Another Flag for Wests

For Western Suburbs, premierships of late have been few and far between.

For this once strong and well managed club where players flocked when they came to Sydney, this year’s flag in the Division II Under 19 grade is the first premiership in the club since 1996, when former Sydney Swans General Manager, Ron Thomas, took them to their only first grade flag for 19 years.

A Western Suburbs club first competed in the Sydney competition between 1926-29 playing out of Marrickville Oval but they petered out when the St George club emerged to take their place.  Or rather the idea that Wests amalgamated with the new St George club was promoted.

Then, along with Balmain and Sydney University, Wests became the third new club to be admitted to the Sydney competition in 1948 when the game was riding on a high following WWII.

The club was always well managed and accordingly attracted some talented and very capable players.  Concord Oval was their home ground for many years until in the late 1950s they settled on their current ground, Picken Oval, then owned by trotting magnate, Billy Picken.

Picken helped the club in many ways but it was through careful and a well organised administration that saw them granted a liquor licence in 1961.  This was in a period when social groups of all persuasion gained licences which gave them access to the almost unregulated poker machine scene of the time.

Bulging with money and people, they were able to appoint some highly talented coaches as well as players.  At the same time the club also sponsored the league in their endeavours to purchase their own premises in Chippendale, Sydney.

The 1960s and 70s was a golden period for Wests where they won flags in 1963,65,66,69,72,74,75 and 77.  In fact, it was no secret that their reserve grade could have easily defeated the lower end first grade teams of the period.  And then the drought set in, but that is a different story.

Quite often then they figured in the match of the day at Trumper Park of a Sunday where some very large crowds congregated to watch their clashes against Easts, Newtown and St George.

Of late though the club has had a lean run, despite good administration where they have almost achieved premierships in various grades, this flag by their gallant Under 19 side on Saturday will be savoured by those club members who followed the Sydney Magpies through thick and thin.

Wests premierships:

 

1st Grade

Reserves

Under 19

1951

1952

1966

1963

1964

1971

1965

1967

2014

1966

1971

1969

1972

1972

1973

1974

1974

1975

1977

1996

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