Sydney Roosters induct four into the Hall of Fame
Wednesday 11 July 2012 9:29 PM
The Sydney Roosters have tonight inducted Ray Stehr, Dick Dunn, Ron Coote and Kevin Hastings into the club’s Hall of Fame in a gala event held in the Steve Waugh Room at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Tonight’s inductees all represent great eras of the Eastern Suburbs Club and have had a major influence on the game of rugby league. They join Dally Messenger, Dave Brown, Jack Gibson, Arthur Beetson, and Brad Fittler who were named in the Roosters inaugural Hall of Fame in 2010.
Stehr, player number 190, was aged just 16 years and 85 days when he made his regular competition debut - still the youngest ever first grade Australian player to do so.
He played 184 games for Eastern Suburbs between 1929-46 and was a member of the side that lost just one match over the three seasons between 1935, 1936 and 1937, winning the premiership across each of those seasons. He won additional premierships with Easts in 1940 and 1945.
After retirement in 1946, he remained involved with the game, coaching Manly in 1947-48 and Easts in 1949. He later wrote a column for many years in a Sydney newspaper and worked in television media. He was also club president at Easts.
In 1961 he was the commentator for the first Australian rugby league match ever broadcast live. His typical sign-off call in the media was always "Easts To Win!”.
His grandson, Ben Stehr, was present on the night to accept the prestigious honour for his grandfather.
Dunn, player number 253, was a local centre who played in Easts’ final win over Canterbury in 1940 but it was for his phenomenal performance in the 1945 final that he is best remembered.
Playing lock, Dunn scored 19 of his side’s 22 points (three tries, five goals) in a brilliant effort to sink Balmain. Between 1938 and 1947 he played 124 games for Easts. Dunn was also
coach of Easts in 1960 and 1963-63. He was later Vice President of the NSWRL, a chairman of the judiciary and co-manager of Australia’s tour of New Zealand in 1971. Dunn became a Member of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 1986.
His daughter, Carolyn Markham, was present on the night to collect the award.
Ron Coote, player number 625, was famous for his outstanding cover defence and low tackling technique and is widely considered as one of the nation’s finest footballers of the 20th century.
He was a key member of the Roosters back-to-back premiership winning sides in 1974 and 1975 and played 109 games for the Tricolours.
After football, Coote remained involved with the game as a member of NSWRL judiciary for much of the 1990s.
In 2000 he founded the Men of League program which supports former players, officials and referees who have fallen on hard times and remains the program’s President.
He was inducted into the Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame in 2005, The Rugby League Team of the Century, was named in the list of Australia’s 100 Greatest Players in 2007 to celebrate the code’s centenary year in Australia. He is a Member of the Order of Australia.
The Ron Coote Cup, contested annually by the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs, is named in his honour.
Ron Coote’s nephew, Jared Coote, accepted the award on his behalf, but Ron, who is currently away with his grandchildren, sent a special video message.
Kevin ‘Horrie’ Hastings, player number 674, is the first Easts clubman to play 200 first grade games. He held the record for the number of first grade games for Easts at 228 until broken by Luke Ricketson in 2005.
Playing with the club between 1976-87, he garnered almost every major individual award in the early 1980s. He won the Rothmans Medal in 1981 and was named the Dally M Halfback of the Year in three consecutive years (1980-82). From 1980-82 he was also named Rugby League Week’s Player of the Year.
Hastings flew in from his home base in Florida to collect the award.
The night was attended by more than 350 guests and VIPs and celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Roosters most recent premiership with members of the 2002 premiership winning team in attendance. The night also acknowledged the 100th anniversary of the club’s first premierships in 1911, 1912 and 1913 with ancestors of members of the sides also in attendance.