1923 Eastern Suburbs season

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Eastern Suburbs (now known as the Sydney Roosters) competed in the 16th New South Wales Rugby League season in 1923.


No. Position Player
66 Australia SR Jack 'Bluey' Watkins
86 Australia FE Harry Caples (C)
96 Australia WG Gordon Wright
103 Australia HB Sid Kaufman
110 Australia SR Edward Connerton
114 Australia FB Ed 'Snowy' Rigney
123 Australia HK Harold Holmes
124 Australia SR Bill Ives
127 Australia PR Arthur Oxford
129 Australia WG Les Steel
No. Position Player
135 Australia HK Jack Dawson
136 Australia SR Tom Molloy
137 Australia HK Bill Richards
138 Australia WG Cyril Abotomey
139 Australia HK Frank Egan
140 Australia HK V. Kennedy
141 Australia HK Tom Fitzpatrick
142 Australia HK J. O'Donnell
143 Australia HK R. Wittrien
144 Australia WG George Agar


  • Premiership Round 1, 5 May 1923;

Eastern Suburbs '’’21’’’ (5 Tries; 3 Goals) defeated University ‘’’5’’’ (1 Try; 1 Goal) at the Sydney Sports Ground.

  • Premiership Round 2, 2 May 1923;

Eastern Suburbs 14(2 Tries; 4 Goals)) defeated Newtown 8( 2 Tries; 1 Goal) at the Sydney Sports Ground

  • Premiership Round. 3, 19 May 1923;

South Sydney 15 defeated Eastern Suburbs 5 At the Sydney Sports Ground;

  • Premiership Round 4, 26 May 1923;

Western Suburbs 19 beat Eastern Suburbs 14 at Pratten Park

  • Premiership Round 5, 2 June 1923.

Eastern Suburbs 4 beat St George 0 at Sydney Sports Ground

  • Premiership Round 6, 9 June 1923*

Eastern Suburbs 16 beat North Sydney 8 at Sydney Cricket Ground

•Premiership Round 8, 30 June 1923. Eastern Suburbs 13(3 Tries; 2 Goals) beat Glebe 3 (1 Try) at Birchgrove Oval

  • Premiership Round 9, 7 July 1923;

Eastern Suburbs 10 beat Balmain 8 at Sydney Sports Ground.

  • Premiership Round 10, 14 July;

Eastern Suburbs 12 beat University 5 at Sydney Cricket Ground

  • Premiership Round 11 21 July

Eastern Suburbs 25 beat Newtown 5 at Sydney Cricket Ground No. 2

  • Premiership Round 12 28 July,

Eastern Suburb 19 ( Steel 2, Caples, Agar tries; Oxford 2 Goals ) beat South Sydney 5 ( V. Lawrence try; J. Lawrence ), at the Sydney Sports Ground.

"Eastern Suburbs moved to the outright lead of the premiership with victory over arch rival's South Sydney"

"South Sydney attacked, and for a few minutes play was in the Eastern Suburbs 25’ The clever work of Johnston and Blair behind the scrum was noticeable. Off side play by Horne on his own side of half way gave Oxford a chance at goal, but his attempt failed, and South Sydney forced. The heavy state of the ground was against spectacular passing movements and play was mostly confined to the forwards, Watkins, picking up after loose play ran strongly and transferred to Steel, who had no difficulty in Crossing. Oxford failed at goal. Eastern Suburbs, 3-0 Within a few moments Caples obtained from a scrum and after a brilliant run, in which he successfully "dummied" to an opponent, forced his way over for a try, notwithstanding a determined tackle by Gillespie. Oxford goalled, and Eastern Suburbs led 8-0. South Sydney now took a turn at attacking, and a faulty line kicks by Rigney enabled them to place Eastern Suburbs on the defensive. Caples and Steel stemmed the attack, and after Individual bursts by Blair and Wearing the ball was sent to V. Lawrence, who brushed aside a tackle by Steel, running nicely along the wing, scored in the corner. Quinlivan failed at goal Eastern Suburbs, 8-3. Numerous breaches of the scrummaging rules occurred, South Sidney being chiefly at fault. The next try was scored by Caples, who received the ball from Kaufman, after the latter had broken away rapidly from a scrum in South Sydney's 25’. Oxford converted and Eastern Suburbs led, 13 to 3. J Lawrence soon after kicked a penalty goal making the scores Eastern Suburbs 13to 5. Just before the interval the best movement of the game took place. Kaufman secured from a scrum, and sent the ball to Watkins to Caples, to Agar, who crossed. Oxford missed the goal, and half time came with Eastern Suburbs leading by 16 to 5. On resuming South Sydney assumed the offensive and brought play to Eastern Suburbs' 25, from where J Lawrence missed an easy shot at goal from a penalty. South Sidney maintained the pressure and kept Eastern Suburbs defending Watkins earned applause for pluckily going down on the ball when facing strong opposition, and soon after Dawson with a tricky run, In which he cleverly

eluded several opponents, transferred play to South Sydney's area. The game was now fast and open, South Sydney were holding the advantage in the scrums, but the spoiling tactics of Watkins and Kaufman, aided by sound tackling prevented openings. A great movement initiated by Kaufman, who secured from a scrum and sent the ball to Steel, resulted in the latter, after a swift clever run crossing the line Eastern Suburbs, 19-5. Desperate attacks by South Sydney ensued, and on one occasion Wearing threatened danger, but was frustrated by the cleverness of Rigney and Abotomey. The deadly tackling of the Eastern Suburbs' backs and the splendid judgment of Caples, who frequently rested his side by kicking for the line, were features of this half. The closing stages were marked by exciting play The ball travelled rapidly up and down field, likely scoring movements for both sides were frequent. The final Scores were Eastern Suburbs’ 19 points to 5."

  • Premiership Round 13 4 August

SatuPremiership Rounday 4 August 1923 Eastern Suburbs 22 beat Western Suburbs 8 at Sydney Cricket Ground

  • Premiership Round 14 11 August

Eastern Suburbs 24 beat St George 2 at Sydney Sports Ground

  • Premiership Round 15 18 August

Eastern Suburbs 12 (Caples, Watkins tries; Oxford 3 goals) beat North Sydney 10 (Peters, Blinkhorn tries; Hodgins, Horder goals) at Sydney Cricket Ground

"Caples sent the ball into touch from the kick off. An unsuccessful dash by Eastern Suburbs was followed by an exchange of kicks by the backline. Dawson made a strong run, and kicked over the line for Waterhouse to force. Horder made a fine attempt at goal from a free, the ball striking the cross bar. The Eastern Suburbs three-quarters moved smartly In attack, but their handling of the ball was not sure. North Sydney, however, had to be constantly on the alert in defending, for their opponents made series of sudden sharp advances. Horder, however after a few attempts made an opening. Faull and Baker joined him the latter sending on to Peters who outpaced a number of would be tackers and scored behind the goal. Hodgins converted, North Sydney, a rally by Eastern Suburbs looked promising, Abotomey being well taken by Courtney. Blinkhorn put in some good work that brought his side along, but breaches nullified his efforts. In North Sydney's half a number of scrums were questioned by the referee. Then from one Kaufman broke away, brushed Farnell aside and passed to Caples who ran over for a neat try. Oxford kicked the goal making the scores 5 all. Kaufmann who was displaying cleverness In dodging through his opponents was soon prominent again but lost time in looking round for support when his own chance of scoring was bright. North Sydney were kept on the defensive, and Holmes dashed over from a pass that was forward. A free kept Eastern Suburbs back, and Rigney was several times called on to use his catching and kicking powers. North Sydney then came out swiftly, and Peters sent on to Blinkhorn whose pace carried him through for a try. Hodgkins missed the goal. North Sydney, 8 to at half time. Eastern Suburbs looked dangerous early in the second half, following a low line kick by Caples. Blinkhorn relieved and North Svdney came through, with Horder Prominent but unlucky.Fioin n from a free Oxford drove the ball just under the bar, and as Waterthouse tried to run out Eastern Suburbs closed up In attack. They were opposed by rather weak defence and continued to press with great zest. Steel and Dawson were conspicuous with good runs, Oxford had a couple of Unsuccessful shots at goal. North Sydney contrived to work the ball out with the crowd eagerly expectant when Horder and Blinkhorn handled. They had little room to move, however, and Eastern Suburbs were soon attacking. Waterhouse’s kick, which had gone towards the centre of the field, where Agar marked, and Oxford added a goal. North Sydney 8 to 7. Rapid passing and fine combinations enabled Eastern Suburbs to control the game for some time. Once Caples obtained and pushed of player after player before being tackled. Caples also started Steel, but after a smart run, the latter was brought down. Both teams were playing very earnestly at this stage, and several on each side were cautioned for illegal tactics. Horder kicked a good goal from a penalty agairst Eastern Suburbs, and North Sydney led by 10 points to 7. Back to North Sydney’s line, the ball was handled skilfully by the Eastern Suburbs threequarters, but it remained for Watkins to bring the scores level with a try. Oxford missed the goal that would have placed his side in the lead. Eastern Suburbs continued to press and Hodgkins kicked out for Rigney to mark Oxford this time landed a goal giving Eastern Suburbs the victory in the last minute, as the final whistle sounded immediately afterwards."

  • Premiership Round 16 25 August - Bye: Eastern Suburbs;
  • Premiership Round 17 1 September

Eastern Suburbs 13 beat Glebe 11 at Sydney Cricket Ground

  • Premiership Round 18, Saturday 8 September 1923 ;

Balmain 12 beat Eastern Suburbs 11 at Sydney Sports Ground

By losing their final round match, Eastern Suburbs were joined by traditional rivals South Sydney in the top spot, this resulted in a final needing to be played to determine the premiers for that season.


Team Pld W D L B PF PA PD Pts
1 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs 16 13 0 3 2 235 124 +111 30
2 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 16 13 0 3 2 242 173 +69 30
3 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 16 10 1 5 2 247 136 +111 25
4 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 16 9 0 7 2 257 218 +39 22
5 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney 16 8 0 8 2 245 223 +22 20
6 Glebe colours.svg Glebe 16 6 0 10 2 160 193 -33 16
7 St. George colours.svg St. George 16 5 0 11 2 168 236 -68 14
8 Newtown colours.svg Newtown 16 4 2 10 2 161 297 -136 14
9 University colours.svg University 16 2 1 13 2 120 235 -115 9

Grand final[edit]

Eastern Suburbs Position South Sydney
Ed Rigney FB Howard Hallett
Cyril Abotomey WG Benny Wearing
Jack Dawson CE Tom Barry
Les Steel CE Vic Lawrence
George Agar WG Oscar Quinlivan
Harry Caples (c) FE Bill Gillespie (c)
Sid Kaufman HB A. Johnstone
Arthur Oxford PR David Watson
Bill Richards HK Pat Murphy
Tom Molloy PR Perc Horne
Bill Ives SR Ern Wilmot
Harold Holmes SR Alf O'Connor
Jack Watkins LK Jack Lawrence
Edward Connerton Replacement -
Ray Norman Coach

A final, the second in as many seasons, was played between Eastern Suburbs and South Sydney the following Wednesday 12 September at the Sydney Cricket Ground, attracting a crowd of 15,000 people. With referee Tom McMahon officiating Eastern Suburbs prevailed winners 15-12 and claimed their first premiership since 1913.

Eastern Suburbs 15 (Tries: Caples 2, Steel. Goals: Oxford 3)

South Sydney 12 (Tries: Wearing 2. Goals: Wearing 3)

Season highlights[edit]


Preceded by
Succeeded by