Wests faced another watershed year in 1935 with the admission of Canterbury-Bankstown into the Sydney rugby league competition. Adversity was something that Wests were familiar with and to some degree it made the Club resilient. Its history of being on the outskirts of Sydney and struggling to attract established players was soon overtaken by the growth of Sydney and an expanding population to the south and west.

The Club had built up to be a force in the competition by 1920, only to have St George gain entry in 1921, causing Wests to lose a number of its prominent players that resided within the new St George boundaries. While Wests also lost junior players from the St George district, it was able to draw on a rapidly growing junior league from the Canterbury-Bankstown and Parramatta areas. Many of the young players that came through the ranks during the 1920s, set Wests up once again to be competition front runners with premierships in 1930 and 1934.

The move to establish the St George Club had its origins as early as 1911 and likewise, those promoting the Canterbury Bankstown proposal to join the Sydney competition were active in their cause by the mid 1920’s. While in retrospect there was plenty of warning, the impact was a significant blow, necessitating Wests having to build up its playing base once again.

While Canterbury-Bankstown struggled in its first year, it soon became very competitive, making the semi-finals in 1936 and winning the premiership in 1938, doing so with many former Wests players. The former Wests players that played First Grade with Canterbury Bankstown in its first two years included; Jack McConnell, Jack Hartwell, Alan Brady, George Mason, Bill Knowles, Bill Howes, Vince Dwyer, Sid Elliott, Bob Lindfield, Frank Sponberg, Clyde Cant and Bill Porter. Bill Sponberg, Cec Fifield and Bob Allison also played First Grade with Canterbury in the following years. The Coach of the Canterbury Bankstown team in 1935, was the Western Suburbs great, Tedda Courtney with A Smith from Wests the Reserve Grade Coach.

Canterbury Bankstown First Grade 25 April 1935

Jack McConnell (3rd from left), Jack Hartwell (4th from left), Bob Lindfield (5th from left), Sid Elliott (7th from left), Frank Sponberg (8th from left), Victor Dwyer (12th from left)

Not only did Wests contribute a significant number of its top players to Canterbury Bankstown, but four of its officials in 1935 were former Wests players. The photo below includes Bob Lindfield, Jack Hartwell, Harold Holmes and Ranji Joass.

Canterbury Bankstown Officials April 1935

Back: P Coleman, R Dalton, T Rosewell, H Brooks, J Flitcroft, Bob Lindfield, S Balance
Standing: J Furlong, T Dalton, Jack Hartwell, Harold Holmes, B Wickens, W “Ranji” Joass, B Russell, H Culbert
Sitting: R Oxford, G Russell, Ald S Parry, T Johns, F Rose, F Miller, W Cameron
Front: T Kerry, H Knowles, A Smith, G Cairns, C Mills

While Wests were coming to terms with the latest changes to its boundaries, the wagons were once again circling, with a strong push in 1936 for the Parramatta district to have its own team in the Sydney competition.

Nevertheless, Wests pushed on building up its strength with a combination of experienced and junior players. Some of these new players transitioned successfully, but the most disruptive player movement occurred mid-season when Vic Hey departed to play in Queensland. After Hey’s departure, Wests lost four of its remaining seven competition games but still finished in a credible third place on the competition ladder. However, it would take Wests more than a decade to once again taste premiership success.

In 1935, Life Membership was awarded to E Courtney, C Elliott, H Hudson, W Joass, W Knight, C McFayden, F McMillan, E Mead, H Moxham, C Prentice and E McFayden. They had all made significant contributions to Wests over many years and were described as “all good and true Western Suburbs men.”

Western Suburbs DRLFC – First Grade Semi Finalists 1935
L to R Standing: G Pugh, A Blake, V Sheehan, A Smith, M Gray, A Brady,
Sitting: J Sharman, V Cleary, R Knight, C Pearce (Captain), F Comber, M McLeod, L Mead


Western Suburbs DRLFC First Grade 24 May 1935

L to R: A Ridley, J Sharman, R Eaton, V Sheehan, A Brady, J Kingston, S Tancred, G Pugh, M Gray, V Cleary, A Smith, V Hey, L Mead

Western Suburbs DRLFC President’s Cup/Inter District Squads – 1935

 Western Suburbs

Fullback: D Connolly, Three-quarters: L Twaddell, J Knox, S Mitchell, A Hales, Halves: P Cooper, V McKevitt, Forwards: G Lucas, E Maskell, W Dodson, E. Kinnaird, W Cooper, J Rubinson, Reserves: L Fisher, J Costello

Southern Districts

Fullback: S Mildwater, Three-quarters: V Tovey, J Tisdale, L Smith, J Johnson, Halves: H White, H McNamara, Forwards: W Patrick, J Moore, W J Ogelsby, A Patrick, L Hoare, K McLean, Reserves: J Boyling, K Tighe, S Ball

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