Club History

Toronto Rugby League History

When Toronto was a sparsely populated outpost of the Lake Macquarie district, rugby league in the area was a rough and ready affair.

So much so that after a match at the Sports Ground (now Lyall Peacock Field) the referee was thrown into the adjacent creek and the club was banished from the competition.

Later, a rugby union team was formed playing in white jerseys with a red and blue V, then red and blue jerseys.

Bob Hume, who had a league background at Kurri Kurri, arrived to work at Awaba State Mine in 1952 and inspired a long campaign to establish the code on a firm footing in the Toronto area.

Firstly, a team played in red and blue colours in the Newcastle third grade competition, with under 16's and under 18's formed in 1953.

Early in 1954, the Toronto club applied and was accepted into the Central Coast competition.

To avoid a clash with the Gosford club's red and blue colours, it was decided that Toronto would play in green and gold, the colours of Toronto Public School.

In the first of its six years in competition, Toronto fielded teams in first, reserve and under 19 grades.

The under 19's, captained by Johnny Shields and coached by Mike Conway, won the premiership.

In 1956, Toronto under captain/coach George "Caesar" Hain, upset hot favourites Woy Woy in the reserve grade decider.

As the 1950's ended, the efforts of Hume and his allies were at last rewarded with the Toronto club – by a slim 5-4 majority vote of the existing clubs – were accepted into the Newcastle premiership for the 1960 season.

Former Newcastle Northern Suburbs and subsequent Kangaroo forward Arthur Collinson, was signed from Wauchope to be Toronto's first captain/coach for the 1960-61 seasons.

Following is a diary of landmark events for the club over the past half century:

1959 – December 14: Approval in principle for Toronto United to become part of the Newcastle premiership.
1960 – February 4: Approval ratified by the NRL annual meeting.
1963: Name changed to Macquarie United.
1964 – August 9 Macquarie's first win in all grades on the one day v Waratah – Mayfield (20-12 First grade, 28-4 Reserve grade, 10-2 Third grade).
1967 – June 12: First competition win in final of the Caltex $1000 knockout, 22-5 against Central Newcastle.
1967: First grade team in semi finals for the first time. Defeated Lakes United 18-9, then lost preliminary final 8-4 to Northern Suburbs, the subsequent grand final winner.
1968: Semi final qualifier for second successive year. Lost 12-9 to South Newcastle, the the eventual grand final winner.
1970 John Bainbridge became the first Scorpion to play 200 first grade games.
1974: Third time in semi finals. Defeated Kurri Kurri 19-5, then lost 20-13 to Western Suburbs in preliminary final.
1974: Reserve grade team brought club its first premiership. Defeated Central Charlestown 20-5 in minor semi final, Maitland 23-15 in preliminary final and Western Suburbs 19-14 in grand final.
1978: Gained highest placing – second – in any premiership campaign to that point. Lost major semi final 29-0 to Western Suburbs, the eventual premier, and lost preliminary final 21-7 to south Newcastle.
1981 Finished in top five, then lost 25-15 to Maitland in elimination semi final.
1985: Peter "Zac" Alexander breaks John Bainbridge's record as highest amount of first grade games. These two players remain the only 2 to play over 200 first grade games for Macquarie.
1991: Mal Graham signs on as the Scorpions captain/coach. In his first season, the Scorps reach their maiden First grade final. They played under the name of Toronto Workers Scorpions for 7 seasons.
1991: Won First grade grand final beating Western Suburbs 21-10. Earlier lost qualifying semi final 32-16 to Wests, then beat Lakes United 42-12 in minor semi final and defeated South Newcastle 34-14 in preliminary final.
1992: Macquarie (Toronto Workers) the defending premiers fail to reach the semi final.
1994: The Scorpions reach their 2nd First grade grand final. This time defeating Wests in the major semi final to go directly into the grand final. They went down to Kurri Kurri 20-16.
Some lean years followed until they again reached the semi finals in 2007.
2006: First grade make semi finals only to lose both games.
2007: Reserves reach the semi finals defeating Wests in the grand final to bring home the club's 3rd premiership.
2008: Mal Graham returns to the club as head coach. Macquarie have a tremendous season reaching the semi finals in all three grades. The First grade defeated Wyong in the elimination semi before going down to Central in the minor semi. The two lower grades however went on to bring home the Premierships. To make the victories even sweeter, they defeated Western Suburbs in both games.
2009: The season started on a high with wins in their first 3 games before losing their next 2 before this went to print. With the club in the top 5 in all grades, our 50th year holds much promise.