Team list

A Look Back At Premiership Success

Despite the South Sydney Rabbitohs not featuring on Grand Final day in 2016, it is still a time of celebration for our Members and supporters.

Join us as we look back at our 21 premiership successes since 1908.

1) 1908 – a new competition begins and champions are crowned

The South Sydney team of 1908 will go down as the inaugural premiers of the elite Rugby League competition in Australia, when they defeated Eastern Suburbs in the Final, 14 points to 12, at the Agricultural Ground in Sydney. Six South Sydney players would tour with the Kangaroos that year thanks to their efforts for the team in red and green.

2) 1909 – the no-show from Balmain

South Sydney were awarded the 1909 premiership when Balmain forfeited the Final, in protest about being scheduled as a curtain-raiser match to the main fixture between the Kangaroos and the Wallabies. Souths kicked off, a try was awarded, and the men in cardinal and myrtle were declared premiers. A pick-up game was organised of players from other Clubs playing against South Sydney to entertain the crowd. Souths won this game 18-10 at the Royal Agricultural Ground.

3) 1914 – First past the post

South Sydney claimed their third premiership in seven years, at the start of the first World War, when they finished on top of the ladder from a fast-finishing Newtown Club. Souths clinched the title with a final round victory over Annandale, 14 points to five at the Agricultural Ground.

4) 1918 – Book-ending World War I

The South Sydney men won their fourth premiership when they finished on top of the ladder ahead of Wests, claiming 24 points for the season and premiership trophy. Souths won the 1914 title at the start of World War I and claimed it again in 1918, the year the Great War ended.

5) 1925 – Undefeated

The South Sydney Club was the talk of the town in 1925, claiming its fifth premiership title with an undefeated record from its 12 games that season. The Club also won the second and third grade titles and the City Cup, leading acclaimed Rugby League journalist Claude Corbett to dub South Sydney, the Pride of the League. 1925 would mark the start of the Club’s first golden era.

6) 1926 – Stability the key

South Sydney claimed back-to-back titles in 1926, with the men in red and green overcoming Sydney University in the Final 11 points to five at the Agricultural Ground to win the Truth and Sportsman Cup. South Sydney only used 19 players throughout the entire season.

7) 1927 – The Three-Peat

South Sydney claimed its third straight premiership and its seventh in the first 20 years of the competition, with a 20-11 victory over St George at the Agricultural Ground in the Final. Benny Wearing and George Treweek starred for Souths, with scribes describing this team as the best-balanced team in Rugby League in Australia.

8) 1928 – Climbing to Four Straight

The season of 1928 was not as spectacular as the previous three for South Sydney, but the Club took out its fourth straight premiership title in 1928, smashing Easts 26-5 in the Final. 1928 will be remembered for the semi-final against St George known as ‘The Battle at Earl Park’. It ranks as one of the bravest wins by a South Sydney side in history, with Souths reduced to 11 men at one stage to finish in regular time at five-all, before going to win 13 pints to five in extra time.


9) 1929 – High Five

The South Sydney Club achieved something that had never been achieved before, and has been done once since, that being winning five consecutive premierships. Souths hammered Newtown 30-10 in the decider at the Sydney Sports Ground with a squad missing almost half the team due to representative commitments for Australia against England in the Old Dart. This truly was a golden era for South Sydney.

10) 1931 – Winning Smiles During the Great Depression

With the Great Depression taking hold across the world following South Sydney’s ninth premiership in 1929, the men in cardinal and myrtle were able to put smiles on the faces on their supporters when they claimed the Club’s tenth title in 1931. A crowd of over 27,000 people saw South Sydney defeat Eastern Suburbs in the Final, 12 points to seven, thanks to a remarkable Harry Eyers try in the final minute of play.


11) 1932 – Seven of the Best

With the Great Depression coming to end mid-1932, four years of heartache would begin to lift for people all over the world. With that came the seventh premiership in eight years for the mighty South Sydney Club, the final premiership of the Club’s first golden era. Souths sought revenge against Western Suburbs in the Grand Final in 1932, reversing a 23-8 loss in the Final to defeat the men from the west 19-12 in the decider. Seven premierships in eight years was a remarkable feat and something that brought great joy to many people during one of the toughest periods in Australian history.

12) 1950 – We’re Back

South Sydney had experienced a premiership drought the likes of which they not experienced before – 18 years without victory. That would end in 1950 when the Jack Rayner-led side, which included the likes of Clive Churchill, Bernie Purcell, Greg Hawick, Johnny Graves and Ernie Hammerton to name just a few, would go on to be minor premiers and premiers after defeating Wests 21-15 in the Final played at the Sydney Sports Ground in front of 32,373 fans.


13) 1951 – Sunday Bloody Sunday

South Sydney used their right as minor premiers to challenge Manly in the Grand Final in 1951, with Souths having lost to Saints in semi-finals which saw Greg Hawick’s jaw broken in the opening ten minutes, only to have him refuse to leave the field of play. Manly went on to beat Saints in the Final, leaving Souths to challenge Manly in the Grand Final as was their right to challenge as minor premiers. Souths hammered Manly 42-14. Souths’ 42 points that day remains the record number of points scored by a team in a premiership decider to this day. This was the first year the JJ Giltinan Shield was presented to the premiers.

14) 1953 – Club Success

South Sydney were crowned premiers in first grade for the 14th time in 1953, as well as adding the second grade title, the Club Championship and the President’s Cup, with third grade going down by just two points in their decider. Souths defeated old rivals St George 31 points to 12 in the decider with legendary winger Ian Moir scoring a hat-trick courtesy of his combination with ‘The Little Master’ Clive Churchill.

15) 1954 – Grand Final Glory

In the first season of mandatory Grand Finals, South Sydney would not disappoint their fans as they went on to win their fourth premiership in five years, this time over Newtown in the Grand Final, 23 points to 15. Newtown and Souths had done battle all year, throughout the regular season and the finals, and the Grand Final result was a fitting end to a memorable year for both clubs.


16) 1955 – The Miracle of ‘55

The story of South Sydney in 1955 is one etched in the folklore of Rugby League. Running in eighth spot in a ten team competition, with only three wins from 10 games, the season looked lost for South Sydney. However, led by men of the calibre of Jack Rayner and Clive Churchill, Souths would go on to win their next 11 matches straight, including the Grand Final against Newtown, to claim the Club’s 16th premiership. Clive Churchill famously broke his arm during the second last round game against Manly at Redfern Oval and played on with his arm splinted with the cover of an exercise book. To claim the title in 1955 truly was a miracle, and rounded out the Club’s second golden era, winning five premierships in six years.

17) 1967 – That Intercept

The dominance of the St George Club, who had won 11 straight premierships since the Rabbitohs had last won in 1955, would come to an end in 1967 with the introduction of limited-tackle football, when a young South Sydney side would begin the Club’s third golden era. Souths would take on Canterbury-Bankstown in the Grand Final at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with the enduring image from that game being the intercept try to second rower Bob McCarthy on the way to 12-10 victory.

18) 1968 – Best of the Southern Hemisphere

The Rabbitohs would go back-to-back for the first time since the mid-fifties in 1968 when the young South Sydney side defeated Manly 13-9 in the Grand Final at the Sydney Cricket Ground. In a developing rivalry with the men from the peninsula, the Rabbitohs led by John Sattler dominated the season to finish as premiers for the 18th time. The team then toured New Zealand beating the Kiwi premiers Mt Albert 27-13, before towelling up Brisbane Brothers 55-15 to be regarded as the best team in the southern hemisphere in 1968.

19) 1970 – Sattler’s Heroics

1970 will always be the 19th premiership season for the Rabbitohs, but it will always be remembered as the Grand Final where Sattler broke his jaw. Up against manly again, South Sydney’s skipper had his jaw smashed in a play off-the-ball by Manly forward John Bucknall. Refusing to leave the field and his team mates, Sattler battled on to lead the team to a famous victory on the turf of the SCG. Sattler’s team mates rallied around him once they realised he had broken his jaw in multiple places in just the third minute of play, which they didn’t know until half time, and registered a 23-12 win over the men in maroon and white.

20) 1971 – Rule Changes Can’t Stop Souths

Despite a number of rule changes being brought in to try and halt the run of the Rabbitohs, such as the six-tackle rule and the reduction of the value of a field goal from two points to one such was the dominance of Eric Simms’ boot, South Sydney would go on to claim the Club’s 20th premiership in 1971. Leading one-nil at half time, Souths would go on to defeat St George 16-10, and Denis Pittard would collect his second Rothmans Medal following his outstanding season in the red and green at the end of the Club’s third golden era.

21) 2014 – The Drought is Broken

Following 43 years of heartache for South Sydney fans, the Rabbitohs would collect their first premiership of the NRL era, when they defeated the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 30 points to six at ANZ Stadium. A courageous performance from forward Sam Burgess to play the entire game with a shattered cheekbone and eye socket, plus the brilliance of Greg Inglis, the power of George Burgess and Ben Te’o, the experience of captain John Sutton and Lote Tuqiri, and the youthful exuberance of a host of young up-and-coming stars, delivered South Sydney it’s 21st and most recent premiership victory.

Subscribe to Receive The Latest News, Offers & Member Exclusives.