The Unbeatables

It is almost impossible to go through a full rugby league season without losing a game. It has been done only six times. Balmain was first in 1915, followed by North Sydney 1921, Eastern Suburbs in 1936 and 1937 and finally St. George in 1959. These teams would be classed as unbeatable. There is one missing you say?

South Sydney - Unbeatable
Souths 1925 press photo.

Souths 1925 Invincible

All of the clubs mentioned above had one thing in common. They all had at least one draw. There is only one club that stands out in the ‘Invincible’ class because they WON every game. The name of the club? South Sydney, and the year was 1925.

South Sydney - Unbeatable
South Sydney Unbeatable.

Old Way Of Determining Premiership

In 1908, 1909 and 1911 there were semi-finals and a final. From 1910 till 1925 it was ‘first past the post’. In other words what we now call the Minor Premiers were actually the Premiers. If two teams finished equal there was a final to determine the premier. After this the City Cup was played. During both 1923 and 1924 seasons, excitement was paramount as there had to be a final to separate the top teams.

South Sydney - Unbeatable
Rugby League News cover.

1925 Souths Supreme

In 1925 however, South Sydney were supreme. North Sydney kept pace with them early but gradually Souths pulled away to establish an unbeatable lead. Interest fell away in most matches except for the last round game between Souths and Easts. Everybody wanted to know if Souths could go through the season winning every game.

A Small Crowd

Unfortunately the weather that day was not conducive to attracting a large crowd.  The ground was waterlogged after heavy rain. Players were unrecognizable after ten minutes of play. Dribbling became a feature and Easts were quite good at it.

An Exciting Game

In the conditions it was most likely going to be a close game and that is how it eventuated. Souths scored first with Lapham falling on a ball that Wearing had set up with a kick. Steel for Easts kicked a goal and later a try. Easts looked comfortable at 5-3 with 10 to go, especially after Murphy for Souths was sent off. In a last desperate move, Souths kicked high after a penalty. O’Connor, following through, dived on the ball and with a Wearing conversion won 8-5.

South Sydney - Unbeatable
Postcard picture of Souths team 1925.

City Cup And After

Not only did Souths win the premiership. They also won the City Cup and all three grades. The only defeat they suffered was in a challenge match against the all conquering Toowoomba side in Queensland.

Change Of Determining Premiership

Because Souths had been so dominant, interest had fallen off in the premiership. It was subsequently decided to get rid of the City Cup and have semi finals and finals. This was not the last time Souths forced a change to the rules.

SOUTH SYDNEY 8 ( Lapham, O’Connor tries, Wearing goal) bt EASTERN SUBURBS 5 ( Steel try and goal) Crowd : about 2,500.

South Sydney Unbeatable.

By Mark Emery for Bunnies TV.


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