At the start of the 1932 season the effects of the Great Depression had its impact on rugby league. As unemployment was at an all-time high, many rugby league players sought release from their Sydney clubs to go to country centres where they could pick up playing/ coach roles with a decent pay and often free board and lodging.

A Retention Committee was established in conjunction with the State Selectors to ensure that a number of the top Sydney players remained in Sydney by making supplementary payments. For the majority this was not an option.

Wests, like many other Sydney clubs released a number of its players. These players included Frank Matterson, Bert Green, Cec Anderton, Laurie Roberts, Thomas “Pony” Redmond, Les Midson, Jack Horder, W. Willis and Jack G. Kelly. Offers were made to other key players, who decided to stay in Sydney. It appears that the only Wests player that benefited from the support of the Retention Committee was Bill Brogan.

While Wests had to release a number of its experienced players, the Club was now reaping the rewards of having a strong junior competition. More than a third graded in 1932 were new players from the junior ranks.

The positive side for Wests in 1932 was the return of Jim Craig as Coach. Jim took the team to the final series and almost repeated the 1930 result, but after easily beating Souths in the Final, Wests eventually went down to Souths in the Grand Final Challenge. It was once again a good result for the Club and set the platform for further success.

However, success brought its detractors, and a number of the lesser performing Clubs raised their grievances at the General Committee of the NSWRL at seasons end. The Sun newspaper on 14 September 1932 put this in perspective when it reported as follows; “Perhaps the burden that three clubs – South Sydney, Westen Suburbs, and Eastern Suburbs have borne this season are not fully appreciated. The three teams have been the only money-getters in the League this season, and as a result large sums of money have been taken from them to aid in the payment for grounds on which Grade and Junior matches are played. The Clubs are supposed to get a third of net gate proceeds.

 When deductions are made for the general grounds fund, and an extra 5 percent is taken for emergencies, the cut is whittled down to about 20 percent. Because of their poor football displays, the other five Clubs have contributed practically nothing to these funds so they should be the last to level charges against the powerful trio. The weaker Clubs should be grateful that there are three which by their high-class football are able to keep the League flag flying.”

 It is always worth remembering that despite the tough economic conditions of the Great Depression, and the loss of a number of players to the Country in 1932, Wests were one of three Clubs that kept rugby league viable in these difficult times.


Western Suburbs DRLFC First Grade Runners Up – 1932

Back: H Owen (Selector), H Moxham (Treasurer), A Brady, B Green, K Sherwood, J Murray (Selector), J White (District Secretary), R Vest (Selector)
Standing: W Kelly (Trainer), E McFayden (President), R Lindfield, C Cornwell, A Ridley, C Pearce (Vice Captain), W Finegan (Selector), C McFayden (Trainer)
Sitting: R Morris, F Sponberg, W Ryan, W Brogan (Captain), J McGlinn, H Rankine, F McMillan
Front: C Rhodes, C McKivatt (Ball Boy), L Mead

Western Suburbs DRLFC Reserve Grade Semi Finalists – 1932

Back: M Moxham (Treasurer), H Hudson (Vice President), R Gable (Vice President), J White (Secretary), R Liston (Vice President), J Murray (Selector), R Vest (Selector), W Knight (3rd Grade Secretary), H Owen (Selector)
Middle: M Lee (Trainer), F Comber, K Sherwood, C Wrench, F Spillane, W Howes, L Frappell, S Tancred, A Armstrong (Trainer)
Front: W Finegan (Selector), R Davis, J Conley, H Cameron (Vice Captain), N Matterson (Captain), H Rankine, R Shepherd, V Hey, C Elliott (Reserve Grade Secretary)
In Front: L Chambers (Vice President)
T Magnus, J Rosa, W Knowles, C Cant, W Carpenter

Western Suburbs DRLFC President’s Cup/Inter District Squads – 1932

Southern Districts:

Team, Champion, F Thorn, F Boyd, R Cooper, D Colliss, J Devitt, E Pickett, Schey, Gwynne, Ellison, P Johnson, LeMessurier, C Watt, Reserves: Smythe, Bull, Hancock, H Tisdale

Southern Districts (Inter District – A Grade):

Fullback:  McNamara (Fairfield), Three-quarters: Savage, Hackett, N Cooper, R Cooper, Halves:  Kemister, Hennessey, Forwards: E Moore (Merrylands), D Smith, K Locke, R Hancock, Schey, Moir, Reserves: V Gwynne, C Watt, Minter, Barrett.

Southern Districts (Inter District – B Grade):

Fullback: L Adams, Three-quarters: F Thorn, Bradshaw, Allen (Bonzo), Fuller, Halves: Nixon, Brady, Forwards: Douglas, White, Culpan (Merrylands), J McLoughlin, P Cullen (Liverpool), McLeod, Reserves: Waters, Brain

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