Vale – Les Denniss

Born – 16 June 1943
Passed Away – 22 September 2020

Well-liked and talented Illawarra player, Les Denniss, passed away aged 77. A fast and elusive winger, Les could also play anywhere in the backline. He began his junior football with the strong Tech OBU club and then came into grade with Corrimal as a 19 year old in 1962. In nine seasons with Corrimal, he played over 100 first grade games and scored around 100 tries, while in 1974, was a key member of the Corrimal first grade grand final winning team. In that Premiership winning 1974 season, he was the leading try scorer in Illawarra first grade football with 14.

South Sydney paid a 200 pounds transfer fee to Corrimal and Les joined the Rabbitohs for the 1965 and 1966 seasons. He was a member of the 1966 Souths minor premiership winning third grade side and played in the grand final against St. George at the SCG on 17 September. With Souths he played 41 matches (32 with the reserves and nine in third grade, scoring a total of 10 tries). In 1967, he returned to Illawarra football, where he had the next four seasons with the  Collegians club.

After signing as captain/coach of the Coolah club for the 1971, he returned home after a few weeks and rejoined Corrimal, after Coolah went broke and could not pay him. As well as the 1974 Illawarra first grade final with Corrimal, Les also played in the 1976 decider with the Cougars. During his 13 seasons in Illawarra first grade football, he represented Illawarra on several occasions. In 1964, he was named as the fastest player in Illawarra football.

A long term member of the Towradgi Surf Life Saving Club, Les was one of Australia’s best beach sprinters and Beach Flags exponents. In 1967 at North Cronulla Beach, he won the NSW beach Sprint title, while in 1970 at Bulli Beach he won five Illawarra Branch titles. In 1968, he finished third in the Australian Beach Sprint Championship, while in 1967, he was second in the Australian Beach Flags Championship and third in the same event in 1969.

For 10 years or so, from around 1965. Les was rated as one of Australia’s top professional runners. He won the North Sydney Leagues Club Gift in 1966 and 1975, while in 1973, he finished sixth in the final of the rich Lavington gift. Les had been ill for more than eight years before he passed away. His funeral is in Wollongong on Monday 28 September and because of the Corona Virus, it is by invitation only. It will also be streamed. Les is survived by his children Rachel and Cameron, his three grandchildren, Logan, Jessi and Tayla, plus his two brothers Rodney and Rick, along with his sister Roslyn. The Men of Leaguer pass on our sincere condolences to Les’ family and friends.

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