Flashback 1947: Canterbury fined for drunken players
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Flashback 1947: Canterbury fined for drunken players

We revisit 1947 when Canterbury Bankstown Rugby League Club was fined and players suspended following an end of season thrashing in which players took to the field intoxicated.

This article originally published in the Sydney Morning Herald, October 14, 1947.

Canterbury were fined and two players suspended, as reported in this article on October 14, 1947.

Canterbury were fined and two players suspended, as reported in this article on October 14, 1947.

Photo: Sydney Morning Herald

The NSW Rugby League last night fined the Canterbury-Bankstown Club £200 "for allowing its players to misconduct themselves at Brisbane on September 22."

A combined Brisbane team beat the Canterbury Bankstown team by 60 points to two in a night match.

Canterbuiry were minor premiers in 1947, but lost the grand final to Balmain 13-9 at the Sydney Sports Ground (above).

Canterbuiry were minor premiers in 1947, but lost the grand final to Balmain 13-9 at the Sydney Sports Ground (above).

Photo: Ernest Charles Bowen

The league directed that Canterbury-Bankstown pay the money to the Brisbane Rugby League for distribution to any charity Brisbane desired.

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The League discussed allegations that some members of the Canterbury team were intoxicated when they took the field.

It decided to summon two Canterbury players, R. Johnson and R. Baxter, before its next meeting to answer a charge of misconduct.

If the players had had any honour or decency they would have listened to the advice given by the two managers.

Frank Miller

Johnson is a former State fullback, while Baxter is a second grade forward.

The League decided that some of the Canterbury players were unfit to play when they took the field against Brisbane, and it found that the team managers, Mr. Barney Russell and Mr. Harry Culbert, "erred" in allowing these players on the field.

The League decided to frame a rule governing the conduct of tours by clubs travelling interstate.
Before the League met, the Canterbury team managers had a two-hour interview with the vice president of the League, Mr. Frank Miller.

These three men then met the management committee of the League, which drew up a list of recommendations and submitted them to the full League.

Two Canterbury players were suspended until July 31, 1948.

Two Canterbury players were suspended until July 31, 1948.

Photo: Sydney Morning Herald

The League accepted all but two of the recommendations.

These were that Johnson and Baxter should be suspended until July 31, 1948, and that the team
managers be severely censured.

Mr. Miller defended the managers.

"If ever a man was guide, philosopher, and friend, it was Barney Russell," he said.

"You all know he is a strict teetotaller. He told the boys to keep fit and be in good condition for the
match at night. If the players had had any honour or decency they would have listened to the
advice given by the two managers."