Western Suburbs DRLFC First Grade Grand Finalists 1963
Back: D Meaney, K O’Shea, J Gibson, P Dimond,
Middle: D Parish, N Kelly, K Smyth, D Malone, J Hayes,
Front: G McDougall, J Mowbray, A Summons, R McGuinness

This was most probably the most controversial Grand Final in Rugby League history. Played before a record crowd of 69,860, there is general consensus that referee Darcy Lawler decided the outcome of the match. He allowed a try to Johnny King after all the Wests’ players claimed he was clearly held and should not have been allowed to play on. He also disallowed a try by Peter Dimond. Played famously on a bog, Parish also missed a goal in front when he slipped. Jack Gibson was among others who claimed that Lawler had been paid off and Wests were never meant to win the match, a claim hotly disputed by the Lawler family.

It had been an excellent season up to that point. Wests had beaten St George three times during the year – Round 4 (8-5), Round 13 (12-5) and in the semi-final 10-8 and the team, captained by Arthur Summons and Noel Kelly leading a powerhouse pack, was, and is, arguably one of the best teams Wests ever fielded. Wests had picked up Jack Gibson from Eastern Suburbs and Ray Picklum from Souths and lost Bill Brown to Eastern Suburbs, so the team was very stable after 1962.

The 1963 Grand Final was played on a mudheap.

It was evident that Wests had a lot of junior talent, so it was appropriate to concentrate on the development of these young players. An article in the Rugby League News in May 1963 noted that the Club had marshalled its former and current players along with the coaching staff to conduct coaching clinics at Pratten Park, Lidcombe Oval and Timbrell Park, Haberfield each Saturday morning. The coaching clinics continued well into the 1960’s.

Noel Kelly at a clinic – Lidcombe Oval 1968            RLN 12 May 1963

Many players gained representative honours, most notably Arthur Summons appointed Captain/Coach of the Kangaroo Touring team, along with fellow Kangaroos, Peter Dimond, Noel Kelly and Kevin Smyth. The team won the Ashes in England for the first time. ‘Chow’ Hayes and Gil MacDougall played for NSW while a young John Mowbray was selected in a Metropolitan team.

Two notable administrator Life Members, Jim White and Bill Knight, passed away during the year. They had given a lifetime of service to the club.

In 1963 a post-season competition, the Ampol Cup, was introduced and Wests won it, defeating Paramatta in the final 17-13. It was an excellent effort with Wests without their Kangaroo stars and Denis Meaney being sent off and Wests playing the last 47 minutes with 12 men. Even ‘Chow’ Hayes kicked his one and only goal! The following year the competition was renamed the State Cup so Wests will forever remain the undefeated Ampol Cup Champions!


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