|Current season, competition or edition:|
|No. of teams||13|
The Shute Shield is a semi-professional rugby union competition in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is the premier club competition in Australia. The Shute Shield is awarded at the end of the Sydney Club Rugby season to the team that wins the Grand Final.
Club-based rugby football began some time before 1865. The Sydney University Football Club began in 1863 (although this date is questioned by some historians) and is the oldest existing football club outside the British Isles. The first recorded rugby season in Australia was in 1865 with Sydney University, Sydney Football Club and the Australian Club reported as playing games.
On 24 June 1874, a meeting was held between ten prominent football clubs to create a governing body to administer the game within New South Wales. The Southern Rugby Football Union was formed. The first task of the Union was to decide on a set of rules for all clubs to adhere to. Clubs were given "senior" or "junior" status which could change from season to season. Although a governing body had now been formed, there was no centrally controlled competition until many years later.
Initially, a competition was loosely arranged by the Union where the clubs were in charge of organising their own matches. This would result in clubs not playing the same teams or the same number of teams. A "Premier Club of the Colony" was declared by the Union at an end of year meeting. It was not necessarily given to the team that had the best results on the field. Results mattered, but other criteria may have also been used. What these were are not known.
The year 1880 saw the Southern Rugby Football Union endure the first splintering of the football code in Australia. It was during this season that a newspaper "war" began. Discussions centred around the merits of Rugby Football, British Association Football (Soccer) and the Victorian game (Aussie Rules Football). As a result of these heated discussions, an association was formed under the Victorian rules with two strong clubs formed to play the game. No sooner than the dust had settled and another association was formed under the British Association rules. Despite this new competition, Rugby Football held sway as the premier code in Sydney.
In 1883, the Gardiner Challenge Cup was introduced with a mixture of "senior" and "junior" clubs competing. Foundation clubs included Redfern, Sydney University, Wallaroo, Newtown, Burwood, Oriental, Glebe, Balmain, St. Leonards, Parramatta, Arfoma and Paddington. The first Cup was won by Redfern who were undefeated. At the beginning of the season, a proposal was put to the Southern Rugby Union to change the rules determining how a game was decided. Prior to the 1883 season, a game was decided by the number of goals scored. The amendment that was successfully passed by the Union declared that games would be decided by number of points scored. A try was awarded 2 points, a conversion was 3 points and a goal kicked from the field of play 4 points.
Within a few years of the Gardiner Cup beginning, the Premiership had developed to become a more structured competition with a centralised list of fixtures and rounds. An official ladder was produced and maintained with points given for wins, draws and byes. By the 1890s a finals system was introduced to assist in determining the premiership winner.
The Sydney Rugby Premiership came under the control of the Metropolitan Rugby Union, a branch of the New South Wales Rugby Football Union (formally the Southern Rugby Football Union), in 1897.
As early as 1893 it had been suggested to change the current structure of the premiership to a district-based formula. In early 1900, a meeting of the Metropolitan Rugby Union was held and a recommendation to establish district football in the coming season was made. Eight clubs competed in the inaugural season: Balmain, Glebe, Newtown, South Sydney, North Sydney, Western Suburbs, Eastern Suburbs and Sydney University. The first district competition was won by Glebe who were successful in all three grade competitions.
It was during this period, in 1907, that the supremacy of the Sydney Rugby Premiership was threatened. The imminent arrival of a professional football team from New Zealand sparked heated discussion about professionalism and compensation pay for lost time at work. In August of that year, the New South Wales Rugby Football League was formed. During the following season, a professional league competition was begun. Over the next few years, players switched across to the professional competition resulting in crowd numbers falling at Union matches.
Despite this, the district competition continued to run, rebuilding its supporter base, until the outbreak of World War 1 with the last season held during 1914. With the outbreak of war, competition was suspended.
At the conclusion of the war, the Sydney Rugby Premiership was recommenced. With the competition returning under the control of the NSW Rugby Football Union, only six clubs competed: Cambridge, Eastern Suburbs, Glebe-Balmain, Manly, Sydney University and YMCA. The competition remained as a district-based premiership until approximately the 1940s.
The Shute Memorial Shield was struck in honour of the late Robert Elliott Stewart Shute, who died on 6 June 1922 aged 23, following a match at Manly Oval. Shute enlisted in April 1917 and served as a gunner in 30th Battery, Field Artillery A.I.F. during World War One. On his return to Australia he took up his studies at the University of Sydney and joined the Sydney University rugby club as a front row forward in the first XV. The Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 7 June 1922 reported:
As a result of injuries received while playing at Manly in the Rugby football match between the team which toured New Zealand and the Next 15, Robert Elliott Shute, a front row forward in the latter team, died at a private hospital at Manly yesterday morning. The accident occurred during the latter portion of the first spell of the match. Shute secured the ball and when tackled fell heavily. He was removed to a private hospital, where it was ascertained that he was suffering from cerebral hemorrhage. Without recovering consciousness he died at 6am. A former pupil of Sydney Grammar School, Shute, who was 23 years of age, was a third year student at Sydney University and he played for the University first fifteen. He served in the AIF for four years.
The University club had the shield made following his death and donated it in 1923 to the NSWRFU to be used as a perpetual trophy for the Sydney first grade competition.
In 1966, the Sydney Rugby Union was formed to administer the running of Sydney rugby and the Shute Shield.
In late 1986, the Sydney Rugby Union (SRU) approved a new competition structure for the Shute Shield. The SRU were concerned about the falling number of clubs involved in the lower divisions. The new structure involved distributing all teams in the three competitions evenly across three new divisions with some teams earning the right to play for the premiership in the first division.
The clubs that made up first division were opposed to the new structure and sought the opportunity to form a breakaway competition affiliated directly with the NSWRFU. This resulted in the formation of a 10 club competition called the NSW Championship, while the remaining lower division clubs remained with the SRU Championship. Both competitions ran during the 1987 and 1988 seasons.
For the 1989 season, the NSW Championship clubs returned to the SRU and the Shute Shield.
In 1992, the NSW Rugby Union again took over the administration of the Shute Shield competition.
From 2002 through 2006 the Toohey's New Cup was run to fill the void between Grade Rugby and Super Rugby in Australia. This became the Sydney Premiership competition, with the Shute Shield becoming the First Grade pre-season competition. However, in 2004 the Shute Shield was awarded to the Second Grade competition.
In 2007 the Toohey's New Cup was merged into the Shute Shield to become the Toohey's New Shute Shield when an attempt at an Australian wide domestic rugby competition, the Australian Rugby Championship, was started. The Australian Rugby Championship only lasted the one season.
|Eastern Suburbs||Beasties||Rose Bay (Eastern Suburbs)||1900||9||1969||[a]|
|Eastwood||Woodies||Marsfield (Hills District)||1947||6||2015||[b]|
|Gordon||Highlanders, Stags||Chatswood (Northern Suburbs)||1936||9||2020||[c]|
|Manly||Marlins||Manly (North Shore)||1906||7||1997||[d]|
|Northern Suburbs||Shoremen, Norths||North Sydney (Northern Suburbs)||1900||7||2016||[e]|
|Western Sydney Two Blues||Two Blues||Merrylands (Parramatta)||1934||3||1986||[f]|
|Randwick||Galloping Greens||Coogee (Eastern Suburbs)||1914||32||2004||[g]|
|Southern Districts||Rebels, Souths||Sylvania Waters (Sutherland Shire)||1989||0||[h]|
|Sydney University||Students||Camperdown (Inner West)||1900||41||2019||[i]|
|Warringah||Rats||Warriewood (Northern Beaches)||1971||1||2017||[j]|
|West Harbour||Pirates||Concord (Inner West)||1900||2||1929||[k]|
|Hunter||Wildfires||Newcastle (Hunter Region)[m]||1995||0||[n]|
Below is a list of some of the clubs that have once competed in the Sydney rugby premiership.
|Club||Location||First Season||Last Season||Premierships||Notes|
|Balmain||Balmain||1874||1895||1||* Won premiership (voted as premier club) in 1875. Currently playing in the NSWSRU First Division competition.|
|Waratah||1874||1||* Won premiership (voted as premier club) in 1874 (first Sydney rugby premiers). Were runners-up in 1876 and 1878.|
|Wallaroo||North Sydney||1874||1899||7||* Won 7 premierships in period from 1876-1899, including the last premiership (1899) before the Sydney rugby premiership became a district competition in 1900. Also won 1 RAS Shield and 1 SCG Trophy. Combined with Pirates to form North Sydney (now Northern Suburbs) as a district club to enter the Sydney rugby premiership in 1900.|
|Redfern||Redfern||1883||1886||1||* Won premiership (undefeated) in 1883|
|Burwood||Burwood||1883||1888||1||* Won premiership in 1884|
|Gordon||Gordon||1886||1887||1||* Won premiership in 1886. Not linked to Gordon club that entered Sydney rugby premiership in 1936 and still exists today.|
|Pirates||North Sydney||1893||1899||1||* Won premiership in 1898, were runners-up in 1897, and won 3 RAS Shields from 1897-1899. Combined with Wallaroo to form North Sydney (now Northern Suburbs) as a district club to enter the Sydney rugby premiership in 1900.|
|Balmain (District)||Balmain||1900||1914||0||* Merged with Glebe to form Glebe-Balmain in 1919.|
|Glebe||Glebe||1900||1914||7||* Won 7 premierships from 1900-1914. Merged with Balmain to form Glebe-Balmain in 1919.|
|Newtown||Newtown||1900||1921||3||* Won premierships in 1908 and 1910-11. Played every season in the Sydney rugby premiership from 1900-1921, except for 1919, when a team called Cambridge, based in Newtown, played instead.|
|South Sydney||Redfern||1900||1914||1||* Won premiership in 1905.|
|Sydney District||Sydney||1905||1910||0||* Runners-up in 1906.|
|St George||St George||1906||1988||1||* Formed in 1906 and played in Sydney premiership from 1906-1914 and then again from 1928 onwards, except for when relegated to 2nd division in 1979 and 1985. Merged with Port Hacking to form Southern Districts before 1989 season.|
|Drummoyne||Drummoyne||1919||1994||2||* Originally Glebe-Balmain and won 1 premiership under that name. Renamed in 1931 as Drummoyne and won 1 premiership under that name. Played every season in the Sydney rugby premiership from 1919-1978, until relegated to 2nd division, where it played from 1979-1990. Promoted to 1st division in 1991 and played in the premiership from 1991-1994, playing in 1994 as UTS-Drummoyne. Moved to NSWSRU in 1995 and remained there since, currently playing in the NSWSRU First Division competition.|
|University of NSW||Kensington||1966||1979||0||* Formed in 1949 and joined the Sydney Sub-Districts competition (now the NSWSRU competition) in 1951. Joined the Sydney premiership 2nd division in 1963 and played in that division from 1963-65. Promoted to 1st division in 1966 and played in that division from 1966-1979. Relegated to 2nd division in 1980 and played in that division from 1980-1992, when 2nd division ended. Moved to NSWSRU in 1993 and remained there since, currently playing in the NSWSRU Second Division competition.|
|Port Hacking||The Shire||1971||1985||0||* Formed in 1957 as North Cronulla SLSC rugby club. Joined 2nd division when it started in 1962 and played there from 1962-1970, then promoted to 1st division in 1971. Played in 1st division from 1971-1978, then relegated to 2nd division in 1979 and played in that division from 1979-1982. Promoted to 1st division in 1983 and played in that division from 1983-1985. Relegated in 1986 and played in 2nd division from 1986-1988. Merged with St George to form Southern Districts before 1989 season.|
|Hornsby||Hornsby||1976||1981||0||* Established in 1962 when it joined the newly created 2nd division. Promoted to 1st division in 1976, and remained there until relegated to 2nd division after 1978. Promoted back to 1st division for 1981 season, but relegated after that season. Remained in 2nd division until it was dissolved after 1992, although Hornsby unsuccessfully took legal action against the Sydney Rugby Union before the 1992 season seeking promotion at Drummoyne's expense. After the 1992 season, Drummoyne beat Hornsby in playoffs involving all grade teams and a colts' team to remain in 1st division. Hornsby joined the NSWSRU competition in 1993 and remained there until it left to join the Central Coast RU competition in 2015.|
|Macquarie University||Macquarie Park||1976||1978||0||* Established in 1967 and played in the Sub-Districts competition until the club joined 2nd division in 1971, before being promoted to 1st division in 1976. Played in 1st division until relegated to 2nd division after 1978. Played in 2nd division in 1979 but then relegated to 3rd division for the 1980 season, and stayed there until that division was dissolved after 1986. Macquarie Uni then joined the NSWSRU competition in 1987, where it remains, now in the lower divisions.|
|Newcastle||Newcastle||1995||1999||0||* Played in Sydney rugby premiership as 'Newcastle Wildfires'.|
|Canberra||Canberra||1995||2005||0||* Played in Sydney rugby premiership as Canberra Kookaburras from 1995-1998 and Canberra Vikings from 1999-2000 and 2004-2005. Grand finalists in 1995. Didn't play in Sydney premiership in 2001-2003, when they instead played in and won the Brisbane club premiership all 3 years. Played in the National Rugby Championship from 2014-2019.|
These clubs also played in the Sydney premiership (1st division after 1962) in the period after 1900.
Cambridge (1919), YMCA (1919, 1923-1929), Mosman (1920), GPS Old Boys (1921-1924), Petersham (1922), Police (1929), Illawarra (2007).
From 1957 until 2014, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation had broadcast the Match of the Day from the Shute Shield competition in NSW/ACT every Saturday afternoon and replayed nationally on Tuesday mornings. The ABC ended its 57-year partnership with the competition at the completion of the 2014 season, following the Australian Government's decision to cut funding to the national broadcaster.
On 17 March 2015, Sydney Rugby formally announced that the Seven Network would become the new free-to-air Match of the Day broadcasters of the Shute Shield in NSW, commencing on 21 March on 7TWO showing a match between Eastern Suburbs and Gordon. The Prime Network broadcasts to regional areas of NSW. This agreement has since been renewed, with the current contract running through the 2024 season.
On November 9 2020, Nine Network confirmed their broadcast deal with Rugby Australia, giving them the rights to the Shute Shield. Beginning in 2021, 4 games a season will be televised live on one of Nine's free-to-air channels. The remainder of the games will be broadcast live on streaming service Stan.
The competition format currently involves an 18-week round-robin competition which is followed by a three-week play-off series culminating in a grand final. The playoffs are contested by the top six placed teams following the round-robin. The first week of the play-offs sees 1st play 6th, 2nd play 5th and 3rd play 4th. The lowest two losers are eliminated and the three winners plus the highest ranked loser proceed to week 2 of the play-offs. The two winners from week 2 proceed to the Grand Final in week 3.
|Season||Final||Minor Premiers||RAS Shield||SCG Trophy|
|1883||Redfern||No final||Sydney University|
|1884||Burwood||No final||Sydney University|
|1885||Sydney University||No final||Wallaroo|
|1886||Gordon||No final||Sydney University|
|1887||Sydney University||12-0||Arfoma||Sydney University|
|1888||Sydney University||No final||Arfoma|
|1889||Sydney University||No final||Strathfield|
|1890||Sydney University||31-6||Strathfield||Sydney University||Sydney University|
|1891||Sydney University||28-8||Zealandia||Sydney University||Sydney University|
|1893||Sydney University||3-0||Randwick||Sydney University||Sydney University||Sydney University|
|1895||Randwick||13-8 (Randwick bt Wallaroo in RAS final)||Sydney University||Randwick||Randwick||Sydney University|
|1896||Randwick||9-0 (Wentworth bt Wallaroo in RAS final)||Wentworth||Randwick||Wentworth||Randwick|
|1899||Wallaroo||10-0 (Pirates bt Wallaroo in RAS final)||Randwick||Wallaroo||Pirates||Wallaroo|
|1900||Glebe||No final||Sydney University||Glebe|
|No final||Sydney University|
|1902||Western Suburbs||No final||Sydney University||Western Suburbs|
|1903||Eastern Suburbs||No final||Glebe||Eastern Suburbs|
|1904||Sydney University||No final||North Sydney||Sydney University|
|1905||South Sydney||No final||Glebe||South Sydney|
|1906||Glebe||No final||Sydney District||Glebe|
|1908||Newtown||17-0||Sydney University||Sydney University|
|1910||Newtown||No final||South Sydney||Newtown|
|1911||Newtown||27-10||Sydney University||Sydney University|
|1912||Glebe||6-5||Western Suburbs||Sydney University|
|1913||Eastern Suburbs||No final||Glebe||Eastern Suburbs|
|1914||Glebe||No final||South Sydney||Glebe|
|1919||Sydney University||No final||Glebe-Balmain||Sydney University|
|1920||Sydney University||No final||Eastern Suburbs||Sydney University|
|1924||Sydney University||18-0||Western Suburbs|
|1925||Glebe-Balmain||No final||Western Suburbs||Glebe-Balmain|
|1927||Sydney University||No final||YMCA Sydney||Sydney University|
|1928||Sydney University||38-11||YMCA Sydney|
|1929||Western Suburbs||18-9||Northern Suburbs||Northern Suburbs|
|1937||Sydney University||14-3||Western Suburbs|
|1941||Eastern Suburbs||9-6||Sydney University|
|1942||Manly||22-6||Sydney University||Sydney University|
|1944||Eastern Suburbs||7-3||Sydney University||Randwick|
|1951||Sydney University||22-16||Eastern Suburbs||Sydney University|
|1953||Sydney University||29-6||Eastern Suburbs||Eastern Suburbs|
|1954||Sydney University||22-17||St. George||St. George|
|1960||Northern Suburbs||21-3||Manly||Northern Suburbs|
|1963||Northern Suburbs||21-14||Sydney University||Randwick|
|1964||Northern Suburbs||27-13||Sydney University|
|1965||Randwick||26-5||Northern Suburbs||Sydney University|
|1968||Sydney University||22-6||Manly||Sydney University|
|1969||Eastern Suburbs||16-12||Gordon||Eastern Suburbs|
|1970||Sydney University||24-14||Eastern Suburbs||Eastern Suburbs|
|1972||Sydney University||10-6||Gordon||Sydney University|
|1973||Randwick||15-12||Western Suburbs||Western Suburbs|
|1999||Eastwood||34-17||Sydney University||Sydney University|
|2000||Randwick||36-33||Sydney University||Eastern Suburbs|
|2001||Sydney University||27-20||Eastwood||Northern Suburbs|
|2005||Sydney University||41-5||Eastwood||Sydney University|
|2007||Sydney University||34-11||Eastern Suburbs||Sydney University|
|2008||Sydney University||45-20||Randwick||Sydney University|
|2009||Sydney University||24-19||Randwick||Sydney University|
|2012||Sydney University||15-14||Southern Districts||Eastwood|
|2016||Northern Suburbs||28-15||Sydney University||Sydney University|
|2018||Sydney University||45-12||Warringah||Sydney University|
|2019||Sydney University||21-16||Warringah||Sydney University|
|1981||Neale Murphy||Western Suburbs|
|1982||Geoff Richards||Eastern Suburbs|
|1983||Peter Lucas||St. George|
|1984||Richard Moriarty||Western Suburbs|
|1986||Peter Lucas||St. George|
|1986||David Niu||St. George|
|1995||Nick Harvey||Northern Suburbs|
|1996||Dirk Williams||Eastern Suburbs|
|1998||Mark Catchpole||Sydney University|
|1999||Keith Gleeson||Northern Suburbs|
|2001||Des Tuiavi'i||West Harbour|
|2007||Gavin DeBartolo||Eastern Suburbs|
|2009||Andrew Smith||Northern Suburbs|
|2010||Brendan McKibbin||Eastern Suburbs|
|2011||Dave Harvey||Northern Suburbs|
|2016||Will Miller||Northern Suburbs|
|2017||Tayler Adams||West Harbour|
|2018||Adrian Musico||Two Blues|
|1950||Alan Cameron||St. George|
|1951||R. Jacobs||Sydney University|
|1953||Boyd Blackburn||Northern Suburbs|
|1954||Alan Cameron||St. George|
|1956||David Emanuel||Eastern Suburbs|
|1962||Alan Cameron||St. George|
|1962||Terry Casey||St. George|
|1966||Bruce Battishall||St. George|
|1968||Peter Crittle||Eastern Suburbs|
|1976||Ken Bousfield||Western Suburbs|
|1977||Rupert Rosenblum||Sydney University|
|1978||Geoff Richards||Eastern Suburbs|
|1981||Peter Lucas||St. George|
|1982||Geoff Richards||Eastern Suburbs|
|1984||Richard Moriarty||Western Suburbs|
|1985||Neale Murphy||Western Suburbs|
|1986||Peter Lucas||St. George|
|1987||Fetaiaki Langi||Western Suburbs|