Calls for Easts JRLFC to return — let’s start by getting back the territories Souths “acquired”.

For those who missed the story in the Sydney Morning Herald over the weekend, former Roosters second-rower and local junior Brian Fletcher has called for the revival of the Eastern Suburbs local juniors competition.

Source: Wikipedia.

Currently, the Easts juniors are made up of the Clovelly Crocodiles, Bondi United, Paddo Tigers and St Charles — and all four are resigned to playing in the Souths Juniors competition at a significant cost.

So Fletch said he’s been talking to Freddy/God about getting the local league up and running again, to create a greater pipeline for youngsters in the area to play for the Roosters.

But the one thing missing from Fletch’s call is that the Roosters didn’t stop having a junior league off their own bat: South Sydney actually “acquired” many of the regions back in the 1950s.

After complaining that the typical Souths areas — Redfern, Waterloo etc — were no longer producing the players they needed thanks to the areas changing demographics and the typical Rabbitohs areas being de-populated, the Rabbitohs begged the NSWRL to change the territory outlines.

Catering to  the pleas, to “even the competition”, the NSWRL handed traditional Roosters territories to South Sydney — territories that have not been handed back despite the remaining Roosters territories being decimated by similar de-population and the lack of working-class families in those former strongholds.

The canard that is the SSJRLFC.

This is the story lost in history, only brought to the fore in recent years by a very well-known Roosters fan who sent an email to Phil Gould back in 2008, from which Phil published his take verbatim. The full story, published in the Herald, can be found here.

For hardened Roosters fans, this excerpt is a must-read if you haven’t read it already:

“Many Roosters supporters resent the way their own junior teams, who participate in joint competitions with Souths, are treated by the administrators of those competitions. Local Sydney league boundaries were based on local government boundaries when clubs were formed back in the early 20th century. Souths’ boundaries were based on the municipalities of Redfern, Botany, Alexandria, Mascot and Waterloo, while the Roosters’ boundaries were those of the eastern municipalities of Paddington, Woollahra, Vaucluse, Randwick and Waverley.

“Many of these councils have since amalgamated, as demographic changes affected the inner and eastern suburbs of Sydney. Randwick Council has a western boundary of Anzac Parade and incorporates all those eastern suburbs east of Anzac Parade, and these suburbs like Randwick, Coogee and Maroubra were all part of the Roosters’ territory from 1908 to 1929. Does anyone living in those suburbs then or now not claim to live in the eastern suburbs?

The Glebe RLC 2011. Souths worked to have them booted from the competition.

“But in 1929 a number of clubs led by Souths and Balmain helped change the NSWRL constitution so that instead of needing 75 per cent [of the vote] to remove a team from the competition, only 50 per cent was needed. Once the constitution was changed, Balmain, with Souths’ help, moved to kick foundation club Glebe from the competition. Roosters fans can’t miss the irony in this, given the events 70 years later.

“Soon after, these same clubs changed the constitution back, to protect themselves from future expulsion, so 75 per cent of the vote was again required to remove a club from the then NSWRL. As part of the deal to remove Glebe, Balmain took over Glebe’s territory and Souths annexed that part of the Roosters territory east of Anzac Parade and south of Alison Road.

The Roosters were as a result left without much of their natural territory, and a large future source of young talent. This was very relevant because for many years you needed to reside within your team’s boundaries to play for that club.

“Souths won seven of their 20 premierships with a significant part of the Roosters’ territory, while the residential rule was in place. The two players in recent years that Souths have so resented playing for the Roosters, Craig Wing and Braith Anasta, due to their alleged status as Souths juniors, did in fact play their junior football for clubs in the eastern suburbs, which was original Roosters territory, and should still be.”

You can’t really say it any better than that.

The following Eastern Suburbs junior rugby league clubs have since either folded or become affiliated with the Souths Juniors competition (not including the four teams already mentioned as they remain Roosters clubs):

Paddington (Paddo) Colts (became affiliated with South Sydney shortly before folding);  Coogee Dolphins (formed under the auspices of the Eastern Suburbs Junior League but now affiliated with the South Sydney League); Dunbar United (Paddington); Nelson Sharks (Bondi Junction)  – known as Denison Devils from 1958-1982; East Randwick; Rose Bay Rams; Woolloomooloo Warriors; Brothers (combined Eastern Subs Catholic Club & Marcellin College Randwick); Paddington CYO; Brighton Hotel Jets (Darlinghurst); Coogee Bay Hotel; Astra Hotel Knights (Bondi); Bondi Royals; Bondi Sharks; and Waverley Waratah.

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Paddo Colts: a proud club no more.

So while some of the lack of a junior league — at least in recent years — can be attributed to the Roosters not financially backing a league in the way the absurdly-rich Souths Juniors leagues club can, the idea that the Roosters simply can’t be bothered to back it is a canard, one that religiously lives on among the ill-informed — namely, Souths fans.

They were prevented from nurturing the areas early in the piece thanks to the ruthless nature of their neighbours — the very neighbours many Roosters fans marched for in 2001 and the very neighbours the Roosters helped to keep alive when they aligned with the poorer ARL during the Super League war.

This is a club that reportedly made a gentleman’s agreement with the Balmain Tigers to forfeit the 1909 Grand Final in protest to the game being played as a curtain-raiser to a Kangaroos versus Wallabies match — yet they turned up, kicked off and scored against no opposition to claim the win.

They then have the nerve to claim they’ve won 20 premierships.

Do we really doubt that a club that would break an agreement and claim a premiership won under dubious circumstances would actually have a problem taking others’ territories for their own gain?

Do we really doubt that a club that would change the rules, kick teams out and change them back to protect themselves just so they could get their hands on a few more territories, would blink at claiming beach-side suburbs that could only be more east if they were New Zealand?

The South Sydney rugby league team is a club that has bent the rules, reportedly broken agreements and acted in a manner that suits their own purposes, including claiming others’ territories and keeping them — as expertly put by others more qualified than this writer.

And besides, calling those areas Souths territories has already been disestablished, using nothing more than a couple of maps and some absolute facts.

The Eastern Suburbs as defined by Common Sense. And Maps.

The following is a map of the “Eastern Suburbs” as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which publishes the Census:

Screen shot of a map of the Eastern Suburbs from the  ABS website.

Screen shot of a map of the Eastern Suburbs from the ABS website.

Not only that, an interactive map showing the memberships of the eastern suburbs area, as sent to this writer at the start of the season from a reader called Max, details fans who have a membership and have “staked their claim” by registering on the NRL’s website. Pretty shocking results in the areas the ABS has designated the Eastern Suburbs:

Screenshot from NRL.com.

Screenshot from NRL.com.

Certainly a lot of Roosters emblems on that map, isn’t there?

Under every metric, using every map and anecdote, many of the areas that play in the Souths Juniors competition are Roosters areas, or at the very least should be. Therefore, an Easts junior rugby league program has all the makings and areas to begin again, should the Souths juniors leagues club allow it.

Heck, we just proved that the fanbase in the area is pro-Roosters.

A new ESJRLFC. And a new territory to claim following its abandonment by Souths.

So if the Easts juniors competition were to start again, clubs that should come under the league’s remit would be the Coogee Dolphins, Coogee-Randwick Wombats, Bondi United, Clovelly Crocodiles, Kensington Saints, Kensington United, Maroubra Lions, St Charles and the Paddington Tigers.

These areas were removed from the eastern suburbs umbrella despite all evidence pointing to the areas being part of Easts.

And from what I am hearing, many clubs would be happy to leave.

Anecdotally, this writer recalls hearing the story of a Souths juniors board meeting when the Roosters signed Braith Anasta, a Maroubra Lions junior. Board members and stakeholders were up in arms about the signature, claiming it was “another slap to the face” and all that shit. They threatened to kick all the Roosters’ junior clubs out of their league.

Well, the manager of one of those Roosters clubs, who shall remain nameless as will the club, was in attendance along with the heads of the remaining juniors clubs. He told the packed room of rabid fans that “Fine, we’ll leave: but we are taking our money with us”.

The league quickly reconsidered its bitter, twisted and ridiculous threat.

If a junior league is formed under the Easts umbrella, perhaps it’s high time to re-draw the territories and provide clubs — Roosters or not — with an out, rather than the clubs being threatened to be expelled whenever Souths Juniors higher-ups throw a tantrum.

We can start by declaring Redfern a Roosters territory. Yes, I said it.

Redfern Oval. Source: City of Sydney.

The Souths club are aiming to move their training grounds to Heffron Park in Maroubra, meaning the training facilities at Redfern Oval will be abandoned and, with the senior’s leagues club being placed in administration, would literally have no footing in their “traditional heartland”.

They will play all their games 20km west out at Homebush, and be based at Maroubra. There is nothing keeping the area under the Rabbitohs remit besides some soon-to-be-irrelevant discussions of the area being the Rabbitohs’ “spiritual home”.

With Redfern being the suburb next to the “latte-sipping” hipster-lovin’ Surry Hills area, a suburb synonymous with the Roosters, the area is more Rooster than Bunny anyway. The coffee shops sell good coffee, they have hipster restaurants like the Milk Bar and hipster pubs like The Norfolk.

If the Bunnies are determined to get out of the area, then the Roosters are entitled to take it.

UPDATED: a previous version of this article doubled up by saying both the Coogee Wombats and Coogee-Randwick would come under the Roosters’ remit. Those clubs are one and the same.

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31 responses to “Calls for Easts JRLFC to return — let’s start by getting back the territories Souths “acquired”.

  1. That is your best work so far! For me this is the biggest gripe I have concerning Rugby League, what Souths did to Easts by taking there bounderies and never returning them is disgraceful and the story needs to be more publicised to let people know what this so called “pride of RL” club did to other clubs. Dont forget they also took Newtowns area over too.

    The worst thing the Roosters ever did was get rid of our great name of Eastern Suburbs, this played into souths hands of taking over our area and left many Eastern Suburbs people turned off the roosters.
    They need to reinstate this name asap and then look to reclaim our areas that were lost and then rebuild the Eastern Suburbs junior league competion.

    The club needs really fight for this cause and throw whatever resources into it as the rewards of reclaiming all of the East and having a huge junior league will outweigh any negitves and will give the club and the area what they should have always had and deserve.

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    • To the club’s credit — without changing the name back — they’ve paid great homage this year to the Eastern Suburbs name.

      However, I wouldn’t mind one bit if they changed the name back to Easts 🙂

      And while i definitely agree that the club should have a greater junior league expanse, I honestly doubt the club would do it. What needs to happen is former players such as Fletch and Ricko lead the charge, remain vocal and hope that the club listens to its members…

      And cheers for reading mate, and also the kudos 🙂

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    • I played for Paddo- Woollahra RSL Tigers from 1965 to 1970 (Balmain colours Black & Gold) it was Eastern Suburbs JRL not Souths I don’t know where you get your information from but its wrong I also played in Easts jerseys in junior rep sides as well teams were Bondi Sharks – Bondi United – Paddo Colts – Clovelly – Marcellin ? College also teams that didn’t stay long Double Bay, Paddo PBC probably missed some it was long time ago … one year Easts didn’t have a comp in my age group so I played for Clovelly in the North Sydney juniors comp the whole SG Ball team in 1968 was the Paddo Tigers team … I have my Fathers blazer from 1967 PWRSL Tigers Manager Undefeated Premiers …

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      • Ummm…. I don’t know what story you read but I never said Paddo Woollahra wasn’t Easts… and certainly never said it was Souths. I said they now “have” to play in the Souths comp because there isn’t a true ESDJRLF Comp — that’s the closest i can come to understanding your reasoning for calling the info wrong.

        So i don’t know where you got YOUR info from but it’s wrong, which is strange because it’s all in the article above.

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  2. Listen mate, what a load of SHIT… 1st ALL your facts are WRONG…. Coogee dolphins were a EAST team. BUT one yr in, the east board told Coogee they don’t want them any more. Can’t afford to support them was the reasoning mate. Do some research and check that up.. And two, that bullshit map with the Roosters logo is a Fkn bullshit…. You know roosters have given away 5k membership for 2013? Yes given away….

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    • What. A load. Of SHIT. Maybe you should take your own advice and do some research. And how many memberships have Souths given away? All those memberships and they STILL couldn’t keep the leagues club open?

      For what its worth, I’ll trust the “well known Roosters fan” over a random commenter id never heard from until now.

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    • One more thing, as is a typical souths fan, you’ve just made shit up. That 5k giveaway is pretty much invented. But if its true–and I have EVERY REASON to doubt it–then compare apples to apples. How many have Souths given away?

      For instance: they claim to have 20k+ members but get 9k to a game against Parramatta?

      Roosters have 13k+ members and on the same weekend they get 16k+ to a game against an out-of-town team the Storm.

      Explain that with a made up “fact”.

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  3. Just two quick questions Dane:

    1- How does it feel knowing your club can’t abandon Redfern soon enough?

    2- How does it feel coming onto a pro-Roosters website with an inability to offer proper grammar and making a general arse of yourself?

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    • Nicely played Damien. Also, Dane — rumours are that Souths have given away 8,000 memberships through “Souths Cares”. That’s just a rumour, or as they call it among Souths fans, a “fact”.

      Like

  4. You can always pick a delusional souffs troll…
    They all SPROUT the same TRASH cause they’re all TARRED with the same BRUSH. VIOLIN
    Any one of the shouts above would have made a far more appropriate avatar for our guest don’t you think Jake?
    And to the troll…
    Is it true when Reggie Rabbit misses the plane for souffs away games (a regular occurrence I’m suitably informed), he has to pay for his own airfares there and back? Perth or Auckland anyone?

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    • Hahaha wow, really?

      (Re the avatars: They’re automatically generated I’m afraid, but yes: your all-capped yells would be far more appropriate :))

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  5. Yes it is true.
    I got it straight from little Reggie’s mouth himself.
    (You remember my pride and joy, and the pro SSFC workshop it’s at…)

    And let’s not forget about Mark Hughes, souffs former development officer. I can’t count how many ales, curries and seafood platters
    I downed whilst witnessing the rousing reception and rapturous applause he commanded from the faithful whilst speaking in the souffs rooms at ANZ. What?, he’s no longer at souffs?… that’s right aye. Richo sent him an sms telling him his contract had been terminated because he held the belief souffs were making a mistake putting all their eggs in the “Bradford basket”.
    But what would he know right?
    I guess it’s suck eggs now aye.

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  6. Ill start off by saying that I’m a Souths fan and have played in the Souths Jrs comp all my life. And one of my kids play’s for South Eastern(Souths) and my oldest plays for Clovelly (east team) and we have lived in Maroubra all but 3yrs of our life’s.
    Souths Jrs come into the “Eastern Suburbs” and built a junior league from the ground up in a area that East JRLFC chose to neglect. I find it funny that East are complaining about the significant cost ( $80k ) to run their 4 clubs. To me, $80k seems significant cost when you compare Souths Jrs spend $2m per yr. Now, East want to take over Maroubra, Malabar and other Strong Souths jr areas? Tell me, what team did East JRLFC have in Maroubra before Maroubra lions was formed under SSJ? In Malabar Before South Eastern? None I believe. Now Brian Fletcher wants to start a brand new comp under a East banner? 1st, teams like Maroubra, Coogee wombats would never play under a East banner. 2nd why don’t East put their $$$ into the current east clubs (mind you they not spending much now on them) and the old defunct clubs and start a ESJRLFC? I ask any east fan, in 100 yrs why hasn’t there been teams out of Vaucluse, Double Bay, Pots Point, Edgecliff, and those other “Eastern Suburbs” areas? Even tho Maroubra, Malabar, Kensington, Kingsford, Coogee and so on are classified as “Eastern Suburbs” they will always be South Sydney heart land. And just remember, East JRLFC’s need South Juniors, Souths Juniors “DON’T NEED THEM” the Day Bondi united and Clovelly crocodile’s fold, is the day EAST Junior Rugby League dies. I encourage fletcher to start his own league, they will never compete with SSJ.

    Like

    • I’ll leave it to others to respond, as I wrote the article. But asking everyone — Roosters and Souths fans alike — if they can keep responses civil and make it a good, clean fight? It can be a good debate if it doesn’t devolve to name-calling (something I’ve been guilty of too, even in above comments).

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        • Fair enough too. In response:

          The point of the article missing in your response is that the Roosters did not neglect many of the areas Souths now claim as part of the SSJ. As the article states, and according to people more knowledgeable on the subject than I, the areas were acquired after typical Souths territories weren’t producing the juniors required. And the idea that the SSJ built the junior league from the ground up in my mind doesn’t stand, as easts territories were removed and given to Souths.

          The idea that those clubs would never play under an easts banner doesn’t matter if the territories were deemed to be easts territories and returned to under the auspices of ESJ. Whether that happens is another story.

          Your points on Vaucluse etc are valid, but as i mention in the article, easts are also to blame. But to blame all the lack of clubs purely on the Roosters doesn’t sit right, considering they had the territories ripped out from under them early on and never returned despite their territory dwindling.

          It’s all a moot point if the ESJ are given the territories back in my opinion.

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    • “Now, East want to take over Maroubra, Malabar and other Strong Souths jr areas?”

      And yet they where originally East’s but where acquired by South’s.

      All easts are doing are re-acquiring there territory which settles in the Eastern Suburbs.

      A bit rich saying that when the Rabbitohs did the same thing by S.G. Ball who was a dual administrator within South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New South Wales Rugby League at the time.

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    • OK, this is the last of these comments i’ll let through. and clearly, the vast majority are Easts flags esp in areas which are claimed to be Souths Juniors territories. But this is the last of these types of comments i.e. those not based in any form of fact. Clearly, looking at the map, they’re majority-Chooks.

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  7. @Dane,
    Regarding the more-affluent areas that you mention not traditionally producing juniors the answer to your question is pretty obvious. But, and I say this respectfully, what will be your stand on the same issue when the demographic of Newtown, Erskineville and Alexandria eventually changes so completely that it no longer contributes juniors to Souths? Let’s not argue, that is a reality that is not too far away…
    And if your an honest long time local (with perhaps your decency and respect for this site and it’s readers causing you to refrain here somewhat),then you will be well aware of the disdain shown to anything or anyone relating to Easts, whether they be officials, teams or players on a whole and at all levels. Out of respect, I’ll not ask you to concede this is a well known fact. Instead, I will ask you though to ponder this…
    First and foremost, kudos for putting your case on a pro-Roosters site. But in a direct response to your statement that the territory the Rooster’s lay claim to is, in fact, South’s very own heartland then I put to you that you, like the ARL all those years ago, have been sold a furphy my friend.
    Dane, the territory in question was NEVER sought by SSFC to bolster its junior ranks, far from it, but by The Juniors (the club) as a key and vital component of it’s business enterprise model. To this day, and leaving the history and rift between The juniors and SSFC aside, The Juniors remains a highly successful business entity highly supportive that continue to bankroll the junior league. However this club built it’s reputation and it’s wealth on the back of both our junior stocks truth be known, primarily for ITSELF. And one last point. In what shape do you think the local competition would be in if it were left up to SSFC to nurture and fund local competitions without the 50+ years of assistance given by The Juniors? I suggest to you in the same predicament that East’s now find themselves in; without a comp at all. Our quest as Rooster’s supporters is merely the return of our territory for OUR own benefit now.

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  8. As a Bulldogs supporter I agree that its Bullshit and the Rabbits have gotten away with a lot of crap and call them selves the “Pride of the League” ?

    I admire the Roosters, my dads dad went for them and there a good club with a rich history.

    With the rejuvenation of the Southern Suburbs it should be about time Roosters gain there original territory as the Rabbitohs already have all Newtown Jets territory plus there own.

    They have largest fan base by “Acquiring” others territory and than boast on having the largest fan base.

    Good article you written keep it up. Its only fair as it is your original territory

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  9. Plenty of Easts junior teams have folded in recent years and this has nothing to do Souths stealing boundaries, eg East Randwick,Paddo Colts,and Paddo Tigers. The Roosters need to do a lot more to maintain their junior clubs and stop blaming a dispute dating back to the 1950s!!!!

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  10. Missed some of the clubs in the 70s that make up the ESJRL they were tea gardens hotel. Double bay hotel . Billy the pigs hotel. And the others you named..the juniors used be strong in the 70s bloody souths were trying to take our player then . Nothink has changed by the sound of it .I played about 200 games for the tea gardens hotel in bondi junction.

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  11. Easts, did nothing for their juniors during the 80’s. No support to any club. Represent Easts then give your jersey and shorts back. Grand finals at Waverley oval, no guest for presentation. Oh yeah, charge $5 to play. Also Easts took over the Newtown juniors and treated them like shit. I am an ex catho boy and still have good mates from the junior days, however, Easts ignored us and now I think they start from scratch or leave it.

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  12. I used to play for paddo colts during the 70s what a year 75 was we won the d grade against catholic club which had Marty gurr and peter tunks in it anyway out of the five sides to play in gf that day four were colts e,d,b and a grade to top that easts 23s won that year as well as 1st grade but anyway what I was saying was nowadays I live in matraville in the eastern suburbs and when I wear my roosters shirts around I cop a lot of shit from souths fans saying aren’t you in the wrong area I go last I checked that’s the water down there and isn’t that in the east then we start arguing about when was the last time you’s won the comp apart from 2014 but then the same old record starts playing who’s won 21 comps the
    Then I say we’ve been in the comp longer but they seem to forget they got kicked out for a while anyway i could go on longer but got to get back to work

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  13. Cronulla and Manly are also on the east coast why don’t you see if you can claim them as Roosters teritory, Roosters just want to claim back the area they neglected at the 5 me because there was hardly anyone living out that way then, let’s not forget that while Coogee, Malabar, Maroubra, and LA Perouse are on the east coast they are also undeniably SOUTH of SYDNEY,
    Aren’t you the Sydney Roosters ????

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    • None of what you said makes a modicum of sense, but good luck to you… It sounds like you’re doing great. I’ve never been “neglected at the 5 me” but i guess times have changed since the halcyon days when making no sense was simply the norm.

      Like

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