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Looking Back - NSW Subbies 2001


Allen Oxlade (6)
So with all this COVID crap flying around, cabin fever setting in, figured why not have a look back at what the NSW Subbies Rugby landscape was like 19 years ago in 2001. Clubs have come and gone, some have gone from strength to strength while others have remained where they always have without much movement at all in the years gone by!

Now, I compiled this from the old Subbies Annual Reports which only date back to 2001 (https://admin.fusesport.com/_uploads/res/132_15376.PDF) otherwise I'd have done the year 2000 and made it an even 20 years, but finding any solid info on Subbies rugby from the mid-late 80's until 2001 is spotty at best. I don't make any claim to know anything and everything about Subbies as I myself have only been involved since the early 2010s.

I feel like there should be a part of the Subbies website with each club's history to save idiots like me from wasting their time shooting out this garbage!

Alas! Lets start at the top of the pile, Div. 1, listed in order of Club Championship points;
- OLD IGGIES - the Iggies topped Div. 1 and took away the GF in 2nds, 5th's (undefeated in the regular season) and Colts, losing the in 4ths. Overall a very solid season on the field for Iggies who made the finals in ALL 5 grades and Colts (the only team to do it that year, backed up by doing it even better in 2002 making the GF in all grades including Colts). Goes without saying, a very strong club in the late 90's/early 00's. Are now sitting in Div. 3 after a 2015 season they would rather forget, winning under 30% of their games as a club that season.
- ST IVES - The Kentwell Cup winners and club of the year in Div. 1 put 5 of 6 teams into the post season, their 5ths being the only exception. All other grades bowed out before the big day except for 1sts who made it count. A gradual fall from grace sees the Northern Saints (formerly St Ives) playing in Div. 4 as of 2019 and possibly lower in the year to come. Dwindling player numbers and lack of success on the field have hurt big time as they are the club who has fallen the furthest from the Div. 1 sides in 2001.
- DRUMMOYNE - the Dirty Reds finished in the top half of every grade with the exception of their Colts. Their 3rds knocked out a GF premiership, while 1sts and 5ths made it to the dance only to fall short on the day. Drummoyne is currently enjoying life in Div. 1 where they haven't left since (along with Mosman and Colleagues), barely even coming within a whiff of relegation on the Club Championship tables and winning the Kentwell Cup 6 times since 2001.
- ST PATRICKS - able to get all lower grades (2nds through 5ths) into the finals, Pats were only able to knock off the Minor Premiers in Iggies in 4ths for their only silverware of the year. St Pats have only recently dropped out of the top Div., falling out in after the 2017 season where wins were at a minimum in all grades besides 4ths who were ousted instantly from the finals.
- HUNTERS HILL - one of the few clubs who have flirted with the idea of Div. 1 a couple of times since 2001, Hunters Hill were set to take out the Kentwell after finishing 6 competition points clear of St Ives, as well as being one of only 2 sides in all of Subbies to crack 700 points in the season proper. Sadly wasn't to be for the black and white, missing out on the GF altogether. All other grades except Colts finished south of the mid-point on the ladder. Hunters Hill would last just one more season in the Kentwell picture, dropping to Div. 3 by 2004, before re-emerging in Div. 1 in 2012, only to make a quick exit by 2014. Returned again for one more year in 2018, now in Div. 2.
- COLLEAGUES - one of the strongest clubs in Subbies to this day (9 teams last year!), Colleagues didn't make it passed the semis in any grades and, at least according to the Subbies Annual Report, didn't even field a Colts side for 2001. Another club who has barely even come close to thinking about relegation in the time between now and then, winning the Club Championship 5 times and the Kentwell Cup once in a dominant 2011 where they came second on the table in every single senior grade, lost all major semis (except 3rds) and topped it off with all wins on GF day.
- UNSW - UNSW had a less than memorable 2001 with no grades making the finals. While their days of Kentwell winning glory were in the mid 90's, UNSW stuck around in Div. 1 until 2008 where they made their only GF appearance from 2001 onward in a 5ths loss and were relegated to Div. 2 where it's locked in today.
- MOSMAN - another mainstay in the Kentwell picture, Mosman's Colts were the lone shining light for the Whales in 2001 despite losing the GF. All other grades failed to come within cooee of the finals. The Kentwell team came a distant last place, a far cry from their dominance in recent years, taking the trophy home in 2016 and 2019 as well as topping the Club Championship the last 2 years.
- FOREST - a middling team in the Div. 1 picture where they never cracked it for any silverware however always did enough to stick around until 2010 where a lacklustre season saw them dropped to Div. 2 where they remained until Forest took out the Div. 2 Club Championship and the Barraclough Cup which see them climb back into the Kentwell fold.
- UWS HAWKESBURY - (aka Hawkesbury Ag., aka UWSH, aka HAC) brought up the tail end of the Div. 1 Club Championships in 2001 where only their Colts side seemingly put up any fight on a Saturday, narrowly missing out on a finals birth by a solitary competition point. The UWSH woes would have a flow on effect, posting only 1 win the next season in Div. 2, with all grades except 1sts unable to maintain a team on the field for the season. They fell as far as Div. 4 where besides a 1 season stint in Div. 2 in 2017, where they won the Barraclough Cup (the first grade side won more games than the other 3 senior grades and Colts combined!), they have remained in Div. 3 since.

Moving on to Div. 2;
- DUNDAS VALLEY - talk about a rise and fall story... a once proud club that floated around the Second Premier Div. in the mid-80s, Dundas took out the 1sts, 2nds and Colts minor premiership in 2001, making the GF in 1sts, 2nds and 4ths, but only able to hold onto the 2nds premiership. Overall a dominant 2001 season, beating out Waverley by over 100 points. They forced their way into Div. 1 and took out the Kentwell Cup in a dominant 2003 until the then "Vikings" were forcibly made to withdraw from the competition in mid-2005. Dundas were allowed readmission into Div. 6 where they haven't been able to climb out of since with only a handful of finals appearances including a minor premiership in 2013, dicing with death on a few occasions where no team has been fielded in 2015, 2016 and 2019.
- WAVERLEY - the Waves made the semis in the top 3 grades in 2001, only able to make good on the Barraclough Cup though. It wouldn't be long before they made it up into Div. 1, joining just a year later in 2003 but unable to do any real damage in the Kentwell picture, falling out after a 2006 that would be best forgotten, their best finishing grade being 5ths, coming 3rd from last. They dropped to Div. 3 for 2007, beating out the competition to move up to Div. 2 the next year. Despite proving to be tough opposition in lower grades, they were again relegated after 2010 where they regrouped and made another run at Div. 2 in 2016 despite coming 2nd in the Club Championship. They now sit in Div. 1 (again) and have done since 2017, still looking to crack the Kentwell Cup finals.
- HORNSBY - had a very respectable, albeit disappointing 2001. All 4 grade sides made the finals but were unable to make even 1 GF. The best years were behind the club and gradually declining player numbers coupled with mediocre on field results saw them drop to Div. 3 in 2012 where they failed to pick up any silverware. As of 2015, Hornsby relocated to the Central Coast competition where they reside as of now, still unable to obtain a trophy.
- PETERSHAM - the Shammies came a distant 4th on the Club Championship rankings in 2001. The 3 clubs above put over 200 club championship points between themselves and the Shammies, where they were unable to get a single grade into the semi-finals. They pottered around in Div. 2 until 2005 where the club was shown the way to Div. 3. In 2011 their resurgence begun, blitzing the competition proper, finishing 1st or 2nd in all grades, appearing in the GF in all grades and winning 2nds, 3rds and Colts. Their final push towards Div. 1 came in 2013 where their top 3 grades and Colts all made the finals, doing more than enough to secure the Club Championship and promotion to Div. 1 where they remain until now, having won back to back Kentwell Cups in 2017 and 2018.
- OATLEY - made good on their only team that made it into the semi-finals in 2001, the 3rd grade team taking home the trophy. Outside of that, a very quiet season. Dropped to Div. 4 in 2003 where the club ended up in the red for the season in the Club Championship. Unable to find any info on what happened here. In any case, the drove their way out of Div. 4 following a strong 1sts team in 2005, an average of 41 points a game. However they were unable to show up when it counted, losing out in the semis. They were invited back up to Div. 2 in 2008 to bring the competition to an even 10 clubs. In 2015, they were squeezed out of Div. 2 with subbies choosing to move to a 8 team format, and again in 2017 from Div. 3 to Div. 4 for the same reasons. Currently in Div. 4 but struggling to keep all 3 grades safely on the field.
- BLACKTOWN - unable to win anything in 2001 despite both 1sts and 2nds hitting the finals, Blacktown stuck around in Div. 2 until 2007 where they had a brief stint in Div. 3, rising again for one season in Div. 2, dropping in 3 years to Div. 4. 2016 was the most successful in recent history, winning the Club Championship by 1000 points, all 3 grades winning the GF, with 1sts putting up a season for the ages, averaging a winning margin of over 45 points in the regular season. An unfortunate turn of events saw them unable to move up to Div. 3 due to a competition restructure. In 2019, the club was able to make steps in the right direction again, gaining entry to Div. 3 where they had a positive season.
- NEWPORT - nearly non-existent in any grade besides 4ths in 2001 where they made it count, winning the GF. In 2003 the Breakers were unlucky not to break into the Kentwell Cup, winning 1sts and 2nds as well as making the GF in 3rds, only to be pipped by Beecroft where Newport's lacklustre Colts saw them undone by a mere 12 Club Championship points. Similar circumstances saw them miss out by less than 100 Club Championship points to Brothers in 2014. They stayed in Div. 2 until the lack of players coupled with poor on-field results saw them in Div. 3 in 2017 where they have begun to rebuild with strong results, unlucky not to move back up after a strong all round 2019 season, with all grades making the semis.
- CHATSWOOD - a sad year in 2001 for the Stags, only able to get the Colts in the semis. Try as they might, they fell out of Div. 2 in 2004, out of Div. 3 in 2006, out of Div. 4 in 2008 and out of Div. 5 in 2011. Lack of player numbers in a changing area and lack of on field results (from 2001-2011 only 5 finals appearances in all grades, none of which were in 1sts) saw this massive fall from grace from this former 5 grade club. Of late in Div. 6, Chatswood haven't been successful however, will be trying to build on their undefeated Colts side which won their first silverware for the club in 20 years.
- LINDFIELD - old soldier made the semis in 3rds, 4ths and Colts, with the Colts being the only team to take out the GF. Since then, Lindfield has stayed put in Div. 2 outside of 3 seasons in the Kentwell Cup race (2010, 2011 & 2016). For all their time in Div. 2, Lindfield has been unable to capture the 1sts or 2nds GF win at any point from 2001 until now. Being constantly bolstered by a formidable Colts side as well as usually strong lower grades over the years has helped keep them in the fold in Div. 2. Their most recent run at the Kentwell involved them being punted from the Div. by Subbies for paying players in the amateur status that was adopted in 2015.
- CANTERBURY - in what was their final year above the Div. 4 threshold, the Berries hardly put up a fight in any grade in 2001 besides Colts where they ran 3rd and lost the GF. Following this, Canterbury dropped to Div. 4, fielding just 2 teams in 2002 and 1 team in 2005. They steadily grew back to Div. 4 (3 teams) in 2008 but losses in the GF s (1sts and 3rds) and Prelims (2nds) did a number on them, reverting to 1 grade in 2009. After gradually growing again, the club made it back to Div. 4 and in 2017 had all 3 grades in the GF with 1sts taking home the trophy. Currently in Div. 4, all grades fielded since 2014 (only 1sts and 2nds fielded in 2014) have made the finals.

Div. 3;
- BEECROFT - just 3 years into the clubs existence, Beecroft topped Div. 3 winning at least 14 of 18 games in all grades in 2001. All grades made the GF with 2nds and 3rds only able to win out after narrow defeats in 1sts and 4ths. They made short work of Div. 2, moving into Div. 1 by 2004, but were booted immediately after being outclassed in all grades and sent packing back to Div. 2. Taking out the Barraclough Cup in 2007 and with all grades making it to the Prelim Final stage, they gave it another shot in the Kentwell Cup, maintaining their spot until 2014 where poor player numbers saw them drop to Div. 4 in 2015. This proved to be too big of a drop for a former Div. 1 club where they absolutely waxed the opposition all year, dropping just 4 games in all 3 grades en-route to walking away with 3 GF trophies. Riding the wave into Div. 3, all grades finished 1st or 2nd in 2016, moving them back up to Div. 2. By 2018 they were relegated back to Div. 3 (again) where they are now.
- BLUE MOUNTAINS - 2001 saw 3 of 4 grades make the semis, but only 1 make the GF (being 4ths who won). The Mountain Goats made Div. 3 home until giving Div. 2 a crack in 2009 after all 4 grades in 2008 made the semis. The jump was too much at the time for them with all grades except 3rds running last or 2nd to last. Returning to Div. 3, 2013 was a bittersweet experience with all 4 grades making the semi-finals, however all dropping out on the one day in the Prelim Finals. It was enough to prop them up into Div. 2 where they stayed until 2018 where all grades finished in the semis with the 1sts team coming away with the Barraclough Cup. They are now in Div. 1 as of 2019 where they finished a very respectable 3rd in the Kentwell Cup.
- HAWKESBURY VALLEY - the perennial Div. 3 club. Has not moved up or down or side to side and only stayed put in Div. 3 since 2001. Their most successful season looks to be 2013 where 2nds, 3rds and 4ths all made it to GF day with only 2nds able to win the big one. Of late there hasn't been a whole lot to write home about with only 2 grades having made the semis since 2015.
- EPPING - their only grade to make the semis came away with the GF win for the Clark Cup (1sts) in 2001 in what was their only Clark Cup win to not result in a leap to Div. 2. Their first stint in Div. 2 lasted from 2006-2008 before moving back to Div. 3 until another move back up in 2018. Despite running last in the Club Championship in 2019, Epping will remain in the Div. 2 competition due to Balmain's move from Div. 1 down to Div. 4.
- LANE COVE - only 1 grade (2nds) were able to make the semis in 2001, dropping out in the first week. In the year that followed they were saved by Merrylands' indiscretions after they were removed from the competition. It wasn't to last though as they ran last in all 4 grades in 2004 and moved to Div. 4. The move to Div. 4 wasn't a good one either with all grades again finishing last (or 2nd to last) in 2005 and in the bottom 3 in all 3 grades in 2006. Lane Cove made Div. 5 home from 2007-2013, making the semis in 1sts in 2007, 2008 and 2011 but unable to make it to the GF. Finally moving to Div. 6 in 2014, the Covies Colts side in 2016 brought home the first GF win in a number of years. As of 2019, they play in Div. 6 (1 team), however field a 2nds side most weeks, winning the 2nd grade GF in 2017.
- BRIARS – as with the Covies, only 2nds were able to make the semis in 2001, however they made the big dance only to lose out to Beecroft. They stuck around in Div. 3 until 2006 where they broke out with 1sts and 2nds taking the cake on GF day with 3rds and 4ths playing a solid backup role, departing in the Prelim Finals. On the back of this they shot up to Div. 2 in 2007 until dropping out after 2012, not able to win any GFs in their time there. Div. 3 was not kind to them in 2013 & 2014, relegating to Div. 4 where they called it home until this upcoming season when they get rewarded for maintaining 3 grade and a Colts side in a move back up to Div. 3.
- MERRYLANDS – a club with more ups and downs than a yo-yo, 2001 had Merrylands with only their 3rds in the semi-finals, losing out in the first week. The next year for them was non-existent as 2002 has been wiped from the books, moving them down to Div. 4. The years that followed were best described as quiet until 2008 where the Wolves took 3 from 3 and backed up again in Div. 3 taking 3 from 4 (all except 2nds). 2010 had their 2nds and 3rds in the semis with 3rds the eventual winners. They were moved down again for 2011 where they made the GF in all 3 grades, winning only 3rds. Back up again for 2012 where no grades made the finals. 2013 was a drop to Div. 5 followed by winning the Div. 6 title in 2014. 2015 saw them attempt to move up into Div. 4 despite only fielding 2 grades. Even with the club already reduced by 1 grade, a shocking disciplinary record saw Merrylands expelled from Subbies for the remainder of 2015 and 2016. A return in 2017 saw another Div. 6 title win, followed by a 2018 2nds win. 2019 had the club in Div. 4 with 2 grades again, with no post season to speak of. 2020 remains a mystery.
- BARKER – no finals in 2001 for the BOBs. Nor in 2002. A 4ths competition win in 2003 helped propel them into 3 of 4 finals births with only the 3rds missing out. None were able to win the big one though. 2005 saw a repeat of the ’03 scenario, only with their 4ths missing out instead. 2006 put them into Div. 2 with GF appearances by 1sts, 2nds and Colts and only the 1sts not able to break the drought with a GF win. Winning the Club Championship in Div. 2 saw them thrust into Div. 1, only to be turned back around again and sent back within a year, all grades running 3rd to last or worse. 2008 was a 1sts, 2nds and Colts sweep of the finals. 1sts won it again in 2009 with another appearance in a GF loss in 2010. 2011 and 2012 were lean years in the Kentwell Cup group, finishing in the bottom half of the ladder in all grades for both seasons. 2015 had a 1sts GF appearance and that was all she wrote for Barker until a 2018 fight back in Div. 3, all grades making the finals with the 3rds and Colts winning the main prize. 2019 saw a move up to Div. 2 but had BOBs struggling to maintain all grades on the field with all grades also winning half their games or less.
- BROTHERS – or CBOBs as they were known in 2001 were only able to make the GF in 3rds and didn’t make good on the chance. They stayed in Div. 3 until after 2010 where their 4ths ran away with the competition, only losing 3 games all season. All other grades combined amassed 2 wins. With that came a drop to Div. 4 in 2011 and a 1sts and 2nds title. 2012 had them skip away with the Club Championship by over 1000 points and a 1sts win. 2013 1sts won again but had to share the prize in 2014. Their first shot at the Kentwell Cup was in 2015, while 1sts scrapped into the finals, all other grades finished last or next to last. Consequently they were pushed down to Div. 3 the next year and have made the semis 3 times since in all grades combined. Brothers are currently listed in Div. 4 due to a lack of playing numbers.

- SOUTH SYDNEY NZ – another once proud club who competed in the Premiership Second Div., SSNZ’s glory days were well and truly behind them. 2001 had only 4ths making the finals. 2002 had them in Div. 4 but all forfeit losses against them. 2003 and 2004 they were competing in Div. 6, not able to make the semis in either year. After this, they were gone. Never to return to this day.

I'll be back with Div 4 onward eventually with some more forgotten Subbies clubs (bit of a depressing note, from Div 4 down, 16 of the 24 teams in the next bracket cease to exist as of 2019...should make for some fun hindsight views!). Clubs coming up are;
2001 Div 4 - Liverpool, Fairvale, Kings, Hurlstone Park, Matraville, Knox, Macquarie Uni, Rockdale
2001 Div 5 - Blakehurst, Burraneer, West Sydney Saints, Oakhill, Appin, Killara West-Pymble, Dural, UWS Macarthur/Bankstown
2001 Div 6 - Dee Why, Lidcombe, Terrey Hills, Manly Savers, Roseville, Penrhyn, "The" Hills, City Wanderers.
Others (2002-2019 teams) - Campbelltown, Convicts, Bankstown, Green Valley, Balmain, St George, Rouse Hill, Sydney Harlequins, Notre Dame, Maccabi, Redfield, Seaforth, Clovelly, Sydney Grammar, Sydney Irish, Dukes, Liverpool (yes, another Liverpool), Norwest, Bronte Savers, Western Union, Atiu Sydney, Claymore, Collaroy, ICMS, Macarthur Crusaders, Menai, North Cronulla, Wakehurst, Engadine, Wollondilly.

As you can see, there are A LOT of teams in that list from Div 4 down that aren't around any more.

Again, there probably (definitely) will be stuff I've missed and fucked up. Please add to it, change it as it needs to be changed, add or subtract info as needed. I plan on eventually having some sort of a hub where all historical info regarding a club is kept online so it isn't forgotten about if a club dies out as all these clubs had a heritage and there are a lot more pre-2001 that I know even less about (I'm looking at you random ass bank teams...).


George Gregan (70)
As you can see, there are A LOT of teams in that list from Div 4 down that aren't around any more.

Critical mass is important in Subbies. When you're able to have the rotating door in Grades 3-5 and structure Firsts and Seconds to stay competitive, it is a lot better than having your rotating door in a total of 2 Grades.

BTW that Liverpool is the same club I believe - they (like Dundas) were riding high until their discipline and lack of volunteer base undermined them.


Allen Oxlade (6)
Nice work. Great reading. I have an old Subbies book filed away in my storage cage/dungeon that lists all the Subbies clubs up until about this time, the early 2000's. The number of banks (including 'The Reserve') that ran sides was suprising.


Allen Oxlade (6)
Critical mass is important in Subbies. When you're able to have the rotating door in Grades 3-5 and structure Firsts and Seconds to stay competitive, it is a lot better than having your rotating door in a total of 2 Grades.

BTW that Liverpool is the same club I believe - they (like Dundas) were riding high until their discipline and lack of volunteer base undermined them.

The Liverpool side(s) I've found out, or at least I think I have, that they were in fact 2 different clubs. Liverpool Bulls were the original green and gold team that has their roots all the way back in the 80's or further back in the Premier Third Division. They died out after the 2010 season where they lost to an up and coming Redfield OB on grand final day. I would assume a lack of off field support and players may have seen them come undone. The "Judiciary Report" from the Annual Reports leading up to 2010 have them listed in the clubs that breached their tolerable level only once in the 5 years leading up.

The Liverpool side which came about in 2012 was completely different, run as the Liverpool City Cougars and acted as the only senior rugby side in a junior club. Lasted a year after a pretty woeful relationship with the judiciary. Some of the players and people that run this "new" Liverpool side may have been from the old guard at the Bulls. It didn't help the confusion that they played out of Dwyer Oval either, but I'm FAIRLY sure they are 2 different entities.


George Gregan (70)
It didn't help the confusion that they played out of Dwyer Oval either, but I'm FAIRLY sure they are 2 different entities.

That may have been where I got confused. Big scoreboard at the ground with multiple grades listed.


Charlie Fox (21)
Great thread but sad to see how many have folded. I played for 3 stubbies clubs, one doing well these days, one thats had better days from great heights and one gonski