The Great War for Australia was somewhat in a hiatus at the start of the 1916. Troops had been withdrawn from the Gallipoli Peninsula and were in the Middle East preparing for war on the continent. As the season commenced, Australian forces were mobilised for the onslaught on the Western Front.

Further players were recruited from the game as reinforcements for the losses experienced in 1915. The League competition had 40 teams in all three Grades in 1915, but this number was reduced to 31 in 1916 due to the call on young men for the war effort. Junior rugby league teams were even more adversely affected as men as young as eighteen were recruited for military service. Rugby league supported the war effort with 10% of all gate receipts provided for patriotic and charitable purposes. Individual clubs were also supportive of families that lost someone in the war effort by organising fund raising events.

Wests had a relatively quiet time in the recruitment of new players in 1916 and once again took out the wooden spoon. But the Club was building its playing strength with previous recruitments now developing, and it wouldn’t be long until that paid a dividend. As an indication of this building strength, Wests were runners up in the League Cup for Second Grade teams in 1916. This was the first time in the Club’s short history that it was seriously in contention for a title.

Western Suburbs DRLFC – 1916
Insets: H Leddy (Captain), A McPherson,  H Naylor, R Vest

Back: C Prentice, A Smith, F Holt, W Joass, C Tye, C McFadyen, T McCauley
Front: E Mead (Delegate), A Prentice, E Dennis, G Paterson (President), E Courtney, W Connelly, A Bossi, A White, E McFadyen (Secretary)

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