The History of
Rugby League in
Between 1882-1884 Rugby was played in an ad hoc way between three clubs.
A Brief History of the Early Days of Rugby League in WA.
Rugby League from some accounts was first played in Western Australia in 1926.
The 1946 Great Britain side “Indomitables” visited WA in April 1946 .... rugby league was 2 years off being launched in Western Australia.
These brave and pioneering men took the initial steps to establish the game of Rugby League in WA.
It was after the 1947 Rugby Union Grand Final that Bob Chester and Jim Carroll talked about taking an exhibition game to Bunbury.
Five first grade clubs involved in 1948 -Fremantle, South Perth, Cottesloe .Perth and Palmyra(who dropped out after 2 rounds) . By 1949 two more clubs had entered Eastern Suburbs and Applecross.
Fremantle was originally a Rugby Union Club and in 1948 after a series of meetings moved to Rugby League.
In January 1948 a special meeting of the South Perth Rugby Club was held at the Mends Street Hall on Mill Point Road.
Initial Meetings were held at Alex Mathesons house and he described the early days at the Cottesloe club as 'tough'.
Perth Rugby League Club adopted the Myrtle Green and Cardinal Red colours of South Sydney, and joined the WARL in 1948.
The First Game was planned -But where were the goal posts coming from? With less than a week’s preparation this was a big task.
On the 17th April 1948 at 12.15pm 35 brave men ran onto the Esplanade.
The WARFL side played their first ever State game against South Australia on the 24th July 1948 at the WACA.
Storms in the Bight results in the game scheduled for Subiaco Oval on Monday 16th August 1948 being cancelled.
South Perth defeats Fremantle 19-5 to claim first WARFL premiership.
A World War two Bomber pilot stars in the first WARL Premiership.
A truly Historical visit in 1949 by Balmain to Western Australia to play four games against the senior State team.
In 1950 a young 22-year-old Cottesloe Centre in Tom Myles was awarded the the first Brice Trophy.
The first junior rugby league game in WA was between Applecross and Eastern Suburbs in 1949 and ended in a 3 all draw with one try apiece.
A vacant paddock and the promise of free milk was the catalyst to start a junior rugby league team out of the Hurlingham State Housing Estate.
Gordon Squire was a founding member of the Western Australia Amateur Rugby League, becoming the WARFL's first chairman.Learn More
Roy Williams was elected the first secretary/treasurer of the new WARFL in February 1948. Refereed the first game at the Esplanade.Learn More
League legend Ken Allen was a life member of the WARL, the WARLRA and of his club Fremantle, Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2019.Learn More
Former union State player Jim Burns was a driving force behind the establishment of the game in WA and the WARFL's first president.Learn More
Alex Matheson described the early days at Cottesloe as tough but said there were plenty of 'fine fellows' to help.Learn More
Alf Schaffer attended the first meetings of the game in Daglish, along with an number of other key identities.Learn More
Roger became the first secretary and captain of the Cottesloe Districts rugby league club in 1948. Refereed first grade.Learn More
Vic Hodgkiss was the first president of the Cottesloe club, & Founding member of group who helped set up the code.Learn More
In 1947 during discussions regarding switching to the game of rugby league, Silberts Shoe store became a meeting place.Learn More
In April, 1948 Bob Chester stepped out to represent Perth District against Fremantle District in the first game.Learn More
Dr Dermer was always pushing rugby’s cause on the local council’s boards and he had a wonderful friendship with Mr Frank Gibson which resulted in Fremantle obtaining a permanent ground at Gibson ParkLearn More
Frank Baguley-The Baguley family had a big footprint in the Fremantle club and he was a founding father of the WARL.Learn More
Doug Tonkin was a member of the 1947 Fremantle first grade side and the 1950 Fremantle WARFL premiership team.Learn More
Keith Ingram was one of the 34 players who took part in that first game on the Esplanade in April 1948.Learn More
Frank Hudson Taylor was one of the Founding Fathers of the WARL and served on the Board from 1948 to the mid 1950's.Learn More
Jim Carroll was 32 when he partnered Sam Cohen in the centres for Perth Districts on April 17, 1948.Learn More
The NSWRL helped Kangaroo Arthur Folwell reside in Perth to assist in the development of the game in WA.Learn More
WARL life member Max Brice was a foundation member of the Applecross club, WARFL vice president and chairman.Learn More
Bob Williams played league until he was 40, ending with a third grade premiership as player-coach at North Beach in 1969.Learn More
Bob Quinlan was known as a determined winger and a strong runner and a solid defence when he debuted in 1951,at 20.Learn More
The Cole family of Sid, Malcom and Owen played for Canning Districts, Perth Rabbitohs and Belmont rugby league club.Learn More
Dan Fogerty was treasurer and a first team player of the South Perth rugby club in 1948, when they decided to form the WARFL.Learn More
Colin Kelly was a pioneer referee in the early days of the game, along with Ken Allen, Doug Cohen and Alf Dickson.Learn More
Jack McKinnon joined Cottesloe in 1952 , he won the premiership in his first year of becoming the Tigers coach in 1955.Learn More
Policeman Max White joined South Perth in 1946, and was a member of the club's first league season in 1948, at fullback.Learn More
A life member of the WARL, president of the WARL 1972-76, Ron Hudson helped establish Applecross in the competition.Learn More
Ray Moore was born in Sydney where he attended St Patricks College Strathfield. He played for the schools first XIII 1936 -1940 and captained the side in last two years. He joined the Navy in 1943 and was discharged in 1946. He then moved to Perth.Learn More
Bob 'Red' Rosser started his career with Fremantle in 1949 as a junior and by 1954 was a first grade star with the club.Learn More
Centre Frank Morgan debuted for WA in 1953, and played for Cottesloe and Fremantle, as vice-captain of the latter in 1955.Learn More
George Hutchinson made his debut for Cottesloe in 1951, aged 16. Tigers president-1972-75 , Treasurer from 1966-1971 .Learn More
Jim and Gloria Burrows joined the club in 1950's and became lifetime supporters of the Bulldogs club.Learn More
A speedy, rugged second rower, Eric Pascoe made his debut for Western Australia against Great Britain in June 1957.Learn More
World War 2 commando Gerry Green, who played for South Perth, represented WA three times against Balmain in 1949.Learn More
Centre Jack Cousins was one of six Cottesloe union players to switch to rugby league in 1948. State Player 1948 and 49.Learn More
Cottesloe Tigers Graham Washington played the first game in WA against Perth Districts on April 17, 1948.Learn More
'Tough as nails' hooker Jim Casey drove from York to Perth every weekend to play for the Nedlands club in the early 1950s.Learn More
Fullback Joe McGuiness came to league in 1948 when the Fremantle club moved in its entirety to play the code.Learn More
Tough forward John Pope's visits to the league judiciary were legendary, where it is said he had his own 'permanent' seat.Learn More
The Kailis brothers were part of the Hellenic club, but are more famous for their family fishing business.Learn More
Centre, WA State player and coach Ken Kennedy helped form the Canning Districts rugby league club in 1952.Learn More
Norman Plester played for South Perth from 1951-1956, playing over 100 games and represented Western Australia 11 times.Learn More
Ray and John Graffin became the first brothers to play for Western Australia in 1959 in a match against NSW Country.Learn More
Robert Patching helped South Perth win their third premiership in 1952 after taking out the Brice Trophy a year earlier, aged just 19.Learn More
All-round sportsman Ron Kidner played for Cottesloe from 1951-57, and for the WA state side that toured NSW, SA and NT in 1957.Learn More
Young Cottesloe centre Tom Myles won the Brice Trophy at 20 and captained the first West Australian State team to tour NSW in 1952.Learn More
Sam Cohen played for Perth, the Rabbitohs and represented WA in 1948 as a front rower, and in 1949 against SA as a centre.Learn More
Halfback Stan Saxon was just 18 when he made his WA State debut against touring rugby league giants Balmain in 1949.Learn More
Terry Sullivan played for Fremantle Districts vs Perth Districts in the first game at the Esplanade on April 14, 1948.Learn More
Victoria Park/Canning Lock Bill Hillier won the Brice Trophy twice (1956 and 1961) and played 18 time for WA, captaining the State twice.Learn More
Frank started his playing career in 1950 at Peake Park in Carlisle with the Eastern Suburbs Club who entered the first grade competition in 1949.Learn More
Seven brave young men from the Palmyra Rugby Union club broke ranks to play in that inaugural game at the Esplanade on April 17th 1948.Learn More
The HistoryofWARL acknowledges several players who made a great contribution to the first rugby league game on the 17th April 1948.Learn More
Over the years there have been a number of great people within the game in WA who have volunteered their time and resources so the game could be successfulLearn More