Yours Sincerely
    Amy Shute"

    It was hard to believe a man who had survived one of the most intense battlefields of WW1 and an infection that hospitalised him in Italy could die in a simple tackle on the rugby field. The circumstances of Robert Shute's death so shocked the rugby community that the Shute Memorial Trophy was established. It would ultimately become known as "The Shute Shield" and remains today as the ultimate prize in the NSWRU premiership competition.

    After the death of Robert Shute, despite showing such great promise, Jack Shute's own rugby career as a player was also short-lived due to injury. He retired from playing not long after Robert Shute's death. He would eventually have a successful career in international business. But he would not desert rugby altogether. Jack Shute was instrumental in establishing the Eastwood Rugby Club and would become the Club's first President. He is credited with steering the Eastwood club towards success, something he often attributed to his business acumen and skills in administration but also to the skills and discipline he learned through the game.

    He is still held in high regard by Eastwood and became the Clubs first Life Member in recognition of his services to the club. The Shute family ties to Eastwood and to NSW rugby remain strong to this day. Jack's son Douglas played for Eastwood straight out of school in 1956, ultimately representing Eastwood in 1st grade. In the 80s he would become Vice President of Eastwood before succumbing to fatal heart attack in 1986 while playing a game of touch rugby on the field. He was just 46.

    Jack Shute's other son - Douglas' brother - is Robert, known well around NSW rugby as Rob Shute. Rob is involved with Division One subbies rugby and the Knox Old Boys Club. Rob's eldest son Nathan is a NSW referee and can from time to time be seen refereeing the lower grades in the Premiership competition. Rob's youngest son Chris was also a talented sportsman, representing Eastwood which went on to win the state championship in 1986. He went on to study at the Australian Institute of Sport for three years and represented Australia at the World Junior Athletic Championships in 1994.

    The legacy of Robert and Jack Shute remains today, some 90 years after that tragic day. Robert Shute wasn't a well known player but simply a young player of notable talent trying to break into representative football.
    As Eastwood and Manly take to the field today many of their players represent those same aspirations - some have achieved state and even national recognition while others are striving to get there. It is the same for players of the other 10 clubs who fought hard all season but didn't quite make it to this final round today. But in their own ways they represent and honour the memory of Robert Shute.

    The Shute Shield is more than just a trophy to be won by the best on the day. As the Sydney Rugby Union declares on their website, "It also symbolises the heart and soul of rugby at its grass roots level. It is a reminder of the reasons we play rugby. The vast majority do not become household names but take to the field to give their best and to take what rugby has taught them into their lives off the field. Robert Shute is a symbol of all those players and the desire to strive to be the best you can."

    (images and background courtesy of Jack Shute's Family archives, Eastwood Rugby Club and the Sydney Rugby Union)

    [IMG]

    [IMG]
    A copy of the team list in the Program for the 1st trial match between Western Suburbs and "The Rest" played two days before their fateful clash at Manly Oval, featuring both Jack and Robert Shute

    [IMG]

    A photo of the backs of the NSW team featuring Jack Shute on the far left.
  3. red son Stan Wickham (3)

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    Correction. My error. For 2016 Eastwood bt Souths 34-17 @ Chipsy Wood Oval

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