HEAD TO HEAD | Balmain Tigers

62 matches [1967-1996; 1998-1999]

22 wins, 37 losses, 3 draw

Stats: themightypanthers.com/results_headtohead_balmain.htm

The Balmain Tigers were a foundation team that had played in the first Sydney rugby league premiership season of 1908, and had been in the competition for nearly 60 years when the Panthers arrived in 1967.

Their first meeting was at Leichhardt Oval in the middle of May 1967, with the Tigers winning 15-5.

Penrith would finally strike for its first victory in their fourth meeting, with an 18-17 victory at Penrith Park late in the 1968 season.

To the end of the 1973, the head to head ledger was quite even, with the Balmain having a slight edge with 8 wins from 14 matches.

From then on, Balmain should start further extending their advantage, with Penrith only winning 6 from the next 28 meetings to the end of 1987, with three draws included – at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1976, Penrith Park in 1978 and Leichhardt Oval in 1982.

Across the 1988 and 1989 seasons, the two teams would meet a total of 6 times.

In 1988, the Panthers drew first blood with an 18-8 win at Penrith Park, but then Balmain won a tight 16-14 encounter at Leichhardt Oval in the second last round. A loss in the final round to Manly had forced the Panthers into a mid week play-off for fifth spot with the Tigers at Parramatta Stadium.

In 1989, once again the honours were evenly split in the regular season, with the Panthers winning 28-8 at Penrith Park and the Tigers winning comfortably at Leichhardt Oval in the final round. The following week, the two teams would meet again, this time in the qualifying final – although the Panthers were the higher ranked team, the Tigers won 24-12. The Panthers would live to fight another day, but lose the following week to Canberra, whilst Balmain would qualify for what would have been their last grand final appearance.

The nineties started with a tight 9-4 loss at Leichhardt Oval, but the Panthers would win the next 6 straight through to 1994. This included a 41-12 hiding at Penrith Stadium late in the 1991 season (which would remain the Panthers biggest win over the Tigers), and also a 24-0 shut out at the WACA Ground in Perth in 1994.

Come 1995, the Tigers would rename themselves the Sydney Tigers and relocate further west to Parramatta Stadium. The Tigers would record tight victories at their new home that year and then at Penrith Stadium in 1996.

In 1997, Balmain participated in the ARL whilst Penrith were in the rebel Super League.

With the formation of the National Rugby League in 1998, Balmain made the initial cut and were one of the 20 teams in the premiership. Penrith recorded a comfortable 32-18 victory over Balmain at Penrith Stadium in their solitary meeting that year.

With a 14 team competition for the 2000 season imminent, the Tigers had met some key criteria and could have stood alone, however, there were concerns about whether they could compete financially with the stronger clubs, so entered into a merger with Western Suburbs to form the Wests Tigers in July 1999. Only about a month before, the two teams played each other for the last time, with the Tigers winning 24-16.

Balmain today competes in the junior competitions, however, no longer have representation in the current Intrust Super Premiership, with the Magpies being the Wests Tigers’ feeder club. However, the Wests Tigers still play a number of home matches at their spiritual home of Leichhardt Oval.

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