80 Years Proud - 1st Premiership

2015 marks the club's 80th year and throughout the season bulldogs.com.au will bring you the moments throughout the club's history that make us 80 years proud.

1938 Grand Final v Eastern Suburbs, 3/9/1938, Sydney Cricket Ground.

After a hard-fought game, which was exciting practically throughout, Canterbury-Bankstown won the Rugby League premiership final at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday, defeating Eastern Suburbs, last year's premiers, by 19 points to six.

A good crowd of 20,287 was given an excellent exhibition and was obviously delighted that the Canterbury club – the baby one of Rugby League – has rounded off a very successful season by taking out the premiership title without having to play a grand final.

Canterbury-Bankstown's excellent teamwork was the greatest factor in its success. The scores were close until about 20 minutes before the end, and then Canterbury-Bankstown made a final and determined rally. Eastern Suburbs' goal line was attacked continuously. Joe Gartner, the hero of the match, was enabled to cross for two tries in succession, both of which were converted.

...players were grassed in no uncertain fashion; a few punches were given and taken, but referee McMahon kept the game well under control.

Canterbury-Bankstown was able to take the lead before half-time. Tommy Kirk, its fullback, kicked two penalty goals, making the score four points to three in Canterbury's favour. The first half had been a dour struggle for supremacy. Canterbury-Bankstown was the sounder team, and deserved to lead, although it had not crossed Eastern Suburbs' line.

Eastern Suburbs scored another try soon after the beginning of the second half...An overlap was gained and R. Dunn, breaking through a tackle, dived over the line. This try was also not converted. The excitement became intense as Canterbury-Bankstown came back at Eastern Suburbs with great determination. Attack after attack was made, but the Eastern Suburbs defence held. Several times Canterbury nearly scored. It remained for the Canterbury reserve grader Jim Duncombe, who was in the team because of the illness of Aub Mitchell, to be the first man to cross the Eastern Suburbs line.

A scrum had gone down near the Eastern Suburbs line, and when Canterbury had won the ball, Roy McCarter worked the blind side. Duncombe was with him, and dived through an opening to score. Kirk kicked the goal, and Canterbury-Bankstown led by nine points to six.

The crowd had been worked into a state of enthusiasm by the closeness of the scores. Canterbury was urged to greater efforts by a great crowd of supporters in the stands. It rose to greater heights, continuing to attack. Eastern Suburbs was not a beaten team until near the end, when Canterbury pressure could no longer be denied. Joe Gartner, the Canterbury-Bankstown winger, went over for two excellent tries, beating the defence with side-stepping runs. Gartner had played excellent football, going for the line with great determination and dash. Both his tries were converted, the first by Kirk and the second by McCarter. Kirk's kick was a fine effort from the sideline. Gartner's two tries put the issue beyond doubt, giving Canterbury a lead of 19 points to 6, with the game nearly ended.

...there were scenes of enthusiasm at the end of the game. The spectators cheered the victorious Canterbury-Bankstown team. It was a popular premiership win. Alan Brady, Canterbury's captain, was chaired by his team-mates, and applauded as he was carried into the dressing room. The Eastern Suburbs men took their defeat in a sporting spirit. They were as eager as anyone to congratulate the victors.

Canterbury-Bankstown's forwards laid the foundation for the win. Roy Kirkaldy, the State hooker, secured a better share of the ball than N. Hollingdale, the Eastern Suburbs hooker...Canterbury's forwards were set a hard task. They were opposed to what is nearly an international pack, and they had to keep a close watch on such dangerous trygetters as Norval, Pearce, and Pierce. No Canterbury forward stood head and shoulders above his comrades. They played well as a team. Henry Porter and Eddie Burns were tireless workers. The football of Sponberg, McCallum and McCormack were praiseworthy.

Canterbury's backs gave their forwards every support. Roy McCallum, the plucky halfback, was always dangerous. He kept his three-quarters moving all through the game. He took a drubbing from the Eastern Suburbs forwards, and came through with colours flying.

Joe Gartner, the winger, had a day out, playing his best game of the year. His two tries were great efforts. Edgar Newham, on the other wing, did not have the same opportunities but played solidly.

The teams were:

CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN: Tommy Kirk, Edgar Newham, Alan Brady (c), Jim Champion, Joe Gartner, Jim Duncombe, Roy McCarter, Frank Sponberg, Roy McCallum, Jim McCormack, Henry Porter, Roy Kirkaldy, Eddie Burns, Aub Mitchell had been selected but withdrew and was replaced by Jim Duncombe.

EASTERN SUBURBS: J. Norton, P. Dermond, R. Dunn, S. Callaghan, A. Cairns, L. Pickup, F. Robinson, A. Norval, S. Pearce, H. Pierce, R. Stehr (c), N. Hollingdale, J. Arnold.