Visit to two pioneers of Manly Warringah’s JRL – Ron Dean OAM & Frank Hegarty

It is acknowledged that the nursery and future of rugby league relies on the growth and strength of District’s Junior Rugby League Clubs and Teams. Northern Sydney Welfare Officers Norm Pounder, Fred Jackson and Ken Vessey recently had the pleasure to meet up with two pioneers of junior rugby league in the Manly Warringah District being Ron Dean OAM and Frank Hegarty.
Ron and Frank have been lifelong friends but had not seen each other for a number of years so we arranged to surprise Ron at his Chatswood Nursing Home by taking Frank on a visit to see him. As expected Ron was surprised to see us but especially thrilled to see his old friend Frank. They had been involved together as Executive Members of the Manly Warringah Junior Rugby League (both Life Members) playing major roles in the development and growth of rugby league in the District.

Left to right Norm Pounder, Frank Hegarty and Fred Jackson

Ron in his professional life was a respected Pharmacist in the Forestville area, he was actively involved with the respected Forestville Ferrets Junior Rugby League Club, where he is a Life Member. In 2007 he was awarded an Order of Australia honour for his services to rugby league in the Manly Warringah District; is Patron of the Manly Warringah Junior Rugby League plus a Life Member of the Manly Warringah Referees’ Association.
Whilst Frank was a Chartered Accountant in his working life and had recently moved back to Sydney from the sunny Gold Coast with his lovely wife Mavis to be closer to their extended Family of 4 children,13 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.
Frank supports the Sea Eagles these days but his junior playing days were in the North Sydney Junior League competitions, where he played in 1955 with the North Sydney President Cup team alongside Ken Odgers and Doug Blinkhorn. He played rugby union for a time before becoming involved with Ron in the Manly Warringah Convent Schools and Junior League competitions where he coached teams, was a Committee Member in the 1960’s before being elected Senior Vice President and then President in the late 1960’s – 1980’s of the Manly Warringah Junior Rugby League with Ron as Secretary.
Frank’s son Steve played 23 x 1st grade games with Manly Warringah District Rugby League Club during 1984 and 1986 as a capable Fullback and one of his grandsons Bryce Hegarty after playing Under 20’s with the Brisbane Broncos Rugby League Club is now playing with the NSW Waratahs Rugby Union team.
We presented Ron and Frank with Men of League polo shirts, thanking them for their commendable activities and involvement in the development of rugby league in the Manly Warringah District. In return they both thanked us for our visit and gifts and wished the Men of League continued success in assisting the rugby league community members who have fallen on hard times.

By Ken Vessey

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