Humble Beginnings - CBDJRL History


IT is certain that pick-up matches, and unofficial games, were played in the Canterbury areas not long after the game started in Sydney in 1908.

The first evidence of formulated Rugby League is provided by a photo of a 1909 team, believed to be the first Canterbury junior league side. The team was 'Campsie District Football Club - Juniors'. The inscription under the photo reads, “Winners of St George District B grade competition, Season 1909.”

Yet it took until 1921 before any positive steps were made to form Canterbury's own junior league competitions. A small band of men, headed by Frank Miller – later to become a major force in the district club's attempts to reach Sydney grade status – and Tom Johns, met to decide Rugby League's future in the area. It was a significant year for others as well. St George had been accepted into the grade competition; North Sydney won its inaugural first grade premiership and it was just one year after Australia's 13-strong Olympic team to Antwerp were unable to bring back a gold medal. But the 1914-1918 was was three years behind, and as Sydney's outer suburbs grew, so did the need to improve and help the sporting needs of the growing population.

Those in the Canterbury area who wished to play Rugby League had to join junior clubs in either the Newtown, St George or Western Suburbs Junior Leagues. For instance, Canterbury Fernleigh, another pick-up team of local lads, played in the Western Suburbs Junior League. But for a youngster living in the Canterbury area before 1922, making progress to a district club was virtually impossible.



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