Western Suburbs First Grade 1983
Back Row: Ray Bernasconi (Secretary), John Donnelly, Bruce Clark, Ian Freeman, Len Stacker (Coach), Wayne Smith, Stephen Broughton, Mark Beaven, David Harris, John Brooks (President)
Seated: Scott Gale, David Greene, Brett Davidson, Brian Battese, Warren Boland (Captain), Terry Lamb, Arthur Mountier, Michael Duke, Greg Cox

Tale of Survival

1983 can only be categorised as a traumatic year, where the very survival of Western Suburbs as a football club was at stake. The financial problems of the previous year continued, and it had led to an exodus of playing personnel. Steven Anderson, Paul Merlo and George Moroko went to Cronulla, Tom Arber and Alan Neil to Eastern Suburbs, Ross Conlon, Terry Leabeater, Jim Leis and Geoff Spotswood to Canterbury – virtually the loss of a First-Grade team. Brian Battese and Paul Gearin came from Canterbury, David Hall from Parramatta and Bill Hilliard from Balmain. It was not surprising that Wests finished with the Wooden Spoon. The loss of Victa as a major sponsor was also devastating and Wests played the season without a major sponsor. It led to a 50% reduction in player payments.

On the 26th of September the NSWRL expelled Wests and Newtown from the 1984 season. After a long legal battle, Mr Justice Helsham (Chief Justice in Equity), ruled the NSWRL did not have the constitutional power to delete Wests from the 1984 competition. They survived to fight on!

The financial crisis still existed, however, and led by Committeeman Rick Wayde, it was decided to hold the Eureka Rock Concert. Held on the 23rd of October and attended by 16,000 spectators, it was, at the time, the single biggest fundraiser ever in Rugby League. It raised $89,000 much needed dollars. The ‘Maintain the Magpies ‘ Fund was also a good fundraiser. Headlined by The Radiators, Dragon, Rose Tattoo and The Church, it was a significant event in Magpie history.

Angry Anderson, lead singer of Rose Tattoo, with the Magpie Mascot

One highlight of the year was Terry Lamb voted the ‘Dally M’ Player of the Year, tempered by the news he was leaving for Canterbury-Bankstown in 1984.

‘Dally M’ winner, Terry Lamb, would be sorely missed in 1984


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