1950 – 1959

In 1950 the Australia team, led by test captain, Clive Churchill, won the Ashes for the first time in 30 years when they defeated Great Britain in the third test, 5 – 2.   Rugby League Week listed the winning try by Novocastrian Ron Roberts as the greatest single moment in Rugby League history.

In the mid 50’s the major football clubs were opening large and luxurious licensed Social Clubs.  Bar and poker machine revenue from these clubs provided a new source of cash to fund and develop the game.

The ‘six -yard rule’ was introduced to keep both the attacking and defending teams from being within three yards of the play-the-ball – effectively six yards apart. In 1953 Newcastle played a visiting American team.  The Americans caused a huge upset by defeating the Newcastle side 19-10.


Clive Churchill (Central Newcastle and South Sydney) the ‘Little Master’ played 27 games for NSW and 34 tests for Australia
Brian Carlson (Northern Suburbs, South Newcastle, and North Sydney) played 10 games for N.S.W., 4 games for Queensland and 17 tests for Australia
Albert Paul (Lakes United, Newtown and Canterbury) played four games for N.S.W. and four tests for Australia
Don Schofield (Cessnock) represented Newcastle, NSW Country, NSW and Australia in the 1956 World Cup. He played 265 games for the Cessnock Goannas and played a season with West (Sydney) in 1952.
Jack Hutchinson (Northern Suburbs, South Sydney) represented Newcastle, NSW Country, NSW. He played for Australia on two occasions including a test against Great Britain in 1946. Jack retired in 1953.


The decade was dominated by Cessnock, Northern Suburbs and Maitland with 3 premierships each.
Cessnock won in 1950, 1954, 1955, Northern Suburbs in 1951, 1953 and 1959 and Maitland in 1956, 1957, 1958.  Waratah Mayfield (1952) was the only other club to win a premiership.


In 1956 the Clayton Cup, NSW Country Rugby League’s award for excellence, was awarded to Maitland.

Representative games

1950       Great Britain defeated Newcastle 21-20
1951       France defeated Newcastle 12-8
1952       Newcastle defeated New Zealand 9-7
1953       American ‘All Stars’ defeated Newcastle 19-10
1954       Newcastle defeated Great Britain twice, 11-10 at Newcastle Sports Ground (in front of 22,855 fans) and 28-22 at Maitland.
1955      Newcastle defeated France 17-15
1956      Newcastle defeated N. Z. Maoris 19-15
1956      Newcastle defeated New Zealand 20-5.
1958      Great Britain defeated Newcastle twice, 35-16 and 30-23
1959      New Zealand defeated Newcastle 25-6