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On This Day: The Rabbitohs registered the Perfect Season of 1925

The Rabbitohs team of 1925 is still to this day the only side to win every premiership game and their great success can be attributed to kick-starting an unprecedented run of seven titles in eight years. Captained by Alf ‘Smacker’ Blair, with Alf O’Connor as his deputy and coached by Howard Hallett, Souths’ magnificent achievement can best be described as ‘the perfect season’.

Souths met Balmain in their Round 1 match at the headquarters (SCG), in front of 16,000 spectators. The Rabbitohs led 7-5 at the break, with Benny Wearing scoring 11 points in their well-deserved 16-10 victory.

In their next two games they kept both of their opponents scoreless. Firstly, they defeated Sydney University 13-0 at the SCG, and then arch-rivals Easts 14-0 also at the SCG. Towards the end of the match Souths’ vice-captain was sent off for a late tackle and later cautioned by the judiciary.

St. George gave Souths a scare in their Round 4 encounter, which was played at Earl Park, Arncliffe, in front of a record crowd of 7,500. On a very heavy ground which distressed both sides, the Dragons led 5-2 at the break, and despite scoring two tries to one they were pipped in the end by the Rabbitohs 11-10. The hero for Souths was Benny Wearing again, who scored a try and three goals for a personal tally of 9 points.

The Rabbitohs had another lucky win against Newtown in Round 5 at Marrickville Oval. Souths led 6-3 at the break, and increased their lead to 11-3 early in the second half. But Newtown clawed their way back with a penalty goal and a converted try to bring them within one point of Souths. The Rabbitohs were now desperately trying to win by a bigger margin, but instead, their over-eagerness was fatal when they were penalised and Tommy Ellis kicked the penalty goal to give Newtown the lead at 12-11. A scrum was packed close to Newtown’s tryline and Souths’ five-eighth Frank Brogan wriggled his way over to score the match winning try in the last play of the match. Benny Wearing had an off-day with the boot after missing all four kicks he attempted.

 
Souths bounced back into top form against Glebe in Round 6 with an easy 31-8 victory, with Ernie Lapham scoring 4 tries. Then, after having the bye the Rabbitohs defeated Wests 23-20 at the SCG in Round 8. This was followed with a comfortable 15-10 victory over second-placed Norths. The game was played at the SCG in front of the season’s largest crowd of 20,000 and the win gave the Rabbitohs a five-point buffer on the table.

The Rabbitohs secured their fifth title after defeating the Students for the second time that year. Their 8-2 victory put them six points clear on the ladder ahead of Balmain. Souths continued their unbeaten run after downing Glebe 11-2 at the SCG. Round 12 saw Souths bounce back into great form as they defeated St. George 25-8 at the SCG, who almost snatched victory against them in Round 4.

In their last round match a small crowd of 3,000 turned up at the SCG to witness Souths defeat Easts 8-5. Sydney received extremely heavy rain and the Bulli soil patch in the centre of the SCG pitch was under water and the rest of the field was very heavy. The poor conditions prevented Souths’ speedy backline from dominating the game and near the end of the game Souths’ prop Pat Murphy was sent off for fighting.

Pat Murphy was the only player to play in every game for the Rabbitohs, and Benny Wearing finished the season as the competition’s top tryscorer and top pointscorer with 76 points (12 tries and 20 goals).

The mighty Rabbitohs outfit of 1925 won their premiership by a comfortable 10 points and their dominance was so great that the NSWRL were forced into introducing an automatic finals series the following season in order to maintain interest in the competition. The system stayed in place until 1953.