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St George Dragons Rugby League History
Since 1921 - Our Proud History
The dash for the door
1907 - 1910:

Mid 1907: St George can trace its Rugby League history back to 1907 when the new game was first mentioned in local newspaper, the St George Call. This was during the early days of Australia's breakaway from Rugby Union with James Giltinan, Henry Hoyle and cricketer Victor Trumper attending meetings in an effort to attract players to Rugby League.

Joe McGraw - St George rugby league history
Joe McGraw
Rockdale Town Hall, Friday, February 28, 1908: A meeting was held at Rockdale Town Hall, south of Sydney. Mainly instigated by St George Rugby League pioneers, Messers W. Munn and Joe McGraw, the meeting was attended by New South Wales Rugby League officials and Rugby Union players from the local district.
St George Juniors and St George Referee Association
The St George Junior League commenced in 1911, with eight A Grade teams, and six B Grade teams. Games were played at Hurstville Oval, Campsie, Convent Ground, Sans Souci, Arncliffe Park, Brighton Le-Sands and Kogarah Park (Jubilee Oval). Later, Prince Edward Park (later the site of St George Leagues Club) became the main centre.
By 1920, St George had a strong junior base with 10 A-Grade teams, 11 B-Grade teams and 14 C-Grade teams.
During these early years, Western Suburbs and NSWRL maintained a loose oversight of the organisation.

The referees had grown alongside the juniors. In May 1920, an informal grouping of Referees Association met at Rockdale Town Hall to form the St George District Referees Association.
The first office bearers were: President: A Farrow, Vice President: C Negus, Secretary/Treasurer: S Bossi, NSWRL Delegate: Joe McGraw.
McGraw played a very important role in the foundation of the three organisations - Juniors, Referees, District Club.
The Referees Association were strong supporters of the foundation of the District Club, but in 1936 supported the Junior League when it broke from the District and NSWRL over management policies.
However, commonsense prevailed after a couple of years and all parties resumed the partnership.
At this meeting, a St George Rugby League club was definitely formed with chairman of the meeting, Alderman and Mayor W. Taylor being elected as President.
NSWRL chairman, Henry Clement Hoyle delivered a convincing address and the Rugby Union players in attendance unanimously voted in favour of joining the new Rugby League.
However, pressure from Rugby Union saw a swift change of mind with only three players actually signing up, one of those being Ted Courtney who later became a member of the first Kangaroos.
According to The Bulletin, in campaigning against the new game, there was a hasty exit to the door. But other reports in The St George Call and The Rugby League News painted a different picture, stating the meeting was well attended and that the motion to form a League club in St George was carried. Nevertheless, the end result was disappointment for the organisers and a new approach was required.

Sans Souci, April 30, 1910: It took two more years but in 1910, the "St George Third Grade Rugby League Football Club" was formed and admitted into the NSWRL third grade competition.

Jersey 1910. Artist impression by Gav - St George rugby league historyThe colours of the club were red and white. The jerseys had red and white horizontal hoops which were four inches wide. They wore black shorts, black socks with red and white tops. The headquarters were at Stroud's Hotel, Kogarah, and the training room was the small hall (old church) in Gray Street. The club's home ground was at Sans Souci and Mr A. Farrat was installed as coach.

The St George third graders of 1910 became the first St George Rugby League team to take to the field and did so in convincing fashion, thrashing the Newtown thirds by 36-0 at Sans Souci.
The scorers for this historic match were: C Haydon 3, J Thomson 2, F Holt, B Haydon, A.Gore tries. C Haydon 4, A Larkin, S Territt goals. Referee: C Negus.

Relentless persistence
St George made numerous attempts to join the first grade competition. The third grade competition which St George belonged to was enjoying a growing local support base.
Rugby League matches in Sydney were attracting large crowds and became even more popular than Rugby Union which was suspended in World War I.

Allan Clark - St George rugby league history
Allan Clark

Unfortunately, there was considerable opposition from within the NSWRL to a St George first grade team being admitted into the premiership competition. The main problem being the reluctance of the NSWRL to upset the eight team comp and introduce a weekly bye.
Relentless in their lobbying of the NSWRL were men like Joe McGraw (a local referee) and Allan Clark. They also had strong support from the likes of Arthur V. Moymow (president, St George Juniors), J.H. Burt and G.B. Holt.

On March 4, 1911 at Morris's Hotel, Rockdale, the St George Juniors were born. Allan Clark was largely responsible for forming this new junior competition and eight 'A-Grade' clubs resulted from his initial efforts.

In 1911, St George also joined the separate 'Presidents Cup' competition.
A moving of the NSWRL boundaries saw the official name of the club changed to 'Wests III' although the club was still referred to as St George. This remained the case until 1915 when the proper St George name returned.

St George rugby league history

The cornerstone is finally set
Wednesday 13 October 1920: The NSWRL granted St George a first grade team, and decided to eliminate Annandale. The discussion took the best part of three hours in which the St George representatives, GB Holt, Allan Clark and Joe McGraw, lobbied hard.
Monday 8 November 1920: A public meeting to discuss the introduction of St George into the first grade competition was arranged. An advertisement on October 30 in The St George Call read as follows:

"A public meeting will be held in the Kogarah School of Arts on Monday, November 8 at 8pm to form a grade club for the district of St George, to take part in the 1921 competition of the NSWRL. All players and supporters are cordially invited to attend. J. McGraw, Convener."
Thus laid the foundation of the St George District RLFC and all the history that was to follow.

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