ONE OF THE MOST important events in the history of the St George rugby league club occurred in 1956, when Frank Facer became secretary. Today, we would call him the CEO. Facer (pictured at left on the day Harry Bath signed his contract to join the Dragons) had been a good and rugged first-grade footballer with Norths and St George, and from the jump he was a tough and pragmatic administrator. Facer was a ruthless operator who made enemies, but his record is extraordinary — almost all the tough calls he and his fellow committeemen made during the 11 years proved to be correct.
‘With Facer, you gave your word and so did he and that was it. His handshake was his word,’ says Johnny King. In Never Before, Never Again, the former Saints lower-grader Paul Broughton, who went on to coach first-grade at Balmain and Newtown, remembered the man known as ‘Fearless’ …
‘Frank had management skills he didn’t know he had. Thanks to him there wasn’t a bit of shit in the whole joint. If he had something to say to you, he’d say it bluntly but in private, man to man.
‘And he never told a player a lie. If he promised you something, he’d deliver, and if the committee tried to vote him down he’d threaten to resign. So he always got his way.’