Vale – Greg Fryer
Vale – Greg Fryer
Born, 24 March 1949 – Passed Away, 4 January 2015.
A clever, ball playing forward, Greg passed away at his home in Ballina, aged 65.
He played an important role in Balmain’s 1969 first grade Premiership success, while later in his career, he forged a successful coaching CV throughout country NSW. The esteem with which Greg was held throughout Australian Rugby League, was illustrated by the attendance at the Commemoration of Greg’s Life at Ballina on Friday 9 January. Melbourne Storm coach, Craig Bellamy, was just one of many big names in our sport, who flew north for the church service.
Born at Darlinghurst in Sydney, Greg and his family moved to Balmain when he was five. He attended Birchgrove Primary school and then Rozelle Tech and played Rugby League at both schools. After joining the Rozelle Codocks club in the Balmain junior league at age 12, Greg won his first Premiership when he was a member of the Codocks under 14 team in 1963.
A few years later he was a member of the successful Balmain team who won the 1967 Presidents Cup and the same year moved into grade where he was an important member of Balmain’s Premiership winning reserve grade team, which beat Souths 11-7 in the Grand Final. The club were soon aware of Greg’s ability and although he played mostly third grade in 1968, he did play one first grade match, at age 19. The third grade side went on to win the Premiership when they defeated Easts in the Grand Final.
1969 was a big year for the Tigers, culminating in their 11-2 first grade Grand Final win over South Sydney. Although he was selected in the 15 man squad for the big game, Greg did not take the field, but the week before in the final at the SCG on 13 September, he played strongly in Balmain’s last minute 15-14 victory over Manly. Greg replaced the injured Peter Provan for the final, but Provan was fit for the Grand Final. Greg played 11 of Balmain’s 25 first grade games in 1969.
From 1970 to 1974, Greg was a regular first grader and when he finished at the club, he had played 84 first grade games, scoring 18 tries, a goal and two field goals. His first try in the top grade came at the SCG on Anzac Day 1969 in the 18-13 win over Manly.
In 1975, Greg moved to Oberon as captain/coach for two seasons, winning the Premiership in his first year. Tony Trudgett, Neville Elwin and Craig Bellamy were members of the Oberon club in this period. Next he captain/coached Macquarie United in the Newcastle competition for three seasons from 1977. Macquarie reached the final in Greg’s last two years. Ballina was the destination in 1980, but he re-dislocated a shoulder early in the season, forcing him to retire as a player and work as a non-playing coach. While coaching Ballina, Greg won Premierships in 1982 and 1989, while in 1987 and 1990, he coached Northern Rivers to NSW Country Championship wins.
As well as football, Greg was a good cricketer, playing in the Poidevin-Gray competition with the Balmain cricket club. He was also a talented musician , winning an award with the Rockdale Band for the Flugel Horn in the under 18 Sacred Solo division at 14 years of age.
A hard worker for the Ballina Seagulls Leagues Club for more than 30 years, Greg has been a Director, and Secretary/Manager of the club.
He married his wife Margaret in 1970 and the couple had three children, Aaron, Nathan and Melissa (deceased). They also have one six year old grandson, Elijah.