At Lidcombe Oval this Sunday 2nd April, the mighty Victa Magpies take on the New Zealand Warriors in Round 5 of the NSW Knock-on Effect Cup. This is the first ever match that the Warriors have played the Magpies at Lidcombe Oval, and we're marking the occasion by celebrating the Magpies' New Zealand connection! Read on for some of the more unusual twists on our mutual history below, and see you on Sunday at Lidcombe!
The Kiwis Were Responsible for the First Ever Magpies Away Kit
In 1963, it was agreed that the touring New Zealand international side would complete their tour with a match against the ladder-leading NSWRFL side on July 2nd in Sydney. A Western Suburbs Magpies squad filled with legends of the game (such as Arthur Summons, Peter Dimond, Noel Kelly and Don Parish) were leading the competition when the Kiwis came to town, and the thoughts of club administrators went straight to an obvious problem. The Magpies and Kiwis wore near identical playing kits.
This dilemma led the Western Suburbs DRLFC to design their first ever predominantly white jersey in preparation to contrast the New Zealand side, however their efforts were in vain. Going around the back of the promoted arrangement, the NSWRFL instead organised for the St George Dragons to take on the Kiwis, and a Magpies reverse kit wasn't seen again until the mid 1970s then used commonly throughout the 1980s & 1990s.
Western Suburbs Graded Five New Zealand Representatives Prior to 2000
Five first grade Western Suburbs Magpies from the NRL, ARL and NSWRL eras represented the New Zealand Kiwis, including:
Jason Williams (Magpie #870)
7 first grade matches for Wests Magpies in 1987, and 13 test for New Zealand.
Brendan Tuuta (Magpie #899)
43 first grade matches for Wests Magpies between 1989-1990, 16 test for New Zealand.
Stephen Kearney (Magpie #951)
46 first grade matches for Wests Magpies between 1992-1994, 45 tests for New Zealand.
Brent Stuart (Magpie #978)
38 first grade matches for Wests Magpies between 1994-1996, 13 tests for New Zealand.
Mark Horo (Magpie #993)
22 first grade matches for Wests Magpies in 1995, 16 tests for New Zealand.
Western Suburbs Magpies Will Play the New Zealand Warriors for the First Time at Lidcombe in 2023
Western Suburbs Magpies relocated from Lidcombe to Campbelltown in 1987, and with Auckland Warriors joining the ARL in 1995, the two sides have never had cause to face off at the hallowed grounds of Lidcombe Oval. In 2023 however, the NZ Warriors joined the NSW Knock-on Effect Cup, meaning this Sunday April 2nd will be the first chance to see Magpies V Warriors at Lidcombe.
Interestingly, although the Auckland Warriors franchise didn't formally exist until 1995, an Auckland representative side played the Western Suburbs Magpies in the 1986 mid-week competition, just down the road at Leichhardt Oval. Stay tuned to the Magpies Facebook, where we'll provide footage of this oddity of rugby league history.
Until then, see you at Lidcombe Oval on Sunday April 2nd for Magpies V Warriors. Kick-off is at 1pm and tickets are just $10 for adults, $5 for aged pensioners and free for kids under the age of 16.
Be sure to sign up as a Magpies Member for free entry to all our Lidcombe Oval home games!