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Eastern Suburbs Roosters


Eastern Suburbs Roosters

Template:Use Australian English

Sydney Roosters
Club information
Full name Eastern Suburbs District
Rugby League Football Club
Nickname(s) Chooks, Easts, Tricolours, Eastern Suburbs, Bondi Boys
Short name Sydney Roosters
Colours Template:Leagueicon Red, White, Blue
Founded 24 January 1908 as Eastern Suburbs
Current details
Ground(s) Allianz Stadium
Moore Park, New South Wales (45,500[1])
CEO(s) Brian Canavan
Coach(s) Trent Robinson
Captain(s) Anthony Minichiello
Competition National Rugby League
2013 Season 1st
Home jersey
Home colours
Current season
Premierships 13 (1911, 1912, 1913, 1923, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1940, 1945, 1974, 1975, 2002, 2013)
Runners-up 15 (1908, 1919, 1921, 1928, 1931, 1934, 1938, 1941, 1960, 1972, 1980, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2010)
Minor premiership 17 (1912, 1913, 1923, 1931, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1940, 1941, 1945, 1974, 1975, 1980, 1981, 2004, 2013)
World Club Challenge 2 (1976, 2003)
Wooden spoons 5 (1949, 1963, 1965, 1966, 2009)
Most capped 301 - Luke Ricketson
Most points 1,376 - Craig Fitzgibbon

The Sydney Roosters are an Australian professional rugby league football club based in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. The club competes in the National Rugby League (NRL) and is one of the oldest and most successful clubs in Australian rugby league history, having won thirteen New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) and National Rugby League titles, and several other competitions. Only the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the St. George Dragons have won more premierships. The club holds the record for having the most wins and the second greatest margin of victory in Australian rugby league history. The Roosters are the only team to have played in each and every season at the elite level, and in recent years have also been dubbed as the "glamour club" of the NRL.[2] Coached by Trent Robinson and captained by Anthony Minichiello, the Roosters play their home games at the Sydney Football Stadium.

The club was founded in 1908 in Paddington, Sydney, under the name Eastern Suburbs; in 1995 the name was changed to the Sydney City Roosters and, in 2000, to simply the Sydney Roosters. The Bondi Junction and Moore Park-based Roosters have a long-standing and fierce rivalry with other Sydney-based clubs, especially the Rabbitohs, a fellow foundation club based in neighbouring Redfern.[3]


The Eastern Suburbs District Rugby League Football Club was formed on 24 January 1908[4][5] after it was decided that the district should enter a team in the newly formed New South Wales Rugby Football League.[6] Unofficially nicknamed the "Tricolours" due to the their red, white and blue playing strip,[7] Eastern Suburbs won its first match, defeating Newtown 32–16 at Wentworth Oval on 20 April 1908.[5] In 1913, they became the first club to win three consecutive premierships;[4][8][9] the line-ups during this period included the likes of Dally Messenger, Harry "Jersey" Flegg and Sandy Pearce, all regarded as all-time rugby league greats.[4][10] However, the club rapidly declined and failed to win the premiership for the next nine seasons.[9]

Eastern Suburbs missed the finals once from 1926 to 1942, and in that time won four titles and the minor premiership on seven occasions.[7][11] During this period, Dave Brown set several point-scoring records that still stand.[12] In 1935, the team lost just one game,[13] and recorded the highest winning margin in their history, an 87–7 (106–8 in modern scoring) victory over Canterbury.[14] In 1936, Eastern Suburbs became one of five teams in premiership history to remain undefeated for an entire season,[15] a feat they repeated the following year.[13] They are the only club to remain unbeaten for two consecutive seasons.[16]

Despite claiming the premiership in 1945, Eastern Suburbs failed to make the finals for the following seven seasons.[17] A runners-up finish in 1960 was the closest the club came to claiming the premiership during this era.[7] Eastern Suburbs were soundly defeated 31–6 in the grand final that year, by the famous record-beating St George outfit.[18] In 1966, the club fell to new depths and was winless for the first time in its history.[19][20] It was also the last occasion in which the Roosters won the wooden spoon until claiming it again in the 2009 season.[16] It ended a poor run for Eastern Suburbs; from 1963 to 1966, they won 8 of 72 matches, finishing second to last in 1964 and last in the other three years.[21] The club underwent a renaissance in 1967 after appointing Jack Gibson as coach (1967–68), and introducing a new emblem on the playing jerseys, the rooster.[21]

From 1972 to 1982, the Roosters won four minor premierships and played in four grand finals,[7] winning two consecutively.[7] Gibson, now dubbed as "Super Coach",[5] returned to lead the team from 1974 to 1976.[22][23] In 1974 and 1975, the team won 39 of 44 matches,[23] both minor premierships, and both grand finals and set a premiership record of 19 consecutive wins.[7][23] The 38–0 grand final victory in 1975 against St George was the largest margin in a first grade grand final,[24] and the record stood for 33 years until superseded by Manly's 40–nil win over the Melbourne Storm in 2008.[25] With line-ups including Mark Harris, Elwyn Walters, John Brass, Bill Mullins, Russell Fairfax, Johnny Mayes, John Peard, Ron Coote, Ian Schubert and captain Arthur Beetson,[4][26] the Centenary of Rugby League panel considered the Roosters of 1974 and 1975 to be among the greatest club teams of all time.[27]

Between 1984 and 1995, the Roosters reached the semi-finals once,[16] and became known to critics as the "transit lounge", due to the high frequency of player purchases and releases.[8][28] The club came close to reaching the premiership in 1987 under coach and favourite son Beetson, being defeated by eventual premiers Manly in a "bruising" major semi-final, 10–6.[29]

As the Super League war built up in the mid-1990s, the Roosters recruited high profile coach Phil Gould and star five-eighth Brad Fittler, both from the Penrith Panthers.[4][28] This helped to quickly send the Roosters back to the upper end of the ladder. Fittler's presence proved invaluable;[28] during his reign, the Roosters competed in four grand finals in five years.[7] In 2002, the club captured their 12th premiership—their first in 27 years—defeating minor premiers the New Zealand Warriors 30–8 in the 2002 NRL grand final.[30]

In the 2003 NRL grand final against the Penrith Panthers, the Roosters lost 18–6 in what was their heaviest defeat for the year. A decisive moment occurred midway through the second half: with the score tied at 6-all Roosters winger Todd Byrne made a clear break down the sideline and looked set to score a try before being chased down and tackled into touch by Penrith lock forward, Scott Sattler. From then on, the momentum of the game was with Penrith.[30][31] The Roosters' made the Grand Final in 2004, when they ceded a 13–6 half-time lead to be defeated by the Bulldogs 16–13. The match was captain Fittler's last for the team.[32]

In 2007, the Roosters became the first club to play 100 seasons of first grade rugby league; they were the only outfit to play in each season since the competition's inception in 1908. They appointed Chris Anderson as coach for 2007 and 2008 following two relatively unsuccessful years under Ricky Stuart.[33] On 9 July 2007, Anderson resigned after a 56–0 loss to the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.[34] Assistant Coach Fittler acted as the caretaker for the remainder of the 2007 season, before being appointed in August to the top job for two years.[35] With eight rounds remaining in a disappointing 2009 season in which the Roosters finished with the wooden spoon for the first time in 43 years, Fittler was informed he would not be the coach in 2010, his position to be taken by veteran coach Brian Smith. The Roosters wound up winning only five games for the entire season; twice against Cronulla and once against each of Canberra in Canberra, eventual grand finalists Parramatta and Newcastle in Newcastle.

A year after finishing last, under the coaching of Brian Smith they reached the 2010 NRL Grand Final where the St. George Illawarra Dragons defeated them 32–8. The Roosters led 8–6 at half time but were overrun in the second half.

What followed was another relatively disappointing season at Bondi Junction, with the Roosters finishing 11th in a 2011 season plagued by off-field issues involving 2010 Dally M Medallist Todd Carney (who was later sacked by the Roosters at season's end). However, a four-game winning streak to end the season should bring hope for the 2012 season. Other high-profile players including Nate Myles, Mark Riddell, Jason Ryles, Kane Linnett and Phil Graham all left the club at season's end.

The Roosters endured a disappointing 2012 season, finishing 13th. Brian Smith resigned from the coaching role shortly after the Roosters' season concluded with a loss to the minor premiers Canterbury, and also at season's end captain Braith Anasta left to join the Wests Tigers for 2013.

The 2013 season saw new staff, a new coach, Trent Robinson, and several new players, including big signings Michael Jennings, James Maloney, Luke O'Donnell and Sonny Bill Williams, arrive at the club. This culminated in the Roosters finising the 2013 season with a 24 – 12 win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs, securing the minor premiership for the 2013 season. The Roosters defeated the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 4 – 0, in week one of the finals,earning a weeks rest. The Roosters defeated the Newcastle Knights 40 – 14 in week three of the NRL finals, progressing to the 2013 NRL grand final, facing the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles winning 26 – 18. It was a great comeback by the Roosters, down by 10 points in the second half to score 3 straight tries to come out on top.


Eastern Suburbs did not traditionally sport a crest on their jerseys in the first half of the 20th century.[5] Other clubs occasionally sported simple designs on their strip; however, this was not seen consistently on all jerseys until the 1950s and 1960s.[19] In 1967, the club introduced the first logo, displaying the motto "Easts to Win", following a winless season.[19] The crest also incorporated a rooster or cockerel in the design; one source suggested that this choice of mascot followed after the Roosters' jersey design was inspired by the French national team's jersey.[21][36] Given that the French team's mascot was affectionately known to supporters as le coq, "the rooster", connections have been made as to the choosing of a rooster for Eastern Suburbs' mascot.[21]

In 1978, the motto was replaced with the team's name, "Eastern Suburbs".[28] This name was kept until 1994,[28] when the club changed its playing name to the "Sydney City Roosters" for the start of the 1995 season to expand the club's widening fan base.[28] In 2000, the club changed its name to the "Sydney Roosters".[28]

Although marketing names have changed, the Roosters are still registered with the National Rugby League competition as the Eastern Suburbs District Rugby League Football Club.[37]


Red, white and blue have been the colours of every jersey design in the club's history;[38] however, the jersey design has undergone several alterations. The jersey worn in the first premiership season consisted of several hoops; red stripes dominated over consecutive smaller white and blue stripes. Although the width and the order of these stripes have changed, the basic design has always been maintained.

During World War II, the design of the jersey was modified because the dye used to colour jerseys was needed for the war effort.[39] This saw Eastern Suburbs playing in different colours and an altered design. Instead of using the traditional hoops, the side used a sky-blue based jersey and a red and white V-strip around the collar. This is the only noted time in the club's history where the traditional deep blue, red and white combination was absent from the jersey. After the war, the V-strip design reverted to the original blue that had been present in the original jerseys, and the single red and white stripes around the shirt's chest were incorporated with a single white stripe surrounded by a red stripe on either side. This jersey appeared in the 1950s and remains the team's base design.[19]

Facing design clashes with other teams in the 1990s, the club adopted a jersey with a similar design to what became known as the "away jersey", replacing the blue backing with white, and the outer red stripe with blue. As the club entered the new century, the team began to wear a "foundation jersey". Although the design differs slightly from the jersey worn in the inaugural 1908 season, it did feature the traditional horizontal striped-design. This jersey is normally worn when the Sydney Roosters face traditional rivals, such as the South Sydney Rabbitohs, or on special occasions such as Anzac Day when the team meets the St George Illawarra Dragons, the product of a team partly formed by the St. George Dragons.


Most sources suggest that the Royal Agricultural Ground was often used as a home venue between 1908 and 1910, before the club hosted matches at the Sydney Sports Ground from 1911 onwards.[5][40][41] It was here that the team played all of their homes games up until 1986, when the ground was demolished with the Sydney Cricket Ground No. 2 to make way for Sydney's main rectangular field, the Sydney Football Stadium.[42] In 1987, games were moved away to the Newtown Jets' home ground, Henson Park, temporarily to await the completion of the Sydney Football Stadium. The team capitalised on this move, finishing second in the regular season. It was the only time between 1983 and 1995 that the side reached the finals.[11]

In 1988, the club moved to the newly built Sydney Football Stadium on the site of the old Sydney Sports Ground,[24] opening the season with a 24–14 defeat at the hands of the St George Dragons in front of 19,295 spectators on a wet night on 4 March 1988.[43] At the Sydney Football Stadium, the Roosters have a 59% win record from 256 games with a 58% and 55% win record at their old grounds the Sydney Sports Ground and the Sydney Cricket Ground respectively.[44]


The Sydney Roosters have a strong support base across Australia. Aside from its traditional fan base in Sydney, which is most concentrated in its homeland in the affluent eastern suburbs, the club is also popular in The Chookpen" is an unofficial site.

In 2004, the club tallied the second-highest home attendance of all National Rugby League clubs (behind the Brisbane Broncos) with an average of 18,514 spectators at the Sydney Football Stadium.[46] However, a drop in attendances by 25.2% from 2005 to 2006 (when the Roosters finished second last) prompted the Australian Associated Press to state that "crowd figures suggest many Sydney Roosters fans have been fair-weather friends".[47]

At the club's home ground, the Sydney Football Stadium, the supporters congregate in distinct sections. The "Chook Pen", a designated area in Bay 35, is the preferred location for the most animated fans.[48] Members of the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust are seated in the Members' Stand on the western side of the ground, and season ticket holders are located just beneath the Members' area, in Bays 12–14.[48]

In 2008, the Roosters had nearly 5,000 paying members,[49] in addition to the 35,257 members of the Roosters' Leagues Club, which is the major benefactor of the football club.[50]

In 2010 the Roosters enjoyed their most successful on field season since 2004 making the Grand Final against St. George Illawarra. On the back of this success the club's paying members balloned to over 10,000 in 2011, the most in the history of the club.

Notable supporters of the club include Alan McGilvray,[51] Guillaume Brahimi,[52] Harold Larwood,[53] Sir James Darcy Freeman,[54] Kerry and James Packer,[55][56] Mark Bouris,[57] Paul Kelly,[58] Paul Sheehan,[59] Peter O'Malley,[60] and Simon Burke.[61]

Statistics and records

Luke Ricketson holds the record for the most first grade games (301),[62] having surpassed Kevin Hastings's tally of 228 matches in late 2002.[28] Team captain Craig Fitzgibbon holds the club record for scoring the most points, tallying 1,376 over his 210 matches.[63][64] Fitzgibbon also broke the all-time point scoring record for a forward in the later rounds of 2006.[65] Dave Brown's tally of 45 points (five tries and 15 goals) in a single match against Canterbury in 1935 remains a competition record after more than seven decades.[7] Ivan Cleary scored 284 points in 1998,[7] which at the time was an all-time points scoring record in a season.[66]

Bill Mullins, father of 2002 premiership player Brett, scored 104 tries in his 11-year, 190-game career with Eastern Suburbs between 1968 and 1978,[7] meaning that on average, he scored at least one try every two games. Anthony Minichiello became the highest try scorer in the Roosters history when he scored his 105th try against the Newcastle at Ausgrid Stadium in June 2011. 'Mini' is still playing as of 19 August 2013, and currently boasts 122 tries. Rod O'Loan scored seven tries in a single match against Sydney University in 1935,[7] and Dave Brown's 38 tries in 15 games in the same year remains a competition record.[7]

In 1975, the Eastern Suburbs Roosters set an unparalleled 19-match winning streak on their way to their 11th premiership.[23] In a 1935 match against Canterbury, Dave Brown scored 45 points, the highest score and victory margin for the club (the 87–7 scoreline is equivalent to 106–8 under the contemporary scoring system).[7] The winning margin is the second largest overall, behind St. George's 91–6 win over Canterbury a week earlier.[67]

The club's record attendance for a regular season game at its home ground—the Sydney Football Stadium—stands at 40,752, achieved in a match on ANZAC Day against the St George Illawarra Dragons in 2013.[43] The 2000 grand final between the Sydney Roosters and the Brisbane Broncos attracted 94,277 spectators to the Olympic Stadium.[43]


Current Squad

No Nat Player Pos First Roosters Game Previous Club
994 Australia Anthony Minichiello (C) FB 25 February 2000
1067 Australia Mitchell Aubusson SR 19 March 2007
1069 New Zealand Shaun Kenny-Dowall CE 19 March 2007
1072 Australia Mitchell Pearce (VC) HB 24 March 2007
1074 New Zealand Frank-Paul Nu'uausala PR 25 April 2007
1083 Australia Jake Friend (VC) HK 27 June 2008
1101 Australia Aidan Guerra SR 14 March 2010
1105 New Zealand Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (VC) PR 17 April 2010 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
1113 Cook Islands Tinirau Arona LK 3 April 2011
1119 Australia Boyd Cordner (VC) SR 4 June 2011
1123 Australia Daniel Mortimer FE 5 March 2012 Parramatta Eels
1125 Australia Jack Bosden PR 14 April 2012 St. George Illawarra Dragons
1126 Australia Tautau Moga CE 12 May 2012
1128 Tonga Nafe Seluini HK 9 July 2012 Penrith Panthers
1129 New Zealand Roger Tuivasa-Sheck WG 27 July 2012
1130 Australia Daniel Tupou WG 18 August 2012
1131 Australia Michael Jennings CE 7 March 2013 Penrith Panthers
1132 Australia James Maloney FE 7 March 2013 New Zealand Warriors
1133 Tonga Sam Moa PR 7 March 2013 Hull F.C.
1134 New Zealand Sonny Bill Williams SR 7 March 2013 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
1135 Australia Luke O'Donnell SR 16 March 2013 Huddersfield Giants
1136 Tonga Michael Oldfield WG 7 April 2013 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
1137 New Zealand Isaac Liu PR 1 April 2013
1138 Australia Dylan Napa PR 21 June 2013
1139 Tonga Samisoni Langi FE 19 August 2013
- France Rémi Casty PR Yet to debut Catalans Dragons
- Australia Kane Evans PR Yet to debut
- Australia Jackson Hastings HB Yet to debut
- Australia Rhyse Martin SR Yet to debut
- England Curtis Naughton FB Yet to debut Bradford Bulls
- Australia Jonathon Reuben WG Yet to debut
- Australia Jack Siejka SR Yet to debut
- Australia Brandon Tago PR Yet to debut
- New Zealand Sio Siua Taukeiaho SR Yet to debut New Zealand Warriors
- New Zealand Henare Wells FB Yet to debut

Notable past players

In 2000, the Sydney Roosters named their "Team of the Century", which included players from 1908 to 2000. The official team is listed below along with their Sydney Roosters cap number.[68]

Team of the Century
First team squad Coaching staff

Head coach

  • (c) Captain
  • (vc) Vice captain

Updated: 22 October 2011
Source(s): Player List (archived)

In 2007, the Sydney Roosters announced "The Centurions", a team consisting of the those regarded as the greatest players to have played 100 or more games for the club between 1908 and 2007. The team was selected by Ray Chesterton, Ian Heads, David Middleton and Alan Clarkson and was unveiled at the centenary season launch at the Hordern Pavilion on 10 March 2007.[69][70]

The Centurions
First team squad Coaching staff

Head coach

  • (c) Captain
  • (vc) Vice captain

Updated: 22 October 2011
Source(s): Centurions

In 2013, the Roosters Team of the Decade, which included players from 2002–2012, was selected based on votes by Roosters supporters.

Team of the Decade (2002–2012)
First team squad Coaching staff

  • (c) Captain
  • (vc) Vice captain

Updated: 6 May 2012
Source(s): Player List (archived)



1911, 1912, 1913, 1923, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1940, 1945, 1974, 1975, 2002, 2013
1908, 1919, 1921, 1928, 1931, 1934, 1938, 1941, 1960, 1972, 1980, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2010
1976, 2003
  • New South Wales Rugby League, Australian Rugby League and National Rugby League minor premierships: 17
1912, 1913, 1923, 1931, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1940, 1941, 1945, 1974, 1975, 1980, 1981, 2004, 2013
  • New South Wales Rugby League Club Championships: 13
1930, 1931, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1945, 1970, 1974, 1975, 2004, 2006, 2013
1914, 1915, 1916
  • Pre-Season Cup titles: 4
1974, 1977, 1979, 1981
1975, 1978
2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1935, 1937, 1949, 1986, 2004
  • Jersey Flegg: 14
1914, 1917, 1924, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1941, 1947, 1970, 1976, 1993, 2002, 2004
  • Presidents Cup: 15
1910, 1911, 1913, 1920, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1927, 1938, 1948, 1949, 1955, 1978, 1987, 1993
  • S. G. Ball Cup: 3
1997, 2008, 2010


In August 2010 the Roosters announced the first five inductees into the Sydney Roosters Hall of Fame. These were "The Master" Dally Messenger, the record-breaking centre Dave Brown, supercoach Jack Gibson, inspirational prop Arthur Beetson and modern day superstar Brad Fittler.[73][74] Following the first inductions, in 2012 the club also inducted Ray Stehr, Dick Dunn, Ron Coote and Kevin Hastings to the prestigious list.



External links

  • Sydney Roosters Online
  • Easts Leagues Club
  • The Chookpen – Unofficial Supporters Forum

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