An Historical Perspective

The Dee Why Junior Rugby Football Club was formed in 1960. The first committee was comprised of L. Gosling (President), J. Smith (Secretary), and J. Mooney (Treasurer) with J. Fountain, R. Roberts, J. Sloan and J. Tapp as members of the General Committee. At this time, the Committee believed that a strong name for the Club was essential and thus the team became known as the Dee Why Lions. The name was derived from the British Lions, a touring party made up of the best players from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, and who had traditionally become one of the most feared of all rugby sides. The red colours of the Lions were also adopted for the jerseys.

The Dee Why Lions Rugby Union Club has a proud reputation as being “family oriented”. In its first year, the Club fielded teams in the 10’s, 12’s and 14’s in the Manly Junior Rugby Union Competition. The birth pangs, of the Dee Why Lions, like every other Rugby club, were steeped in financial stress. This appears to be part of the culture of the movement. Equipment such as balls and jerseys were purchased on credit with no sure idea of how the loaned monies were to be repaid.

The Club’s peak in playing numbers was reached in the mid to late 60’s when 16 teams comprising some 320 boys were fielded. Highlight of the first twenty years came in 1979 when the Club sent 35 players from the 10’s and 11’s on an 11-day tour of New Zealand to play Rugby in Christchurch, Greymouth and Dunedin. Evidence of the Club’s strong spirit was provided by the accompanying party of 42 adults. Many fun weekends were also spent by teams through the 70’s at ranches where the boys were able to experience country life including horse-riding, gold-digging and sheep mustering.

The club has produced several notable first-graders with the Green Rats including John Montgomery, Steve Colley, Rick Black, Tim Ryan and Paul Schober, the latter three having played over 100 games for the club and were members of the first Green Rat squad to contest a first-grade Sydney Premiership Grand Final. We now have gone on to having 2 players achieve 200 games for the club Murphy and Sean.

Sandwiched between several rugby league clubs, the Lions Rugby Club suffered a severe drop in numbers in the 1970’s. In recent years due to the tireless work of club’s committee’s we have raised funds to build facilities such as a canteen and ground lighting and we are increasing in numbers again and have around 180 players which include a division 6 team, an under 85 kilo team and a “golden oldies team” which the latter is regarded as a team that has serious fun! We think we will also be the only club on the Northern beaches to have an all girls rugby union team in 2010 which in itself is quite an achievement!