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Bankstown City

Origins & History of the Bankstown City Junior Rugby League Football Club

The Bankstown Bulls JRLFC Inc. would like to thank John Potter Snr and Johnny Potter Jnr for putting together this history piece on the Bankstown City Junior Rugby League Football Club which took part in the Canterbury-Bankstown District Junior Rugby League from 1984 to 1997. The first Rugby League match played at Ruse Park was on the 1st April 1984 and prior to 1984 it was exclusively a Soccer venue.

Bankstown City Junior Rugby League Club was a merger between Bankstown Central District Rugby League and Bankstown Soccer Club to form the Bankstown Football Club Limited which also included the A/Grade team fielded by Bankstown Bowling Club. Following the 1997 season Bankstown City and Bankstown Catholic Collegians came together to form the Bankstown Juniors later known as the Bankstown Cougars and Bankstown Bulls.

Sadly much of the records of Bankstown City Junior Rugby League Club got destroyed when the club house was burnt down twice in the early 1990’s.

The below piece has been written John Potter, founder of the Bankstown City Junior Rugby League Football Club, life member of the Bankstown City club (therefore Life Member of the Bankstown Bulls in accordance to article 3A.9 of the Bankstown Bulls JRLFC Inc. Constitution.

Bankstown District Rugby League Club known as Bankstown United was formed in the 1920’s. They performed well over many years in the Second Division of NSW Rugby League and in the 1960’s were very dominant and won 5 premierships in a row.

In 1982 an A/Grade side was formed at Bankstown City Bowling Club and were given green/gold colours in preference to maroon/white. That side won the premiership in their debut season and took part in the 1983 competition.

In late 1983 Warwick Shakespeare, Secretary of Bankstown Central District Rugby League Club Limited and John Potter, Secretary/Manager of Bankstown Soccer Club Limited met on several occasions in company with Jack Byron and discussed the amalgamation of the two clubs.  The two committees agreed to the amalgamation and the Bankstown Bowling A/Grade side joined the Bankstown City fold.

The amalgamation went ahead creating the new Bankstown Football Club Limited hosting Bankstown City JRLFC and Bankstown City Soccer Club. Soccer was played on a Saturday and Rugby League on Sunday at Rusa Park, which was renamed Bankstown Football Centre. This arrangement was short lived and Soccer withdrew. Thereafter the ground was used for Rugby League on Saturday’s and Sunday’s.

Rusa Park was farmland owned by the Rusa family who donated the land to council.

1984 saw the newly formed Bankstown City, sporting green/gold colours, fielded four teams in A, B, F (U16), M (U8) Grades. The A/Grade, coached by Mick Basham, had to play in the Western Suburbs competition as Canterbury-Bankstown had moved away from A/Grade. However, after pressure was brought to bear with the Senior Club it was resumed in 1986. The M/Grade (Under 8) coached by Peter Byrnes was successful in the first year and were undefeated taking out the premiership.

The Club tried to be progressive and Friday Night Games of A Grade were introduced and broadcast on 2BCR radio station. This became very popular and the games were well attended.

In 1995 the C/Grade side won the premiership coached by former Bulldogs first grade player Mark Bird defeating St Johns 18-16 in the Grand Final. Mark Bird for his efforts in 1995 would win the Canterbury-Bankstown Coach of the Year award. Mark Bird was made a Life Member of the CBDJRL in 2019 and currently serves on the CBDJRL Board of Management.

The Club proceeded along these lines until 1997, winning premierships along the way, the last being the Under 9’s coached by John Potter, who were undefeated and also beaten in the State Final 20-19 by St Clair. This was the last Bankstown City side to win a competition. This side included Harlan Alaalatoa, the last player to go to grade from the club. Over the years a number of players progressed to Grade.

Late 1997 meetings were held between the committees of Bankstown City and Bankstown Collegians a new club Bankstown Cougars was formed and in 1998 the Cougars fielded 8 sides in ages 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13 and C/Grade. The C/Grade side coached by Craig McLeod won the 1998 Grand Final against St Johns 16-4. The amalgamation was a success.

John Potter

Bankstown City 1987 E/Grade (16) Premiers #28 Coach Ron Harmer

Click HERE for list of premierships won by Central, Bowling & City

Bankstown Bulls Junior Rugby League Football Club Inc.