The NSWRL today paid tribute to long-serving former Newtown player and official Frank Farrington, who died yesterday following a long illness.
Born and bred in the heart of Newtown Bluebags’ territory in St Peters, Farrington served with the Allied occupying forces in Japan after the end of World War II.
Graded with the Newtown RLFC in 1949, he played with Newtown from 1949 to 1959, punctuated by player-coaching stints at Cowra, Narrandera and Mackay. He was a light-weight but extremely tough and durable front-rower.
Farrington boxed professionally in the light-heavyweight division between 1946 and 1955. No doubt his boxing experience and ferocious training regimen assisted his rugby league career... and his ability to mix it with bigger opponents in the forwards.
Farrington coached and helped administer the St Peters junior club in the early 1960s. He became secretary of the Newtown RLFC from 1968 to 1970, 1972 to 1974, and again from 1977 to 1991.
He worked with the NSWRL from 1975 to 1977.
He was instrumental in bringing Jack Gibson to coach Newtown in 1973, the year the smallest and least well-resourced club in the NSWRL won the Club Championship award, the Fred Flowers Memorial Pennant.
Along with Jack Gibson he was responsible in 1973 for re-branding the Newtown Bluebags as the Newtown Jets. He used often point out that Henson Park was directly under the major flight path into Sydney Airport. The connection was obvious.
He was a key figure in getting John Singleton on board with the Newtown RLFC in 1977 and also helped bring Manfred Moore to Newtown in the same year in what was for the time an audacious rugby league experiment.
Farrington worked closely with present-day Directors Terry Rowney and Barry Vining in keeping the club alive from 1984 to 1990, before Newtown re-entered senior football in 1991. He continued to serve as a Newtown Director up until 2000.
The club made a special presentation to him in 2000 in recognition of his 50 years of involvement and service with the club.
He was a Life Member of the Newtown RLFC and of the NSW Rugby League.
Farrington was awarded an Australian Sports Medal in 2000. He is perhaps best summed up by NRL historian Terry Williams in his 1993 history of the Newtown RLFC, “Out of the Blue”
“Farrington’s greatest work was at the club level where he gave his heart and soul to the Newtown cause, and he personified the never-say-die inner-city battler,” Williams wrote.
RIP, Frank Farrington.