VALE – DENNIS WARD
Dennis Ward Funeral Notice
Monday December 20 at 11.30am
Mary Mother of Mercy Catholic Church
237 Burleigh Connection Road
Burleigh Waters QLD
A gathering will be held at Burleigh Bears Leagues Club afterwards.
Passed away December 11, 2021
For a brief period in the early 1970s, Dennis Ward – a valued and active member of the Foundation’s Gold Coast committee and creator of the World Cup’s greatest try that never was – was the number one halfback in the game. He had formed a brilliant halves combination with Bob Fulton which took Manly to a grand final appearance against South Sydney in 1968, before he won his Test spurs on a short tour of New Zealand in ‘69.
But just as his career was taking off, injury intervened and a knee cartilage injury was followed by a ruptured spleen, suffered in a club game in 1971, that led to a severe punctuation mark to his football aspirations. He returned strongly in 1972, playing a major role in the Manly’s maiden grand final success against Eastern Suburbs, earning him retrospective recognition as man of the match and it also propelled him into Australia’s squad for the World Cup, where he figured in one of the most controversial incidents in Cup history.
In the final against Great Britain at Lyon’s Stade Municipal de Garland Ward punted high to the left corner for fullback Graeme Langlands to follow on and in one breathtaking movement, Langlands dived full length and caught the ball for a try, only for French referee Georges Jameau to disallow it for offside. The match ended in a 10-all draw and with no addition after 20 minutes extra-time, Great Britain were declared Cup champions due to their superior preliminary record. Television replays showed Langlands was clearly onside and Jameau later apologised for the error.
Ward took on a captain-coach role at Wests Newcastle in 1973, toured with the Kangaroos later that season and played until 1975. He coached Wynnum Manly in Brisbane in 1977 and was the QRL’s coaching director for many years where he was regarded as a master ‘coach of coaches’.
In more recent years he has lived on the Golf Coast with his wife Cheryl. He died in hospital there on December 11, aged 76, after battling prostate cancer.
Farewell Dennis, may he rest in peace.