West Harbour Rugby Football Club
Date posted: June 22, 2017
The first rugby club to represent the district was Burwood, which competed in the Sydney Metropolitan Competition until the introduction of district rugby. The club was formed in 1900 but had to change its name to Western Suburbs District Rugby Union Football Club to satisfy municipal aldermen when it sought a lease on St Luke’s Oval, later Concord Oval. The club won the Premiership in 1902, at its third attempt. The club’s first captain and Wallaby representative was Stan Wickham, he was joined by Ward and Wheat Prentice.
A second premiership was won in 1929, spearheaded by another international, Sid King. This remains the club’s last premiership in top flight rugby. In 1951 the club was demoted from 1st Division and it was not until 1966 that they were reinstated. The club saw success in the 1970s, with a 17 match winning streak leading to a Club Championship and a grand final berth in which they were defeated by Randwick.
The club was relegated to 2nd Division once more in 1980 only to be reinstated the following year. In the 1980s the club’s home ground, Concord Oval, was redeveloped with assistance from the NSWRU and State Government. The newly named Waratah Stadium became the home base of the Waratahs as well as the venue for the classic semi-final in 1987 between Australia and France in the Inaugural Rugby World Cup, when 25,000 people attended.
The club changed its name to West Harbour Rugby Football Club in 1995 to more truly reflect the club’s location in the inner west. The club is one of 13 sides competing in the NSW Rugby Union Premier competition – The Tooheys New Cup.
The West Harbour women’s team was formed in 1999 and has dominated the Sydney competition, winning their 5th premiership in 2004. The club’s juniors now field twelve teams alongside the five senior and four colts teams.
Overall 22 players have been chosen directly from Wests to represent the Wallabies.
Their Licensed Club (The Pit) amalgamated with Burwood RSL in 2002. Their home ground, Waratah Rugby Stadium (Concord Oval), home of the first Rugby World Cup in 1987 is currently scheduled for redevelopment.