1970 – 1979

During this decade the ten District clubs engaged an impressive line-up of high profile captain/coaches. Great Britain International Terry Clawson (South Newcastle) –Immortal and Australian International Johnny Raper (Western Suburbs) – Australian International Brian ‘Chicka’ Moore (Macquarie) – Australian International Alan Thomson (Lakes United) – to name a few.

In 1971 the “six tackle rule” was introduced.

In 1975 the differential scrum penalty was introduced.

In 1976 the Newcastle Rugby League discussed changing their policy on allowing videotape evidence at Appeals Committee hearings.  Although the NSW Rugby League had ruled that film evidence was admissible, the NRL decided not to allow videotape evidence at that time.   They maintained that videotape was not reliable as evidence as the tape could be ‘doctored.’

Referee Tom Gustard retired after a career that included 14 Newcastle grand finals and a state match between NSW and Queensland in 1973.


John Cootes (West) played four games for N.S.W., four Tests for Australia, and three World Cup matches
Terry Pannowitz (Maitland) retired after a 15 year playing career. He made his debut for Maitland in 1960, during which he amassed 345 matches, 237 in first grade.
1972 Brian Burke (Maitland) won ‘Country Player of the Year’
1979 Pat Smith (Maitland) won ‘Country Player of the Year’


Four clubs won two premierships each – Western Suburbs won in 1970 and 1978, Maitland in 1971 and 1973, Cessnock in 1972 and 1977, and Lakes United in 1974 and 1975. The other winners were South Newcastle in 1976 and North Newcastle in 1979.


Foundation club Northern Suburbs became North Newcastle in 1978 after it had enlarged its district to include Raymond Terrace and Nelson Bay

Representative games

1970 Great Britain defeated Newcastle 49-16
NSW defeat QLD 32-15 at No1 Sportsground.
1974 Great Britain played Newcastle
1977 Newcastle defeated France 19-12.
1979 Newcastle defeated New Zealand 19-12
Newcastle won the Country Rugby League Championships in 1973 and 1979.