Vale Ron Rowles

Vale Ron Rowles – Born 12 February 1928, Passed Away 3 June 2017.

Former Manly winger, Ron Rowles passed away on Saturday 3 June, aged 89.

Born in Wollongong, Ron was an outstanding schoolboy athlete and footballer. Completing his Intermediate Certificate in 1942 at the local Christian Brothers College, Ron won several NSW athletic titles for sprinting during his schooldays.

After winning under 16 and under 17 Illawarra Premierships with the CBC, he was selected in the club’s first grade at just 17. He first top grade game was at the Wollongong Showground against Dapto on Sunday 29 April 1945. In this first season in first grade, Ron also represented Illawarra. In five seasons of first grade with CBC, he played around 60 games and scored over 500 points.

In 1947, he was the highest point scorer in Illawarra Rugby League with 173 and also top tryscorer with 27. In each of these five seasons, Ron also represented Illawarra and Group 7, as well as playing four games with NSW Country Firsts.

In 1948 and 1949, he played against City, while in 1948 he scored a try in Country’s game against New Zealand at Wollongong and in 1949, collected two tries in Country’s 18-6 win over Queensland at Wollongong Showground.

Signed by Manly Warringah Sea Eagles for the 1950 season, Ron played 83 first grade matches in his five seasons with the club, including the Sea Eagles first Grand Final in 1951.

He was the first Manly player to top 100 points in a season and was the leading point scorer in Sydney Rugby League in four successive seasons. These were 1951 (199 points), 1952 (178), 1953 (152) and 1954 (223).

He finished with 842 points for Manly and on 24 July 1954 at Lottoland (then Brookvale Oval), he scored four tries and nine goals for a total of 30 points in Manly’s 45-7 win over Canterbury.

Ron married his Wollongong girlfriend, Peggy, at Wollongong on July 1951 and their first child, Peter, was born in November 1952. Peter played two Rugby Union Tests with the Wallabies (1972-1973) and changed to rugby league in 1976 with Thirroul, then moved to Sydney to join Western Suburbs in 1977, and Newtown. Altogether, Peter played a total of 54 first grade games, scoring 332 points.

Ron and Peggy have three other children and they are Bruce, Julie and Jenny. They also have 13 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Ron’s funeral will be held this Friday 9 June at St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, 36 Harbour Street Wollongong at 10am. Afterwards is at Collegians Leagues Club, 3A Charlotte Street Wollongong.

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