South Sydney Respond to Balmain Final Boycott

21st September 1909

In a letter published in the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Sir, in refusing to play South Sydney league team in the early match prior to the last fixture, Wallaby v Kangaroo match, I think the playing members of the Balmain league team can honestly say (after the action of a few irresponsible officials of their team), "save me from my friends." Look at the officials parrot like cry "Being made tools of," "Belittling the club," "Will not play an early match," etc, etc, never a word relative to South Sydney team (although premiers since the formation of the league) being belittled, made tools of, etc. I may mention that South Sydney team have not met the Balmain team off Birchgrove since the league competitions started two seasons ago. Balmain, also, were never sent to Newcastle by the league; so asking them to meet South Sydney for the first time at 2.15 p.m. (with a saving clause of a quarter of an hour's grace), which was carried at the league meeting last Monday night, September 13, in the presence of the Balmain club's delegates, was fair enough in all conscience.

South Sydney team have defeated every club in the league competition this season, and been defeated themselves only once, at Newcastle, by a narrow margin, when South's four best players were not available. I may add that on the Saturday following this event South Sydney met Newcastle in the semi-final at the Agricultural Ground and defeated them 20 to nil, which speaks volumes. We were also only defeated once least season, by Eastern Suburbs, by 1 point, thus making only two defeats in two seasons. Also in every match of any consequence this season we were always represented by at least four representatives from the team. So as we were willing to be "made tools of," "belittled in playing an early match," etc, etc, it does not seem feasible to me that the Balmain Club should refuse to play considering the difference in merit and the performances of the two teams. However, we can lay the flattering unction to ourselves that although we win the premiership and medals by forfeit. Balmain league team have never since the formation of league football, defeated South Sydney league team; and as we have defeated every team in the competition this season, as well as last season also, we can conscientiously sign ourselves premiers, 1908-1909.

I am, etc, THOS. H. PETERS, Hon. Sec. South Sydney League Team.

While Mr.L.Edwards from Balmain team on the same day, said it was not right that they should play the early match at the Agricultural Ground. He pointed out that a rule in the League books provides that the proceeds of the final match shall be donated to the hospitals of the competing teams. As it was, if they had played on Saturday, it would have only been for the benefit of the Wallabies-Kangaroos match.

"What about the premiership?" Mr. Edwards was asked. "Well," he replied, "I think the clubs ought to meet, and if South Sydney is beaten then both teams' will be level in competition points, and then we will play off." "Do you think South Sydney ought to receive the medals?" "No. They ought to be played for." "What about the proposed match next Saturday?" "I cannot say anything about that, but a meeting is to be held tonight to constder the matter. We are willing to play South Sydney, not for the medals, the gate money, after expenses are paid, to go to the hospitals."