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The Roosters Story

Established at Paddington Town Hall on Friday, January 24 1908, the Eastern Suburbs District Rugby League Football Club is the only one to have competed in every single season in the top-flight Australian Rugby League competition. 

Success would come early for the Tricolours, reaching the inaugural Grand Final before claiming their first Premiership in 1911, with immortal Dally Messenger leading the way through his brilliant skill and leadership. 

Dally M: A pioneer of Rugby League, Dally Messenger was the first man to lead the Club to Premiership success. Known as the game's first superstar, Messenger took Eastern Suburbs to three consecutive titles between 1911-13.
Dally M: A pioneer of Rugby League, Dally Messenger was the first man to lead the Club to Premiership success. Known as the game's first superstar, Messenger took Eastern Suburbs to three consecutive titles between 1911-13.

The men in Red, White and Blue would claim a hat-trick of Premierships under Messenger's watch - becoming the first Club to do so - before a fourth triumph in 1923. 

One of the most dominant periods in Rugby League history came in the 1930s, as  Easts powered through to another three-peat, this time between 1935-1937 as Dave Brown stamped his authority as one of the greatest-ever players in the code's history, setting point-scoring and try-scoring records which have yet to be bested. 

The 1940s continued the Club's rich vein of success during the Second World War, claiming the pennant in 1940 before an emphatic victory in the 1945 Grand Final thanks to a 19-point haul by Dick Dunn in the 22-18 win in the Club's famous Wartime Jersey. 

From there, however, success was limited in the following two decades, with a significant change in the jersey design in 1954 and a Grand Final appearance in 1960 being the highlights of a turbulent period for the Club, which culminated in a winless season in 1966.

Season 1967 was a significant year of change for Eastern Suburbs, however, as former player Jack Gibson emphatically led the side to the semi-finals in his inaugural season as coach, before the famous Rooster emblem was adopted and introduced on the jersey one year later. 

Gibson's coaching innovations transformed the Club into a powerhouse of the NSWRL, with the likes of Arthur Beetson and Ron Coote playing a starring role in the back-to-back Premierships of 1974-75, breaking a 29-year drought for the Club.

1975 Grand Final Highlights

In 1976 City Ford was famously emblazed on the jersey, as the Club became the first in Australian sport to adopt a front of jersey sponsor, and in the same year, the Roosters became the first-ever World Club Challenge winners, defeating St Helens 25-2 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. 

Following a Grand Final appearance in 1980, the Club's fortunes would soon change over the next decade and a half, and although the performances of Kevin Hastings and Craig Salvatori along with the return of Beetson as Head Coach would salvage some memorable wins, change was needed to return to the top - beginning with a move to the newly-developed Sydney Football Stadium in 1988. 

With a heavy recruitment drive which included Head Coach Phil Gould and Australian Test Captain Brad Fittler, the Red, White and Blue became a competition powerhouse through the mid-1990s, and with the advent of the Super League war threatening to tear the competition apart, the Club opted to rebrand as 'Sydney City' in 1995.

2002 Premiers | 20th Anniversary Part 1

Following four consecutive finals appearances, Fittler's men reached the 2000 Grand Final - the Club's first in two decades - and although victory would elude them, 27 years of heartache was erased when the mercurial five-eighth courageously led his side to a victory over the New Zealand Warriors in the 2002 Grand Final. 

Now known as the 'Sydney Roosters', the Club dominated the NRL, claiming the 2003 World Club Challenge with an emphatic 38-nil drubbing of St Helens, before featuring in the next two Grand Finals and claiming the Minor Premiership in 2004. 

In 2007 the Eastern Suburbs District Rugby League Football Club celebrated its 100th season, becoming the only NRL team to play every single year since 1908.

The year included the Club's 1000th first-grade victory in Round 7 on Anzac Day against traditional rivals St George Illawarra. Fittler took on the mantle as Head Coach to lead a mid-season revival, taking the side to the finals for the first time since his retirement the following year. 

2013 Grand Final Highlights

Overcoming a last-place finish in 2009, the following decade would prove to be one of, if not the finest in Club history.

After coming one win away from completing the greatest reversal in Rugby League in 2010, the trophy would soon emphatically return to Bondi.  

Season 2013 proved to be a very fruitful one as the Club claimed the Minor Premiership and their 13th Premiership under rookie Head Coach Trent Robinson, with the likes of Sonny Bill Williams and James Maloney kick-starting a new era in Red, White and Blue with a 26-18 defeat of Manly-Warringah in the Grand Final.

Roosters Review 2019 Grand Final

Claiming three Minor Premierships in a row, the Club also added the 2017 Auckland Nines trophy to their trophy cabinet, but it would be the addition of champion halfback Cooper Cronk that would cement them as one of the most dominant teams of the 21st century.

Season 2018 saw the establishment of the NRL Women's Premiership, with the Roosters yet again creating history as one of the four pioneering clubs to compete in the inaugural season, reaching the Grand Final in the process. 

Led by inspirational captains Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend, the Sydney Roosters of 2018-19 became the first in the NRL era to claim back-to-back Premierships, with the likes of Cronk, James Tedesco, Luke Keary and Mitchell Aubusson etching their names into Club folklore with starring performances and milestones.

NRLW 2021 Grand Final Highlights: Roosters vs Dragons

In the delayed 2021 season, the NRLW side emulated their male counterparts by claiming a famous Grand Final victory in their fourth season, bringing home the Club's 16th Premiership in a 16-4 win against St George Illawarra in Redcliffe, Queensland.  

With plenty of superstar talent, experienced veterans and exciting prospects streaming through the Club's Academy, as well as a state-of-the-art stadium to call our home, there is no doubt that there is a bright future that will feature plenty of success for the Sydney Roosters. 

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.