QSRU History

QSDRU and QSRU History

The earliest predecessors of the sub-districts rugby union in Queensland were the Minor Rugby Union and the Sub-Junior Minor Rugby Union, which were founded in 1888 and 1890 respectively for second and third tier teams.

The Qld. Sub-District Rugby Union had its foundation in 1964 as the result of an idea by members of the Q.R.U. Development Committee.  Instrumental in getting the competition ‘Off the Ground’ were Gerry Murphy, Liam Walsh, Arch Winning, Wal Galloway, Barrie Ffrench, Jeff Weir, Reg Toomey, Paul Ryan and others.

The Competition commenced with 9 teams in 1st Grade although 1 team failed to see out the Season.

The Annual Report of the Q.R.U. in 1964 said: “The standard of play exhibited by the competing teams was surprisingly high.  Competition between teams was consistently keen and even”.  During the year, the Sub-District Representative Side played two matches, losing to Qld. Country 14-24 and drawing with a Navy team 13- all.

In 1965 a new club, Gold Coast, entered the competition which now comprised eleven teams and was divided into two grades.  During the season, the Representative Team defeated Wide Bay 42-Nil.  The Q.R.U. Annual Report at the end of the second season read thus: “Probably the most important and pleasing factor to emerge from the second season of operations was the discovery of so many administrators, players and supporters who, for various reasons, have never previously had an active connection with Rugby.  It augurs well for the game that so many people are available to help”.

In 1966, the first President, Mr K.C. “Arch” Winning was elected patron, and Mr W.S. “Wal” Galloway commenced what proved to be a long association with Sub-District Rugby, when he was elected President.  Mr G. Murphy served what was to be his final term as Chairman of the Sub-District Committee.

By now the competition had grown to nineteen teams and it was divided into three divisions – ‘A’ Grade – Sunday Truth Shield, ‘B’ Grade – Edinburgh Cup, ‘C’ Grade – Sydney Cup.

For the first time Qld played Sydney in what was to become an annual clash.

Twenty-six teams contested the competition in 3 grades in 1967 at which level it was to more or less stabilise until 1973.  The representative team was beaten 12-11 by Darling Downs as a curtain-raiser to the Ireland v Qld game, and 33-17 by Sydney (although scoring more tries) as a curtain-raiser to the Australia v Ireland Test in Sydney.

1968 marked the start of a 12-year association with the Sub-District Committee for Ian Scotney, who was later to become President and a Life Member.

The Representative side once again fell to Darling Downs 17-6 and drew a two match series against a Papuan team winning the first game 18-17 and losing the second 14-5.  The Interstate Match was not played that year.

1969 marked the reformation and emergence of the Commonwealth Bank Club to gradually take over the role of “Champion Club” from Bank of New South Wales who at this stage were carrying all before it, having won the ‘A’ Grade Premiership on three occasions.

The Representative side played a game against Combined Army winning 17-8 but lost to Sydney 17-11 in a curtain-raiser to the Fiji v Australia Test.

Sydney continued their domination of the Interstate Matches in 1970 defeating Qld 23-3 in a curtain-raiser to the N.S.W. v Scotland Match in Sydney and a year later in 1971 beating Qld 19-10 in a curtain-raiser to the Qld v South Africa game in Brisbane.

In 1972 the competition was divided into 4 Grades for the first and only time, with the introduction of the ”Presidents Cup”.

Qld once more journeyed to Sydney for the annual encounter and in something of an upset in the curtain-raiser to the Australia v France Test managed to defeat the home side 13-12 and thus beat the “Southerners” and capture the H.H. Barraclough Trophy for the first time.

The Team on this momentous occasion was as follows:

R. Wilkins Bank of New South Wales
J. Charteris Bank of New South Wales
R. Palmer Bank of New South Wales
W. Green Bank of New South Wales
R. Robertson Bank of New South Wales
M. Curtain Commonwealth Bank
J. Anderson Commonwealth Bank
P. Berge Commonwealth Bank
N. Malduf Commonwealth Bank
P. Lockhart Gold Coast
B. Moon Gold Coast
S, Fuller Gold Coast
P. McGuinness Gold Coast
T. O’Grady Gold Coast
V. Clark (C) Law Clerks
J. Cadden Law Clerks
J. Ward Ipswich
K. Wardley Ipswich
P. Wenzel Ipswich
COACH: M. Stafford

1973 saw the loss of the improving Ipswich Club (Grand Finalists in 1972) and Gold Coast (Stalwarts of the completion since 1965) to the newly formed but ill-fated South-East Qld 2nd Division which was to last only 2 years.  From a peak of 28 teams and 4 grades the previous year, the competition dropped back to two grades and the loss of depth was obvious when Qld went down to N.S.W. 28-7 in the curtain-raiser to the Australia v Tonga match.

During the next two years, the Union consolidated their position, Mr Joe Gibson O.B.E., President of the Q.R.U., became patron and by 1976 the competition had returned to three grades.  Later that year, Qld Rugby was to mourn the passing of one of the Founders and Long Serving President of the Sub-District Union, W Galloway.  His drive and unquenchable enthusiasm for this branch of the Code were instrumental in its success from inception right up until his death.  In recognition of his contribution, the Galloway Memorial Trophy was to be presented to the ‘A’ Grade Competition Leader at the end of the First Round.

The Competition continued through 1977 more or less unchanged.

1978 marked a return to two grades and also the inclusion of a Sub-District Representative team into the Brisbane-based Fourex Cup Competition.

This side coached by Bill Green held Sydney to a 6-all draw in Sydney.

Ian Scotney retired as President at the end of the 1979·season and his contribution to Sub-District Rugby was recognised by the presentation of Life Membership.

In 1980, Ipswich were re-admitted to the Sub-District Competition after 2 years in 2nd Division and four years in the Open Grade Competition.

A more comprehensive build-up for the representative team was arranged with hard fought clashes with Gold Coast and Qld Country, only to see Qld soundly defeated by Sydney in a curtain-raiser to the Australia v N.Z. Test.

During the year the Management Committee studied the overall situation of the Q.S.D.R.U. and found it to be static, if not stagnating.  Many clubs were playing players twice in “A” and “B” Grade and some clubs were playing games with less than fifteen players.  Also apart from Ipswich re-joining, the trend had been for clubs to leave Q.S.D.R.U. rather than new clubs joining.  It was felt that if allowed to continue in this way the Q.S.D.R.U. would cease to be a viable competition.  Accordingly, over the year the Management Committee progressively investigated various areas which could be improved and a Motion was put to the Annual General Meeting that the Union change its name to “Queensland Associated Rugby Union” (Q.A.R.U.) as it was felt that “Sub-District” did not accurately describe the type of team participating as it did in Sydney.

After some lively debate centering around the future of the competition and the need to maintain an already established identity, the Motion was defeated

In the curtain-raiser to the Qld v N.S.W. Match at Ballymore the Visitors again proved too strong for Qld.  Commonwealth Bank won the “A” Grade Premiership for a record 4th consecutive time.

Queensland Rugby celebrated its Centenary year in 1982 and the Sub-District Union was pleased to play its part in the celebration.  The Sub-District team played its first ever game in Townsville with a 12-all draw against a combined Townsville side, as a prelude to the “Centenary Qld. v N.S.W. Match”.  Unfortunately, this side was unable to repeat the success of the Senior Qld team when it went down to Sydney 12-9 in a to curtain-raiser to the Brisbane Test.

Ipswich went through the season undefeated to post its first ever Premiership in “A” Grade.

The “Jim Anderson Trophy” for the club Championship was awarded for the first time with Sunnybank being the recipients.

The Annual Report presented to the Q.R.U. highlighted the value of the Competition to the Code and stressed the importance of recruiting new clubs to strengthen the Sub-District Union.

The competition was restructured in 1993 to provide a secondary level of rugby under the Brisbane premiership. Strong district and suburban clubs in Brisbane were grouped into a new suburban competition sponsored by Coca-Cola. Teams in the competition’s inaugural season included Caboolture and Everton Park to the north, Kenmore and Ipswich to the west, Redlands and Wynnum to the east, and Beenleigh and Logan City to the south.

Membership of the Subbies competition grew in the 1990s with an increase in corporate and university sides as well as teams formed by ex-students of schools. The growth in population of Brisbane led to the growth in the number of rugby clubs.

When Coca-Cola’s sponsorship ended after the 1998 season, the QSRU administered 47 teams representing 30 clubs in seven grades of competition spread across five divisions. Division 1 was composed of the Norbert Byrne Cup (1st Grade), Geoff R. Pegg Cup (2nd Grade), and Robert A. Tuckey Cup (Colts) competitions; with the club championship Sydney Cup awarded based on the best all round performance of the Division 1 clubs. The lower division competitions were the John Barber Cup (Division 2), Edinburgh Cup (Division 3), Ian Scotney Cup (Division 4), and Darwin V. Normanby Cup (Division 5). A number of Division 1 clubs, however, had begun to experience problems in fielding a colts (under 20s) side.

From 1999 onwards, due to insufficient teams for a stand-alone colts competition, the Subbies clubs began to play their colts sides in the Brisbane or Gold Coast competitions. The QSRU competition was reduced to four grades in 2000 when Ipswich and Logan City transferred to the Brisbane competition, Redlands relocated to the Gold Coast competition, and the QUT club folded. Wynnum and Everton Park, as the only former Division I clubs remaining, were merged into the lower division competitions.

New clubs, including the Black Rhinos and Brisbane Irish, were added in 2001 and the QSRU competition was restructured into five grades, with the Barber, Pegg, Scotney, Wyatt, and Normanby Cups being contested. Promotion and relegation between the divisions was introduced in 2007.

As recently as 2011, an under 19 representative Subbies team was selected to compete in the annual City v Country Carnival, however the QSRU has not been involved in administering colts rugby teams since then. The number of Division II clubs has also decreased. The Wyatt Cup competition has not been contested since the 2012 season.

The Queensland Suburban Rugby is made up of three divisions with five grades of competition, structured as follows:

First Division

  • 1st Grade- Barber Cup
  • 2nd Grade- Pegg Cup

Second Division

  • 1st Grade- Scotney Cup – not contested in 2016

Third Division (Friday Night)

  • 1st Grade- Normanby Cup
  • 2nd Grade- Wyatt Cup – not contested since 2012.