HEAD TO HEAD | Western Suburbs Magpies

57 matches [1967-1996; 1998-1999]

25 wins, 31 losses, 1 draw

Stats: themightypanthers.com/results_headtohead_westernsuburbs.htm

The Western Suburbs Magpies were one of the original foundation teams that played in the first premiership season of 1908. As the name suggested, they represented the western part of Sydney, and by the time the Panthers had made their Sydney premiership debut in 1967 were based out of Lidcombe Oval, having recently moved from Pratten Park in nearby Ashfield.

The first meeting was in late April at Penrith Park – Wests won 16-14, with the difference being two field goals after both teams had scored two tries and kicked three goals.

The Magpies would win the first four meetings, with Penrith finally breaking through in their first meeting of the 1969 season at Lidcombe Oval. The Panthers won 14-8 in a contest in which the visitors were judged to be “enterprising in attack and tackled extremely well” according to the match report from the Sydney Morning Herald.

By the end of the 1975 season, the Panthers had won 8 of the 18 meetings – the biggest of these was a 30-9 meeting at Lidcombe Oval in 1972, which at the time was the club’s biggest ever win.

The 18-all draw at Penrith Park in the early rounds of the 1976 season (where a Penrith try with only 30 seconds remaining snatched the draw) would be the start of a 15 match run where Penrith would only win once (a 14-2 win at Lidcombe Oval in 1977), and include 12 straight losses to the end of the 1983 season.

By then, Wests were struggling to survive, and had actually been excluded from the premiership at the end of the 1983 season, alongside fellow foundation club Newtown, but would later receive a reprieve and were able to participate in the 1984 season. A few years later they would relocate to Campbelltown, on the south western fringes of Sydney.

Whilst the Magpies would battle on for the remainder of the decade, the Panthers were in part able to turn the tables, winning 9 of the matches to the end of the decade – a number of these wins were by large margins, including a 42-16 victory at Pratten Park and a 37-0 drubbing at Orana Park in 1989 – mostly known as the debut match of Brad Fittler for the Panthers.

Heading into the 1990s, the two teams would be more evenly matched in the ledger, with Penrith having the slight edge with 5 wins from 9 meetings between 1990 and 1996.

In 1997, both teams participated in the separate competitions, with the Magpies playing in the ARL and the Panthers in the Super League.

Upon the reunification in 1998, both teams participated in the first season of the National Rugby League.

By 1999, however, the Magpies were struggling to remain competitive, being 1998 wooden spooners and when they visited Penrith Stadium in the third round, they copped a 60-6 annhilation at the hand of the Panthers, running 11 tries past them.

However, two months later the two teams would meet for one final time, with Wests grinding out a well deserved 7-6 victory at Parramatta Stadium.

Soon after, with the realisation that they could not survive as a standalone club ahead of a planned 14 team competition in 2000, they agreed to a merger with yet another fellow foundation club Balmain Tigers to form the Wests Tigers.

The Magpies for a time fielded a standalone team in then called First Division (which evolved into the now Intrust Super Premiership) from 2000 to 2012, as well as fielding teams in the junior competitions, before re-emerging in 2018 as the solitary feeder team to the Wests Tigers in this competition.

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