1960 – 1969

Prior to 1960 if the minor premiers were defeated in the playoffs they then had the right to challenge the winner of the final to a grand final match.

The Second Division competition started in 1960 with nine teams which grew to twenty-three for the 1961 season.

By 1961 enrolments in the Saturday morning Schoolboy Competition had reached 2500.

In 1962 the Television Station, NBN 3 was opened and began transmitting to Newcastle audiences.  They covered their first rugby league match, Newcastle Vs Great Britain on the old cinemascope reels in that year.

The NRL abolished the ‘residentially qualified’ rule at the end of the 1960 season and introduced Club Football.

From 1963 to 1965 the Newcastle representative team won 15 consecutive matches, including wins in three Country Championships and wins against South Africa and France and the famous victories in the State Cup. This Cup, in which Sydney teams played NSW Country Divisional teams in a knockout competition, was launched in 1964 by the NSWRL.   Newcastle defeated South Sydney, North Sydney, the all-conquering St George and Parramatta to win the Cup.

In the 1960’s the Caltex Oil Company began a system of generous endowments to foster the game in country areas. On June 9, 1964 the Newcastle City Council voted against the Sunday Observance Act of 1781 and approved the use of Council grounds for commercial Sunday sport.

The ‘four tackle limit’ rule was introduced in 1967

Referee Noel Sphor retired after refreeing 12 consecutive grand finals


1966   Terry Pannowitz (Maitland) won the ‘Country Player of the Year’. Allan Thomson (Lakes United) played four games for N.S.W. and three Tests for  Australia, and became the only player to win ‘Country Player of the Year’ two years in a row – 1967 and 1968.
1969   John Cootes (West) won the ‘Country Player of the Year’
Allan Buman (Newcastle Western Suburbs) played nine games for N.S.W. and two tests for Australia
Les Johns (South Newcastle and Canterbury Bankstown) played 15 games for N.S.W. and 14 tests for Australia
Brian Carlson (South) was the coach and Terry Pannowitz (Maitland) the captain of the 1968 State Cup side.


South Newcastle won three premierships 1963, 1964, 1968
Maitland won two premierships 1965, 1969
Western Suburbs won two premierships 1961, 1966
Northern Suburbs also won two premierships 1962, 1967
Cessnock in 1960 was the other team to win a premiership.


Macquarie United became a first grade club in1960. Macquarie grew out of the original Toronto Rugby League Club formed in 1952.
The Central Newcastle club relocated from the inner-city to Charlestown in 1968 and became Central-Charlestown, popularly known within the Newcastle Rugby League fraternity as “The Butcher Boys”.

Representative games

1960    France defeated Newcastle14-10.
1962    Newcastle played the undefeated Great Britain Lions and won 23-18
1963    Newcastle was beaten by N. Z.
1963    Newcastle defeated South Africa 27-17
1964    Newcastle defeated France 16-14
1966    Newcastle lost to Great Britain 5-2
1967    Newcastle defeated N.Z. 14-7.
Newcastle won the Country Rugby League Championships five times – 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968 and 1969.