History of Toowoomba Rugby League

Rugby league was first played in Toowoomba in 1908 when New Zealand Maori team played a Queensland team with Queenslanders winning 11-9. 

According to Max Howell in his book The Centenary of the Greatest Game Under the Sun “The game, which was the first played by an international team outside of Brisbane, also started a proud tradition for Toowoomba… 

Since then the Downs city has been a graveyard for many touring teams.”  Teams that fell foul of the Clydesdales included the great South Sydney teams of the 1920s and the Great Britain touring teams in 1979 and 1984.

The very first club rugby league fixture took place on 24 March 1913 when East Toowoomba played West Toowoomba in Queen’s Park. 

A third local team, Railways, made up the local Toowoomba competition in its inaugural year. 

Valleys entered the competition in 1914 and claimed their very first premiership. 

Other teams competing in 1914 were Railways and West End. 

Of course, 1914 also saw the start of World War I and rugby league was essentially put on hold until hostilities ceased in 1918.

The Toowoomba Rugby League (TRL) was formed in 1919 and commenced the inaugural senior rugby league competition in Toowoomba in the same year.

1919 is recognised as the official start of because it has been uninterrupted since then and includes Brothers and Valleys as foundation clubs of the Toowoomba Rugby League. 

Below are details of when new clubs entered the competition. 

No details of when some clubs may have left the competition are provided.

1919Valleys - Brothers (All Whites) - Boomerangs
1920Valleys - Brothers - Boomerangs - Returned Soldiers (Diggers)
1922Newtown - Rangers
1926South End (renamed Southern Suburbs in 1951)
1939-1945Southern Cross - Military Hospital - Bulldogs - Champions - Reds - Gunners - Spotters - Highfields - Swans - Mt Lofty Swifts - Devils Own - RAAF Oakey - RAAF Jondaryan - RAAF Leyburn - Colts
1967Pittsworth - Millmerran - Oakey - Wattles
1986Warwick - Stanthorpe - Gatton
1996Goondiwindi - Dalby
1999Broncos - Colts (1 season only)
2003Broncos - Colts (1 season only)

World War II provided a massive boost to the competitions with an influx of army base teams that were stationed locally.

The Toowoomba Rugby League has a strong and rich history in the game of rugby league and the Galloping Clydesdales name is well known throughout the rugby league world.  It has been the premier Queensland regional rugby league area/stronghold for decades and at one stage during its high-profile history, is was the centre of rugby league in Australia.

The area and competition have produced a multitude of players that have represented the Toowoomba Clydesdales, their State and country.  From this playing group, this region has produced some of the best rugby league talent and the most revered characters throughout history.

The Toowoomba Rugby League runs competitions in 5 grades – First Grade, Reserve Grade, Second Division, Under 18 and Open Women – and has 15 affiliated clubs from a vast geographical area.  The Clubs in 2020 are Brothers, Dalby, Gatton, Goondiwindi, Highfields, Newtown, Oakey, Pittsworth, South Burnett (Under 18s and Open Women), Southern Suburbs, Stanthorpe (Second Division only), Texas (Second Division only), Valleys, Warwick and Wattles.

The Toowoomba Rugby League is governed by a well credentialled and committed Board of Directors who possess a wealth of experience both inside and outside the game.  The 9-member Board is responsible for plotting the strategic direction of the game and for the administration of the competition.  A group of delegates, with representation from all affiliated clubs, acts as an advisory body on the strategic direction of the Toowoomba Rugby League.  Delegates’ meetings also provide an important opportunity for information exchange and networking.

Team of the Century

1 Frank Drake All Whites
2 Des McGovern All Whites
3 Tom Gorman Past Brothers
4 John “Cracker” McDonald Valleys
5 Michael Hancock Stanthorpe
6 Bobby Banks Newtown
7 Johnathan Thurston All Whites
8 Herb Steinohrt Valleys
9 Dan Dempsey
10 Peter “Mick” Madsen All Whites
11 Steve Price Newtown
12 Duncan Hall
13 Elton Rasmussen All Whites
14 Ian “Ripper” Doyle All Whites
15 Vic Armbruster Valleys
16 Shane Webcke Wattles
17 John Gleeson All Whites
18 Pat “Cocky” McMahon Souths/All Whites
Coach 1 Duncan Thompson
Coach 2 Wayne Bennett All Whites


YearA GradeReserve GradeSecond DivisionUnder 19Under 18Under 17Under 16Women
1919 Past Brothers
1920 Valleys
1921 Past Brothers
1922 Valleys
1923 Past Brothers
1924 Valleys
1925 Valleys
1926 Valleys
1927 Valleys
1928 Past Brothers
1929 Valleys
YearA GradeReserve GradeSecond DivisionUnder 19Under 18Under 17Under 16Women
1930 Past Brothers
1931 Valleys
1932 Valleys
1933 Newtown
1934 Valleys
1935 Past Brothers
1936 Past Brothers
1937 Valleys
1938 Valleys
1939 Valleys
YearA GradeReserve GradeSecond DivisionUnder 19Under 18Under 17Under 16Women
1940 Carlton
1941 Valleys
1942 Valleys
1943 All Whites
1944 All Whites
1945 All Whites
1946 Valleys
1947 Valleys
1948 All Whites
1949 All Whites
YearA GradeReserve GradeSecond DivisionUnder 19Under 18Under 17Under 16Women
1950 All Whites
1951 Souths
1952 Valleys All Whites
1953 All WhitesAll WhitesAll Whites
1954 All WhitesAll Whites
1955 All WhitesAll Whites
1956 All Whites
1957 Souths
1958 Newtown
1959 All Whites
YearA GradeReserve GradeSecond DivisionUnder 19Under 18Under 17Under 16Women
1960 All WhitesAll Whites
1961 Souths
1962 All Whites
1963 Valleys
1964 ValleysAll Whites
1965 ValleysAll Whites
1966 ValleysAll WhitesAll WhitesAll Whites
1967 PittsworthAll WhitesAll Whites
1968 Valleys
1969 Valleys
YearA GradeReserve GradeSecond DivisionUnder 19Under 18Under 17Under 16Women
1970 WattlesAll WhitesAll Whites
1971 ValleysAll WhitesAll Whites
1972 ValleysAll Whites
1973 NewtownAll Whites
1974 Pittsworth
1975 OakeyAll Whites
1976 Pittsworth
1977 Oakey
1978 Souths
1979 OakeyAll WhitesAll Whites
YearA GradeReserve GradeSecond DivisionUnder 19Under 18Under 17Under 16Women
1980 OakeyAll Whites
1981 MillmerranAll WhitesSouths
1982 Millmerran
1983 NewtownSouths
1984 ValleysSouthsAll Whites
1985 Newtown
1986 PittsworthAll Whites
1987 WarwickGatton
1988 WarwickAll Whites
1989 GattonAll Whites
YearA GradeReserve GradeSecond DivisionUnder 19Under 18Under 17Under 16Women
1990 All WhitesAll Whites
1991 All WhitesAll Whites
1992 ValleysAll Whites
1993 All Whites
1994 OakeyAll Whites
1995 All Whites
1996 SouthsSouthsSouthsSouths
1997 Wattles
1998 Oakey
1999 OakeyAll WhitesAll Whites
YearA GradeReserve GradeSecond DivisionUnder 19Under 18Under 17Under 16Women
2000 All Whites
2001 All Whites
2002 Newtown
2003 BroncosColts
2004 Pittsworth
2005 Goondiwindi
2006 ValleysAll Whites
2007 Valleys
2008 Valleys
2009 Valleys
YearA GradeReserve GradeSecond DivisionUnder 19Under 18Under 17Under 16Women
2010 Valleys
2011 Valleys
2012 Brothers
2013 Gatton
2014 Wattles
2015 Wattles
2016 Pittsworth
2017 Dalby
2018 ValleysSouths
2019 ValleysDalby
YearA GradeReserve GradeSecond DivisionUnder 19Under 18Under 17Under 16Women

Trail Blazers

Bob MeibuschThe Founder of the TRL
Sam ParkerThe first TRL player to represent Queensland
Edwin Stanley BrownThe first TRL player to represent Australia
Kevin “Dick” RoseThe first indigenous captain of the Clydesdales
Melissa “Milly” EdwardsThe first female player to represent Queensland and Australia


Duncan Thompson
Tom Gorman
Duncan Hall
John McDonald

Hall of Fame

Era Name Club
1920s Herb Steinohrt Valleys
1930s Peter “Mick” Madsen All Whites
1940s Pat McMahon Souths/All Whites
1950s Des McGovern All Whites
1960s John Gleeson All Whites
1970s Greg Platz Wattles
1980s Rohan Hancock Wattles
1990s Shane Webcke Wattles
2000s Steve Price Newtown
2010s Johnathan Thurston All Whites

Life Members

G.W. Allen (Dec.)
Robert Bateman
Len Bentley (Dec.)
Clive Berghofer AM
H. Boshammer (Dec.)
Kevin Boshammer (Dec.)
E.S. Brown (Dec.)
Percy Brown (Dec.)
R. (Cam) Brown (Dec.)
D. Byrne (Dec.)
Jack Cairns (Dec.)
A. Cameron (Dec.)
Vince Carrol (Dec.)
Pat Coonan (Dec.)
Jack Currey (Dec.)
Noel Davis
Joe Doyle (Dec.)
Ian Doyle (Dec.)
Keith Doyle (Dec.)
Fred Gilbert (Dec.)
R. Hale (Dec.)
Barry Hennessy
K. Jefferies (Dec.)
V. Kimmins (Dec.)
J. Lee (Dec.)
Mark Liesch
Alan Loxley (Dec.)
Mick Madsen (Dec.)
N.G. Martin (Dec.)
J. McConachie (Dec.)
John McDonald AM
Des McGovern (Dec.)
A. Miebusch (Dec.)
Graham Mott
Neale Obst
Patrick O’Shea (Dec.)
Mark Philipson
William Pollard (Dec.)
R. Reardon (Dec.)
W. Renwick (Dec.)
T. Roberts (Dec.)
F. Russell (Dec.)
J. Scanlan (Dec.)
P. Schwilk (Dec.)
Gordon Sharp (Dec.)
Tom Smaldon
Gunner Smith (Dec.)
W.R. Smith (Dec.)
Judith Sparksman
J. Steele (Dec.)
Herb Steinohrt (Dec.)
Gary Sutton
Neven Tate
L. Taylor (Dec.)
Duncan Thompson (Dec.)
V. Vercoe (Dec.)
F. Weidman (Dec.)
Eric Williams
L.A. Wood (Dec.)