Written by Bill Tout, Liaison Officer 1983 - reprinted from NSWPRL Yearbook 1983.
I was at Redfern Oval early to witness the bantering between the Wombats and Darlo/TRG officials - the coaches, Dick Baker of the Wombats and Bob Brewster and Dave Ferguson of Darlo/TRG were sure of their respective teams' ability to win and were very cool and assured.
On looking at these 2 fine teams doing their loosening up exercises I felt somewhat sorry for the teams that hadn't made it but who had been responsible for and had assisted these two teams to be here on the day. I thought of the wonderful improvement made by Wollongong to have made the finals this year but after playing a 10 all draw at full time at an earlier Final, were beaten 16-10 by Liverpool in extra time. However, I also thought of Jim Armstrong quoting the Olympic credo that to 'Compete is the greatest joy' but as Charlie Brown says; 'Winning is not everything and losing is nothing!' There are even times when losing can lead to victory as it did when Jesus lost everything on the Cross but gained the greatest victory of all in gaining for us everlasting life.
The time was 3.20pm. Colin West called both teams to the centre. Steve Coleman lead TRG/Darlo, Maroubra/Waverley were led on by Steve Lawrence of Bondi.
'Spike' Coleman won the toss and there were a lot who thought that was all Darlo would win on the day in view of the performance of both teams throughout the Finals. Col West got the game under way at 3.25pm on a field that was chopped up from try line to try line and one wing to the other.
After about two minutes into the game Steve Coleman kicked in general play towards the left wing; the kick was high with the ball landing on its end and bouncing strongly. Ian Donaldson leapt high in the air, took the mark and sprinted some 20 metres, drawing the fullback and then passing to P. Leddy who scored but failed to convert.
Some hard bruising forward play took place with play see-sawing throughout the first half. Both sides were evenly matched and with 45 seconds left Darlo/TRG was awarded a penalty outside Waverley/Maroubra's 22. From the tap a move involving W. Harrigan, J. Ferguson, S. McDowell and G. McDonald split the defence and drew the fullback for 5/8 Neil Saville to score under the posts. Try converted and Darlo/TRG lead at the break 10.0.
At 4.06pm play again commenced with S. Lawrence kicking a penalty goal. Score 10-2, which was to remain the final result. Darlo/TRG defence was magnificent with Waverley/Maroubra storming the try line twice only to be held out by the Darlo/TRG defence.
This ended a wonderful afternoon of Rugby League with all teams excelling themselves in very poor conditions. All Referees handled their respective games in an admirable manner and are to be complimented in their handling of fiercely fought games. It was very pleasing to see our Commissioner, Mr Abbbot at the game and his congratulations to the teams was very well and appreciatively received. Well that was Grand Final Day 1983.
When I looked to the stand and around and saw the large number of public spectators I could not help but feel that the Police Rugby league Competition is the greatest public relations exercise in the Force. Who will fight out the big one in 1984? Could it be Wollongong and Penrith? Who knows. However, I wish all teams the best of luck during the competition lead-up to the finals and trust that all will abide by Item 2 of the Constitution (Rules).