No two clubs have clashed more often in grand finals than the Western Suburbs Magpies and the St George Dragons.


Saints may have won four times during their 11-year reign of premierships but the Magpies hold an indelible place in the history books as winners of the first grand final in 1930.


Rugby league historian David Middleton (pictured) looks back at the five Magpies-Dragons grand finals in the build up to the Men of League Heritage Round clash.


1930 Grand Final Wests 27, St George 2

It was the first time a genuine grand final was played following a rule amendment in 1926 that meant if the minor premiers were beaten in a semi-final or final they had the right to challenge in a grand final. Saints upset minor premiers Wests 14-6 in the final but the Magpies turned the tables in emphatic style a week later when they thumped the Dragons 27-2.


1958 Grand Final St George 20, Wests 9

With 13 minutes to play in the grand final, Wests trailed 10-9 amid a St George barrage of stiff-arm tackles and other brutal tactics. Wests faced a battering ram from kickoff to final bell, wrote Jim Mather in Truth. The premiership was decided by an intercept try to Saints halfback Bobby Bugden, converted by Harry Bath.


1961 Grand Final St George 22, Wests 0

St George and Wests were clearly superior to the rest of the field in 1961, both finishing on 30 competition points, 10 ahead of the next best team. They each won a regular season game against the other and their semi-final was hard fought before Saints prevailed 9-4. It was a different story in the decider as St George claimed a record sixth consecutive grand final victory with a 22-0 shutout.


1962 Grand Final St George 9, Wests 6

Wests went agonisingly close to ending the Dragons run in 1962 when second-rower Garry Russell dived for the ball in a scramble of players over the try-line but referee Jack Bradley ruled against him. St George, reduced to 12 men by the early second-half dismissal of forward Billy Wilson, held on to win 9-6.


1963 Grand Final St George 8, Wests 3

This was one of the most controversial of all grand finals, involving a hotly debated try to Saints winger Johnny King and allegations that referee Darcy Lawler had backed St George to win. It was the decider that spawned the internationally award-winning photograph of rival captains Norm Provan (St George) and Arthur Summons (Wests) that became known as The Gladiators.


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