The Centenary of Schoolboy Rugby League
Crest – Celebrating the Centenary of School Boy Rugby League –
A schools Rugby League competition began in Sydney on 20 May, 1914, with matches being played at the Domain and Metters Sportsground, Erskineville. Nine schools took part including Parramatta Marist and Saint Mary’s Cathedral. 100 years later to the day this event was commemorated with a game being held between Parramatta Marist and St Mary’s Cathedral at Erskineville Oval which is adjacent to where the old Metters Sportsground once existed.
The result was Parramatta Marist winning against Cathedral, 18-4. Also two of the boys donated their commemorative jerseys for framing as part of the School’s history.
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
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 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”
t 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.
Ray Warren -& Rugby League at Parra Marist – Father of Chis Warren. Ray in known as the voice of rugby League.
“Parramatta Marist Brothers had long been overlooked as a school for young talented kids from the country who were good at rugby league. Both the Parramatta and Canterbury clubs had been putting these kids into Fairfield Patrician Brothers. I made it clear to Denis Fitzgerald, the boss at Parra, that my sons’ school, Parramatta Marist, would love to be considered, too.
Fitzgerald made it happen, and suddenly we were hosting a kid from Nelson Bay.
By this time, I had met my second wife, Cher. We married in 1994 and have been together 29 years now. Cher and I took the boarder from the country in to stay for a week while the school found a permanent home for him. He ended up staying with us for about four months, while he helped the school try to win the premier schoolboys’ cup.”
Parramatta Marist Rugby League 1966/7
The Old Boys Union had some old film reels digitised recently. Enjoy