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Memorable Matches From The Biff Era

(m16) THE EARL PARK RIOT (Sydney 1928)

Posted by... quigs eraofthebiff - on ... Friday, May 04, 2012

THE EARL PARK RIOT (Sydney 1928)



Get some more beers, or make another coffee, take your time and have some fun.

from Quigs "As mentioned previously, I am not a rugby league historian, a rugby league expert. I am just a lover of this era of Rugby League." ... This is a recollection of some of the battles, and the trench warfare that I, and others watched over time. Some are matches that I was told about, or read about.

MATCH SUMMARY: 1928 Earl Park Riot St George v Balmain Crowd attacks players, Players blue in Ambulance.

1928: Police intervene as Earl Park erupts!

Earl Park, 11 August 1928: Saints won a spiteful and controversial match 21-3 in front of 6000 people.

The often firey match between St George & Balmain ended with scenes of crowd violence.

St George players retaliated when team mate, George Carstairs was kicked about the head by a Balmain player. An all in brawl followed and spectators got involved. Police intervened using hand cuffs, batons and fists in an effort to quell what the press have dubbed, 'the Earl Park riot'.

This story was offered to EOTB by Steve Williams,
(and a great help to Era of the Biff)
visit Steve's brilliant website

It appears the source of the aggravation was Referee Brannaghan who lost control of the match when he sent off St George forward Harry Flower early in the 2nd half but allowed Balmain players to stay on the field despite further acts of thuggery.

The incident with Carstairs occurred five minutes from fulltime. Earlier, Carstairs had been kicked in the face while playing the ball but on this occasion he was knocked unconscious when kicked in the head by Balmain forward, Tony Russell. Incredibly, Brannaghan only cautioned Russell thus bringing strong reaction from the crowd.

St George coach, Frank Burgh and secretary, Reg Fusedale approached Brannaghan for an explanation following an on field brawl amongst the players.

The game continued but another incident at fulltime escalated the already volatile situation. With the match over, Balmain's George Bishop began chasing St George player, Arnold Traynor. This infuriated sections of the crowd and hundreds invaded the ground with the intention of seeking revenge on the Balmain players. St George supporters ripped off fence palings to be used as weapons and one witness reported seeing a man running around behind the grandstand with an axe.

Police arrived but not before Russell was badly beaten by the crowd. He suffered leg and head injuries and was put into the same ambulance as George Carstairs where it was reported that Russell attempted to assault Carstairs and ambulance officers had to intervene to restrain him.

Meanwhile police were making numerous arrests and order was eventually restored.

A week later, a NSWRL investigation blamed crowd violence and not the players for the disturbance.


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