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Dunedoo Swans, the home club of former St George captain and True Blue Brian Johnston, and Balmain contemporary of Immortal Arthur Beetson, George Piper, celebrates its 100th anniversary this weekend.

It’s a small club with a proud history dating back to the first Rugby League game in 1923 between Dunedoo and Coolah. The Swans actually formed in 1910 but they first played rugby union.

And there’s a reason the land-locked club in central-southern NSW has a water bird as its mascot.

“There’s a lagoon just outside of town and when it’s got water in it, there’s plenty of swans around,” said Dunedoo executive committee member Matt Guan.

The Dunedoo Central School hall will come alive on Saturday night (1 July) when the Centenary dinner is held after the Swans and Gulgong Terriers do battle in first grade.

“Unfortunately Brian (Johnston) is overseas and can’t be there, which is a shame as he regularly comes back and runs the training runs for our girls and boys teams,” Guan said.

“He understands, like the rest of us, that for country towns sport is an essential part of the community.

“We’ve won a few junior and reserve grade grand finals but our first grade side didn’t win the competition until 1967, and again in 2014 and 2020.

“That 2014 final was one of the biggest gate takings in what’s now Castlereagh League. But the coach had to leave the town with his job and the boys didn’t form in 2015, so we started the girls competition with League Tag.

“And if we didn’t have that girls side the club wouldn’t have survived,” Guan said.

“They kept things going, added a new dimension and identity to the Swans. They made the finals in 2015 and I began coaching them, and we got into the grand final in 2017 and won it in 2020 (against Baradine).

“By that time the first grade boys were back and they also won the competition in 2020 (against Gilgandra).

“All up it proves how important football teams are to the town, whether you’re winning or losing.

“There’s a lot of elderly residents go down to the games for a yarn and a day out as they watch their beloved Swans,” Guan said.

“We get very good support from our locals, both at home and away games.”

The schedule for Saturday starts with women’s League Tag at 12pm, the official opening of a new amenities block at 1.15pm, an Old Boys game at 1.30pm, then the seniors at 2pm against Gulgong.

The Centenary dinner begins at 6pm.

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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