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Newcastle Rebels

Newcastle Rebels
Newcastle 1908.png
Club information
Full nameNewcastle Rebels
Founded10 April 1908
Former details
19093rd of 8
Home jersey
Team colours
Minor premiership0
Wooden spoons0

Newcastle were a rugby league team who played in the New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership from 1908–1909, one of the nine foundation clubs. After the formation of several clubs in January 1908, members of the NSWRFL came to Newcastle to hold talks with the local footballing community at a meeting on 8 February 1908. However, at this meeting the motion to have a public meeting was lost. The local rugby union fraternity threatened sanctions and further recruitment occurred in secret. Finally a band of Rebel Pioneers assembled and signed up on 10 April, just days before the start of the competition.

Sometimes called the Rebels, Newcastle played in a strip of red and white hoops. They boasted the likes of dual-code international Pat Walsh in their side. Their moment of glory came in the latter weeks of 1909 when they beat league leaders South Sydney 7-6 on 7 August in front of 3,000 spectators at the Newcastle Showground. It was Souths' only loss for the season. This had come three days after beating a New Zealand Maori team.

Newcastle finished fourth and made the semis but were beaten by Souths 20-0.

The following year, the team left the NSWRL as a local Newcastle Rugby League competition was established and many players joined the four Newcastle foundation clubs. They were replaced by Annandale in the NSWRL.

Since 1988, a new team, the Newcastle Knights has again represented the Newcastle district in the NSWRL and its successors.

In 2008 the Newcastle Knights wore a special replica red and white hooped jersey to celebrate the region's rugby league heritage for the NRL's heritage round.


Stan Carpenter was the original captain of the club [Ted McGuinness, Vice Captain] who played their first match against Glebe, losing 8–5. This was then followed by a bye in the second round of the premiership and then securing their first victory in the next round by beating Cumberland 37–0. A win against Western Suburbs was followed by a loss against North Sydney in round five.

Arguably the most significant event of the season for the club was in round six when they were scheduled to play against Newtown in the only match of the weekend. This fact meant that a crowd of 14,000, the second largest in the season, showed up to watch the two teams play at the Royal Agricultural Society Grounds. In this match Newcastle were able to win 17–8.

The club had a tough draw at the end of the season and won just one of their remaining four games. All three of the losses were against the eventual finalists - two against the eventual premiers South Sydney and the other against the runners-up, Eastern Suburbs.

Round Home Score Away Date Venue Crowd
1 Glebe 8–5 Newcastle 20 April 1908 Wentworth Park 3,000
2 Bye
3 Cumberland 0–37 Newcastle 16 May 1908 Wentworth Park 3,000
4 Western Suburbs 2–24 Newcastle 23 May 1908 Agricultural Ground 1,500
5 North Sydney 21–9 Newcastle 30 May 1908 Birchgrove Oval
6 Newtown 8–17 Newcastle 13 June 1908 Agricultural Ground 14,000
7 South Sydney 30–11 Newcastle 27 June 1908 Agricultural Ground 4,000
8 Balmain 5–28 Newcastle 4 July 1908 Birchgrove Oval 3,000
9 Eastern Suburbs 34–17 Newcastle 25 July 1908 Agricultural Ground 400
10 South Sydney 8–3 Newcastle 8 August 1908 Wentworth Park


Round Home Score Away Date Venue Crowd
1 North Sydney 7–14 Newcastle 24 April 1909 Agricultural Ground
2 South Sydney 28–9 Newcastle 1 May 1909 Agricultural Ground 400
3 Balmain 9–5 Newcastle 15 May 1909 Birchgrove Oval
4 Newtown 13–5 Newcastle 22 May 1909 Agricultural Ground 1,500
5 Newcastle 16–18 Eastern Suburbs 29 May 1909 Newcastle Showground
6 Glebe 8–26 Newcastle 19 June 1909 Agricultural Ground
7 Newcastle 34–0 Western Suburbs 26 June 1909 Newcastle Showground
8 Balmain 5–2 Newcastle 10 July 1909 Birchgrove Oval 2,500
9 Western Suburbs 5–28 Newcastle 17 July 1909 Agricultural Ground
10 Newcastle 5–0 South Sydney 7 August 1909 Newcastle Showground 3,000
SF South Sydney 20–0 Newcastle 14 August 1909 Agricultural Ground 1,200

Representatives players


New South Wales


  • Power, Bob (1992). The Rebels of Rugby: The Story of Newcastle Rugby League Pioneers "The Bolsheviks vs. The Lilywhites" 1907-1920. Newcastle, New South Wales: self.

External links