Ron Dean - a great servant of rugby league

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles were saddened to hear of the passing of Ron Dean, a long time servant to rugby league in the local community.

Ron received an Order of Australia (OAM) Medal in 2007 in recognition of his outstanding services to the community in the Manly-Warringah district, particularly in rugby league.

Below is the reference the Sea Eagles provided for Ron's nomination for the OAM.

The Sea Eagles wore black armbands in the NRL victory over Cronulla Sharks yesterday as part of the Club's recognition for Ron Dean.

Ron was aged 89. The Club passes on its condolences to the family of Ron Dean.

Ron Dean Funeral
1pm, Thursday 9th August 2018
Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, Currie Road, Forestville.

Immediately following the Mass, there will be light refreshments in the Parish Centre (behind the Church), followed by the burial at Macquarie Park Cemetery at 3.45pm.

 

Ron Dean

Ron first became involved in Rugby League in the area in the mid 1960's as a volunteer referee in various competitions. Ron played a key role in the formation of the Forestville Ferrets Junior Rugby League Club which joined the Manly-Warringah Junior League in 1967 with 7 teams and remains a strong, vibrant junior rugby league club today. Ron became the Forestville Ferrets delegate to the Manly-Warringah Junior Rugby League and he also immediately volunteered for a number of other Junior League sub-committees, such as the Grounds Committee.

It bears noting that in 1967, Ron did not have a son and thus his involvement with Rugby League was motivated purely by his desire to help the local community, the children and to further the development of the sport he loved.

Around the same time, Ron pioneered school sport in the district's Catholic primary schools, forming the Warringah Convent Schools Sports Association. This enabled school children to play in organised school Rugby League competitions and to participate in many other sports as well. In addition to his role in running this new association, Ron continued to take time off work each week to referee the mid-week rugby league games.

In 1975, Ron was elected as Secretary of the Manly-Warringah Junior Rugby League Association, a position he held until 1987. It should be noted that the structure of the organisation was such that the position of Secretary was the most vital role in the Association. In effect, the Secretary was the Administrator of the entire Junior League, responsible for ensuring the smooth running of 22 competitions in 14 different age brackets involving over 2,500 players.

As Secretary, Ron was the first point of contact for each of the 15 Junior Clubs. He managed all the volunteers and their work in numerous Junior League sub-committees including Registrars, Rules, Grounds, Judiciary, Finance, Coaching and Development. He served as Junior League delegate to the Committee of the Manly-Warringah District Rugby League Football Club (the Senior club now known as the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Ltd). He sat on numerous Advisory Committees to the NSW Rugby League (NSWRL). Ron was also involved with the Manly-Warringah Sporting Union, responsible for the allocation of the local sports fields amongst the different sports.

Nowadays, many Senior Clubs employ a full time Administrator, some with support staff, to perform the tasks Ron did on a voluntary basis for the Manly-Warringah Junior Rugby League.

In many ways, Ron went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the success of the Manly-Warringah Junior Rugby League, its competitions, Junior Rep teams and ultimately to advance the welfare of all children that played Rugby League.

The voluntary hours he contributed far exceeded anything that would reasonably be expected of someone in the role. If he wasn't attending numerous meetings several nights per week, he was spending countless hours on the phone. Most weekends during winter were spent at various sporting fields across the District and, during the Junior Representative seasons (U14's, U16's & U18's) all across Sydney.

Although not part of his role as Secretary, Ron also provided considerable assistance to the separate Manly Warringah Rugby League Referees Association, so much so, that they awarded him Life Membership in recognition of his efforts.

Ron was one of the first to recognise that the welfare of the children playing Rugby League necessitated having properly qualified coaches. He therefore worked with others at the NSWRL to develop the first Rugby League Coaching Certificate courses. Ron then personally ran many Coaching Courses over the years, ensuring as many junior rugby league coaches as possible had the proper knowledge, training and skills to look after the children in their care. These original coaching courses Ron helped write and develop went on to become the Level 1 and Level 2 Coaching Certificates that are now mandatory for all junior rugby league coaches across Australia.

Ultimately, the strength of the Manly-Warringah Junior Rugby League under Ron's stewardship is evidenced by the number of local juniors who went on to play First Grade/NRL for the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. Six local juniors who started their rugby league careers during Ron's tenure went on to play for Australia, including Geoff Toovey, who captained Australia in 1995.

In 1984, Ron was elected to Life Membership of the Manly-Warringah Junior Rugby League.

In 1987, Ron reluctantly resigned the position of Secretary at the insistence of his Doctors who advised that he could no longer continue to perform, in effect, two full time jobs – his paid employment and his volunteer role as Secretary of the Manly-Warringah Junior Rugby League. Whilst heeding the advice to reduce his workload, Ron once again demonstrated his enormous commitment to Rugby League in the district by opting, against advice, to take on the role of President of the Manly-Warringah Junior Rugby League. Ron continued to oversee the Junior League in this role until 1998 when further ill health forced his retirement.

Not surprisingly, Ron still maintains an association with the Manly-Warringah Junior League today as their Patron and is always present on Grand Final day to encourage the up and coming stars of the future.

For the reasons outlined above, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Ltd firmly believes Ron Dean would be a most worthy recipient of an Order of Australia award.