1913 brought some new challenges to the population of Sydney and disruption to all sporting activities. A smallpox outbreak hit Sydney and by July the City was placed in quarantine which lasted for 145 days. The quarantine zone extended 15 miles from the City centre and travel restrictions were imposed unless an individual had been vaccinated and had authorisation to travel outside the quarantine zone.

Many football teams were vaccinated but there was down time during the vaccination process which prevented players taking the field. For instance, the St George Rugby Union team which had already lost a number of its better players to Western Suburbs Rugby League club, could only field half a team in a competition match against Western Suburbs Rugby Union. The Wests RU club had to lend the St George club players from their Second-Grade team so the match could go ahead.

Wests RL survived this period reasonably well and were able to support its existing playing strength with a combination of experienced players from other districts as well as providing an opportunity for a number of talented junior players to play First Grade. A report in the Evening News in May 1913 noted that six of the Premiership winning Enfield Federals team from 1912 were now playing in the Wests Seconds while George Gagan, the scrum half was in the First-Grade team.

Western Suburbs Rugby League First Grade 1913
Back L to R: W Elliott (Trainer), V Molesworth (Secretary), W Easterbrook, C Rothwell, H Clark, W Gander, W Foord, A Burdus, E McFayden (Treasurer), J Abercrombie
Middle: H V Bissett, H G Naylor (VC), E Courtney (C), W Joass, S Carr
Front: F Holt, R Steward, G Gagan, H McIllmurray, C McFayden

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