Centenary Game of School Boy Rugby League -
A video of the Centenary Game of School Boy Rugby League (1914-2014) - Parramatta Marist v St Marys Cathedral has been uploaded to Youtube. The match was held at Erskineville Oval (adjacent to the location of the field for the original game) on Tuesday, 20th May 2014, 100 years to the day that it was first played. It was originally a primary school competition but only St. Mary's Cathedral, Parramatta Marist and St. James, Forest Lodge (which remains a primary school) still remain from the 9 teams that participated that day 100 years ago.
Come and celebrate 100 Years of Catholic Schools Rugby League 1914-2014 at Erskineville Oval on Tuesday, 20th May 2014, at 11.30am. 100 years to the day that it was first played. It was originally a primary school competition but only St. Mary's Cathedral, Parramatta Marist and St. James, Forest Lodge (which remains a primary school) still remain from the 9 teams that participated that day 100 years ago.
The 'Under 60kg' Parramatta Marist RL Team took on St. Mary's Cathedral on 20th May 2014 at Erskineville Oval.
A schools competition began in Sydney on 20 May, 1914, with matches being played at the Domain and Metters Sportsground, Erskineville. Nine schools took part, eight of which were Catholic and one Anglican – St John’s Darlinghurst. These schools were:
St Benedict’s Broadway St Joseph’s Newtown
St Patrick’s Church Hill St John’s Darlinghurst
St Patrick’s Parramatta St Mary's Cathedral
Marist Parramatta St James Forest Lodge
St Peter’s Surry Hills
The event was recorded in The Daily Telegraph of 20 May, 1914:
“League football will enter upon an important stage of its career to-day. For the first time the 13-aside game will be played by a number of school teams. The competition has been launched after considerable beating down of prejudices, and even now, only denominational schools have taken up the code”
A commemorative ceremony and games of rugby league will take place at Erskineville Oval on Tuesday 20 May 2014 commencing at 11.30am. Erskineville Oval is adjacent to where the old Metters Sportsground once existed. The three surviving schools that played in 1914, St James Forest Lodge, St Mary's Cathedral College and Parramatta Marist High all played matches at Metters in 1914, and will take part in the event.
It was certainly a significant event for the schools in 1914. They were not the large well known colleges of the city but were small schools that predominantly served working class Catholics. Their participation in schoolboy rugby league, in the early years, became an important part of their struggle for acceptance within a sometimes hostile society.