Dapto Reunion

Five Test players were at Dapto Leagues Club for their Reunion on Friday night 8 July.

These five were John Peard (8 Tests), Ted Goodwin (4 Tests), Paul McGregor (4 Tests), Les Hanigan (2 Tests) and John Simon (1 Test). Over 250 people were present to mark the 50 year aniversary of Dapto’s first ever Illawarra first grade Premiership. At the Wollongong Showground on 25 September 1966, Dapto 13 (Frank Davis try; Russel Fredericks 5 goals) beat Collegians 6.

 The Dapto starting team was Russel Fredericks, Noel Fewings, Lionel Simmons, Joe Sikora, Doug Massey, Jim Stephenson, Frank Davis, Garry MacDougall (Captain/Coach), Noel Morris, Herman Sikora, Barry McKenzie, Jock Delaney, Ron Jaundrill. The reserves were Kevin Holland and Ron Davies.

The only try of the match was scored by Frank Davis just two minutes from the end of the match. Fullback Russel Fredericks landed five of his six attempts at goal. Two years later, Fredericks captained/coached Gerringong to the 1968 South Coast Premiership and the next year, 1969, was the Gerringong captain/coach when a 17 year centre named Michael Cronin made his first grade debut for his home town club. Kevin Holland, who replaced Barry McKenzie at halftime of the Grand Final, had an outstanding second half. Well known League identity and former Titans Chairman, Paul Broughton, assisted Garry MacDougall with the coaching duties towards the end of the season.

Garry MacDougall was beginning his third season with Dapto when he was appointed captain/coach for 1966. He had played a few first grade matches with St. George before moving south and in 1967 signed with Cronulla where he played some more first grade football.

Prop, Ron Jaundrill, was an Englishman who had played in the St. Helens top team, before migrating to Australia. Hooker, Jock Delaney, was a long term Corrimal man, who played for Balmain in 1960.

Nine of the 15 man squad from 1966, attended the reunion. Jock Delaney, Frank Davis and Herman Sikora have passed away, Ron Jaundrill is back living in England, Joe Sikora was overseas on a pre-arranged holiday, while Jim Stephenson was ill.

Lionel Simmons, who had partnered the great Reg Gasnier in the St. George centres for some matches in 1964, went on to have a great career in Illawarra football. He played for Southern Division and Illawarra on many occasions, including two matches against Great Britain and one against New Zealand. He also captained/coached Dapto to the 1968 Illawarra first grade titles as well as representing NSW Country each year from 1965 to 1970, during which time he toured New Zealand with Country twice, the second time as captain.

Many other Dapto stars of the past and present  enjoyed the dinner. These Included Warwick Shirlaw (NSW Country rep and four time Dapto Premiership winner), Bob Smithies (1969 Grand Final winner with Balmain, Hull KR and six time Dapto Premiership winner) and Allan Fitzgibbon (NSW rep, 1969 Grand Final winner with Balmain, four time Dapto Premiership winner as captain/coach, Illawarra Steelers and Cronulla coach) and current player, Michael Murphy, who has represented Country and Illawarra.

Australian and NSW State of Origin centre twice Dapto Premiership winner and now St. George/Illawarra coach, Paul McGregor, did an excellent job interviewing several of the former stars on stage, while John Peard also entertained during the evening.  The organisers of the night were Allan Fitzgibbon, Gary Tozer and Darrell Simmons and they deserve congratulations for the successful, happy and friendly night. As this season nears the semi finals, Dapto lead the competition in first and second grades, as well as the club championship.

Last Saturday, they defeated Collegians by 38-24 in first grade. Beau Henry has scored 107 points this year from seven tries, 38 goals and three field goals, while winger Matt Johnstone has collected 11 tries and fullback, Rob Buaserau has picked up nine.

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