The original origins of the Bankstown Bulls we see today can be traced back to the 1970’s with the Bankstown Central club who won 5 premierships from 1977 to 1983. The Red, Black and White colours of the Cougars and Bulls were the colours of Bankstown Central. The Encouragement Award at the Bulls is named in honour of Tom Tasker who coached Central to their maiden premiership in 1977.
Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s Bankstown itself had two sides being Bankstown City and Bankstown Collegians who would form a merger at the end of the 1997 season to become the Bankstown Juniors and adopt the Cougars nickname in 1999.
Bankstown Bowling RL Club was formed in 1982 winning the A/Grade premiership. The club changed its name to Bankstown City in 1984 winning their first title under the City name in M Grade in 1984 under the coaching of Peter Byrnes and captaincy of Maniel Byrnes. They would win 6 premierships in total including the 1982 success.
Bankstown Collegians was a new club formed in 1981 breaking away from Milperra Colts fielding teams in B Grade (open age), D Grade (u17) and E Grade (u16). Collegians won their first competition in 1982 defeating Punchbowl 25-0 in the F Grade (u15) Grand Final under the coaching of Wayne Dewberry and captaincy of Mark Vella. All up they won 10 competitions across various age groups from under 8’s to A/Grade. In 1986, Bankstown Collegians won the International Club Championship. Peter Wagstaff and Stan O’Dowd received Life Membership of the Canterbury-Bankstown District Junior Rugby League for their service to the game and to Bankstown Collegians.
The concept of the current Super 15’s has a mixture of the Central, City and Collegians. The first premiership won by City or Collegians was by Collegians F/Grade (u15) in 1982. The Super 15 jersey design is from Bankstown Central. Remarkably the Cougars/Bulls are yet to win a Super 15 premiership.
The merger between Bankstown Catholic Collegians and Bankstown City happened at the end of the 1997 season with the club to be known as Bankstown Juniors.
Since the City/Collegians merger there have been 9 Cougars/Bulls juniors have progressed to the NRL ranks – Heka Nanai, Peter Mata’utia, Daniel Tupou, Harlan Alaalatoa, Chanel Mata’utia, Sione Mata’utia, Pat Mata’utia, Ryan Matterson and Marcelo Montoya. Five players have achieved Test status outside of World Cup being Peter Mata’utia (Samoa), Daniel Tupou (Tonga & Australia), Sione Mata’utia (Australia), Pat Mata’utia (Samoa) and Marcelo Montoya (Fiji). Daniel Tupou has also represented NSW at State of Origin level.
In it’s first season as a joint venture in 1998, the club fielded 9 sides in 1998 and took out the under 19’s title defeating St Johns 16-4 with Craig McLeod as coach and Elie Georges as captain. Such was the success of the Collegians and City merger that inaugural Cougars Secretary Ray Farah took out the CBDJRL Club Secretary of the Year and the Bulls Junior Player of the Year is named in his honour.
The club became known as the Bankstown Cougars in 1999 and in 2002 Bankstown Cougars were joint winners of the International Club Championship.
In 2004, the Cougars affiliated themselves with the Sydney Bulls who played in the competition that is now known as the Ron Massey Cup. As a result of the partnership the junior club became known as the Bankstown Bulls.
In 2007, the Bulls were the inaugural winners CBDJRL Club of the Year award.
The Sydney Bulls have since moved on after the 2009 season but the Bankstown Bulls kept the Bulls nickname and the club continues to go from strength to strength.
Junior League Grand Final days were successfully held at Ruse Park in 2009, 2010 and 2011. In 2011, the Bulls won their first Sydney Combined Competition (SCC) when the under 17’s side coached by Danny Safetly defeated the St George Dragons 24-14.
On five occasions the Bulls have won three premierships in the one season accomplishing the feats in 1999, 2005, 2013, 2015 and 2016. Remarkably in 2015 both under 19’s sides won their respective SCC grand finals an achievement that has never been before and won’t be achieved for a long time to come
A new management came together at the Bulls for the 2018 season. The club was successful in securing a $10,000 sponsorship for First Option Bank for a new scoreboard. The club won the Senior Club Championship for the 3rd time in 2018 and first since 2002.
In 2018, Amy Tu’ifua became the first female player in the clubs history to win the Junior or Senior Player of the Year award. Following a positive rise in female participation in 2018 the club went down the path of introducing two new all-female teams in ages 13-14 and 15-16. Once the new constitution was voted in unanimously by the members that allowed older aged females to play for the club which wasn’t allowed under the previous constitution the two all-Girls sides was formed in 2019.
At the 2018 Annual General Meeting held on 29th October 2018 the members by unanimous vote decided to adopt the new constitution that was put forward under a special resolution. This means that the Bankstown Bulls JRLFC officially acknowledges its past history with Bankstown Cougars, Bankstown Collegians, Bankstown City and Bankstown Central.
Life Membership as part of the adoption of the new constitution incorporates Life Memberships awarded under the Bulls former identities.
In 2019, the Bulls won the inaugural Club’s Club of the Year as voted on a monthly 3-2-1 basis by the 11 member clubs. Individually, Lawrence Karam won the CBDJRL Volunteer of the Year, Stan Hetaraka won the CBDRL Coach of the Year and Rabab Raad won the CBDJRL Manager of the Year.
In 2020, the club received a massive upgrade to the playing surface and drainage at Ruse Park and returned to Padstow Park with full field and facility usage. Despite the difficult year with the Covid-19 lockdown and a very restricted season the club still made a staggering off-field profit that has enabled the club to invest in new projects such as the Western Sydney Rugby League Academy, upgrading the home dressing rooms and building a special girls facility.
The home dressing rooms is supported by a $20,000 grant courtesy of NSW Member for Bankstown Tania Mihailuk MP and the girls facility is backed by a $10,000 grant from Federal Member for Blaxland The Hon. Jason Clare MP.
As the club moves into the 2021 season we remember our humble beginnings as the Bankstown Bulls strives to be the most professional and friendly club giving people from all walks of life the opportunity to be part of game, the local area and make new life-long friends.
The club will continue to update the club’s history section on the website when new information comes to hand about the origins of the Bulls we see today.
If you can assist with more information on the club’s history and origins particularly in the days of Bankstown Central, Bankstown City, Bankstown Collegians and Bankstown Cougars the club would like to hear from you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any information.