Greatest Dragons Second-Rowers

David Barnhill, Barry Beath, Ben Creagh, Tyson Frizell, Scott Gourley, Len Kelly, Ernie Lapham, Monty Porter, Norm Provan, Elton Rasmussen, Rod Reddy, Beau Scott, Neville Smith, Robert Stone, Gorden Tallis, Lance Thompson, Graeme Wynn

David Barnhill

David Barnhill played for Canberra in two grand finals before joining St George, where he appeared in three grand finals in five years. Playing mostly as a second rower, and occasionally as a prop, he was a constant presence in the St George pack from 1992 to 1996. He played 111 of a possible 121 games and was in the starting XIII for all but four of those 111 matches. While at the Dragons, he played for NSW in 1994 and 1995, and for Country against City from 1993 to 1996. He represented Ireland at the 2000 World Cup

Born:                                 June 8, 1969, Leeton, NSW
Position:                          Second Row
Saints Years:                   1992–96
Games:                            111
Points                               28 (7 tries)
Captaincy:                       4 games (1996)
New South Wales:       State of Origins 9 (1994–95, 1998–99)
Grand Finals:                  5 — Canberra 1990 (W), 1991 (L), St George 1992 (L), 1993 (L), 1996 (L)

Barry Beath

Eugowra forward who made Australia’s tour of New Zealand in 1965 before joining St George a year later, Barry Beath played 17 first-grade games in his first season but broke his collarbone in the last game before the semi-finals and missed the rest of the season. Beath played in three Grand Finals with Saints, in 1971 (when he scored the Dragons’ first try), 1975 and as a replacement in the replay in 1977. He toured New Zealand again in 1971, but as with his first trip did not play a Test. Mostly a powerful second rower, Beath moved to the front row late in his career. He retired with 198 first-grade games, at the time the second most by a St George forward, behind only Norm Provan.

Born:                                 July 16, 1944, Canowindra, NSW
Position:                          Second Row, Prop
Saints Years:                   1966–77
Games:                            198
Points                               183 (61 tries)
Captaincy:                       5 games (1971, 1974–75)
Australia:                         Tests 0 (1965, 1971 New Zealand tourist)
New South Wales:       Interstate matches 2 (1965, 1967), Matches v touring teams 1 (1967)
Grand Finals:                  3 — St George 1971 (L), 1975 (L), 1977 (W)

Ben Creagh

Ben Creagh played wing, lock and second row for the Dragons, was club captain from 2013 to 2015, and was a member of the Dragons side that won the 2010 Grand Final and 2011 World Club Championship. His 270 games ranks second in Dragons history for most appearances, three matches behind Ben Hornby. Creagh debuted as an 18-year-old winger in round 22, 2003, and was a permanent fixture in the Dragons side from early in the following season until a knee injury forced his retirement after three rounds in 2016. A four-time St George Illawarra player of the year (2007, 2009, 2010 and 2014), he didn’t miss a game in 2010 when the Dragons won their 16th premiership.

Born:                                 February 6, 1985, Blacktown, NSW
Position:                          Second Row
Saints Years:                   2003–16
Games:                            270
Points                               216 (54 tries)
Captaincy:                       70 games (2013–16)
Australia:                         Tests 2 (2005, 2011)
New South Wales:       State of Origins 11 (2009–12)
Grand Finals:                  1 — St George Illawarra 2010 (W)

Tyson Frizell

Tyson Frizell represented Wales in the 2011 Four Nations and 2013 World Cup (his father was born in Swansea), but switched allegiance to Australia in 2016 and was in the XVII for all the Kangaroos’ main games during the 2017 World Cup, and for Australia’s four Tests in 2018–19. Frizell appeared in more than 20 Dragons matches every year from 2013 to 2019, except for 2014, when he was out for two months because of an ankle injury. Frizell was St George Illawarra’s Player of the Year in 2016. In 2018, an nrl.com players’ poll judged him ‘the best edge forward’ in the game.

Born:                                 October 9, 1991, Wollongong, NSW
Position:                          Second Row
Saints Years:                   2013–20
Games:                            165
Points                               92 (23 tries)
Captaincy:                       20 games (2017–20)
Australia:                         Tests 14 (2016–19)
Wales:                              Tests 5 (2011, 2013)
New South Wales:       State of Origins 14 (2016–20)

Scott Gourley

Scott Gourley is a son of former Saints prop Robin Gourley, who played for the club in 37 games, including two Grand Finals, from 1963 to 1966. In 1992, the Gourleys became the first father and son to both appear in a Grand Final for the Dragons (since matched by Steve and Brett Morris and Craig and Dean Young). Scott Gourley played five rugby union Tests for the Wallabies in 1988–89 and was chosen for the Kangaroos’ tour of Papua New Guinea at the end of 1991, when he made his only league Test appearance in the First Test. He started in the second row in the 1992, 1993 and 1996 Grand Finals. In 1992, he played a key role in Saints first try and scored the second. Gourley played for Country Origin three years straight from 1991 and made his sole State of Origin appearance in 1993.

Born:                                 July 18, 1968, Hornsby, NSW
Position:                          Second Row
Saints Years:                   1990–96
Games:                            128
Points                               116 (29 tries)
Australia:                         Tests 1 (1991)
New South Wales:       State of Origins 1 (1993)
Grand Finals:                  3 — St George 1992 (L), 1993 (L), 1996 (L)

Len Kelly

Len Kelly joined the St George third-grade squad after playing President’s Cup in 1931, broke into the firsts in 1933, and went on to become the first man to play 200 grade games for the club. Kelly was not a flashy forward but he was tireless and hardly missed a first-grade game for Saints between 1934 and 1944. He was in the first St George team to win a premiership in 1941 and led the team to the grand final (losing 11–9 to Canterbury) in the following year. He served as club president from 1962 to 1977.

Born:                                 June 17, 1913, Manildra, NSW
Died:                                 November 3, 1981, Arncliffe, NSW
Position:                          Second Row
Saints Years:                   1933–44
Games:                            160
Points                               177 (59 tries)
Captaincy:                       36 games (1938, 1940–42, 1944)
Finals/Grand Finals:     2 — St George 1941 (W), 1942 (L)

Ernie Lapham

A member of the inaugural St George first-grade team that lost to Glebe on 23 April 1921, ‘Curly’ Lapham quickly made a name for himself for his speed, to the point that, after starting as a back-row forward, in his second first-grade season he was moved briefly to the wing. He toured New Zealand with NSW in 1922 and was a regular in the NSW team for three years in the mid ’20s, when he played with Souths. Lapham returned for a final season with the red and whites in 1929.

Born:                                 July 2, 1901, Sydney, NSW
Died:                                 September 19, 2000, Redcliffe, QLD
Position:                          Second Row
Saints Years:                   1921–24, 1929
Games:                            53
Points                               33 (11 tries)
New South Wales:       Interstate matches 7 (1926–28)

Monty Porter

Monty Porter came into the Dragons pack for the 1958 Grand Final, when Kevin Brown was injured. He played for NSW in 1960 and in six Grand Finals for St George, the first three as a second rower (1958–60) and the remainder as a prop (1962–64). In 2008, an expert panel retrospectively named Porter as man of the match in the 1960 Grand Final. He was Cronulla’s first captain when the Sharks joined the premiership in 1967.

Born:                                 April 27, 1935, Peak Hill, NSW
Died:                                 January 24, 2011, Kirrawee, NSW
Position:                          Second Row/Prop
Saints Years:                   1958–65
Games:                            119
Points                               39 (13 tries)
New South Wales:       Interstate matches 1 (1960)
Grand Finals:                  6 — St George 1958 (W), 1959 (W), 1960 (W), 1962 (W), 1963 (W), 1964 (W)

Norm Provan

Norm Provan played in the lower grades in 1950, his first year at Saints, but was in the firsts for the start of 1951 and would remain there for 15 seasons. Saints never missed the finals in his 15 years of first grade and won the grand final in each of his last 10. He was captain-coach from 1962 to 1965, and the last image of him as a player is of a colossus striding through the mass of fans that had invaded the SCG after the 12–8 win over Souths in the grand final. Provan was a star of Australia’s triumphs in the 1954 Ashes series and the 1957 World Cup, but it was his efforts for St George that forged the legend. He was man of the match in the 1957, 1958 and 1963 grand finals. In March 1963, he was the first active player to be made a life member of the club. In that year’s grand final, his muddy embrace with Wests captain Arthur Summons was captured in John O’Gready’s iconic ‘Gladiators’ photo. His 256 first-grade games was a Dragons record until Ben Hornby went passed him in 2012.

Born:                                 December 18, 1932, Urana, NSW
Position:                          Second Row
Saints Years:                   1951-65
Games:                            256
Points                               191 (63 tries, 1 goal)
Captaincy:                       78 games (1955, 1961–65)
Australia:                         Tests 18 (1954, 1956–60)
New South Wales:       Interstate matches 20 (1954–61), Matches v touring international teams 5 (1954, 1959–60)
Finals/Grand Finals:     11 — St George 1953 (L), 1956 (W), 1957 (W), 1958 (W), 1959 (W), 1960 (W), 1961 (W), 1962 (W), 1963 (W), 1964 (W), 1965 (W)

Elton Rasmussen

Originally from Mackay, Elton Rasmussen came to St George in 1962 after making the Kangaroo tour in 1959–60, when he played in the third Ashes Test. He played in the last five Grand Finals in the 11-year winning streak, two Tests against Great Britain in 1962, made the 1967–68 Kangaroo tour (when he appeared in all six Tests) and was in Australia’s winning World Cup squad in 1968. He returned to Queensland, to captain-coach Souths in Brisbane and again wear the maroon jersey, 10 years after his interstate debut.

Born:                                 July 27, 1937, Mackay, QLD
Died:                                 November 28, 1978, Toowoomba, QLD
Position:                          Second Row/Prop
Saints Years:                   1962–68
Games:                            126
Points                               161 (21 tries, 49 goals)
Australia:                         Tests 19 (1959–62, 1967–68)
Queensland:                  Interstate matches 13 (1959–61, 1969), Matches v touring international teams 2 (1959–60)
New South Wales:       Interstate matches 7 (1962–63, 1967–68)
Grand Finals:                  5 — St George 1962 (W), 1963 (W), 1964 (W), 1965 (W), 1966 (W)

Rod Reddy

Arguably the most influential forward in the competition from 1977 to 1979, ‘Rocket’ Reddy was a key figure in two Saints premierships and part of Australian teams that retained the Ashes in 1978 and 1979. Originally from Rockhampton, he was only 17 when he played his first game for St George — a reserve-grade trial against Wests in February 1972 — and was immediately compared to Norm Provan. Reddy made his first-grade premiership debut three months later and was in the NSW side before his 20th birthday. Injuries kept him out of the finals series in 1975, but two years later he was chief catalyst for the young Saints’ team’s stunning surge to the premiership. He was equally superb in the ’79 Grand Final, when he was a dominant figure in the first half (St George led 17–2 at half-time) and scored Saints third try.

Born:                                 March 1, 1954, Rockhampton, QLD
Position:                          Lock/Second Row
Saints Years:                   1972–83
Games:                            204
Points                               198 (65 tries, 1 goal)
Captaincy:                       13 games (1976–79, 1981)
Australia:                         Tests 17 (1977–80, 1982)
New South Wales:       Interstate matches 11 (1973, 1976–80), Matches v touring international teams 2 (1974, 1977)
Queensland:                  State of Origins 1 (1980)
Grand Finals:                  2 — St George 1977 (W), 1979 (W)

Beau Scott

Beau Scott made his NRL debut for Cronulla in 2004 and joined Saints for the 2007 season. He played his first Test on the 2011 Four Nations tour, and would play two more in 2014, when he was with Newcastle and was named the Dally M second rower of the year. Scott played twice for Country Origin and five Origin matches for NSW while a member of the Dragons. He started in the second row for the Red V in the 2010 Grand final team and the 2011 World Club Challenge.

Born:                                 May 15, 1984, Camden, NSW
Position:                          Second Row/Centre
Saints Years:                   2007–12
Games:                            118
Points                               52 (13 tries)
Australia:                         Tests 3 (2011, 2014)
New South Wales:       State of Origins 11 (2010–12, 2014–15)
Grand Finals:                  1 — St George Illawarra 2010 (W)

Neville Smith

Neville Smith holds a special place in the St George story, as the captain-coach of the first Saints team to win a first-grade premiership. Smith arrived in 1939 at age 23, was quickly named captain-coach, and lifted the team from last to equal second on the ladder and was the competition’s leading pointscorer. He played for NSW in 1940 and 1941, when he would have been a Test certainty, and was an inspiration in Saints’ first premiership year before stunning the league world by retiring. Smith made a comeback in 1943, but a series of leg injuries prompted him to quit once again at season’s end, this time for good.

Born:                                 December 13, 1915, Orange, NSW
Died:                                 August 5, 1997, Allawah, NSW
Position:                          Second row
Saints Years:                   1939–41, 1943
Games:                            59
Points                               281 (15 tries, 118 goals)
Captaincy:                       59 games (1939–41, 1943)
Queensland:                  Interstate matches 1 (1938)
New South Wales:       Interstate matches 6 (1940–41)
Finals/Grand Finals:     1 — St George 1941 (W)

 Robert Stone

Robert Stone made his first-grade debut as a 19-year-old in 1975. Two years later, under Harry Bath’s coaching, he was one of the best second-rowers in the competition. In the Grand Final replay, after Rod Reddy was injured, Stone moved to lock and scored a famous try, running 25 metres from the scrumbase to give St George a match-winning lead. He came on as a replacement in the major semi-final (when he scored the winning try) and the Grand Final in 1979, played in the inaugural State of Origin match, was a major figure in the club’s late run to the finals in 1983, and then captained the team to the top-three in 1984. Stone played 281 games in all grades for the club.

Born:                                 February 27, 1956, Sydney, NSW
Died:                                 August 1, 2005, Sydney, NSW
Position:                          Second Row/Prop
Saints Years:                   1975–85
Games:                            171
Points                               81 (26 tries)
Captaincy:                       16 games (1980, 1984)
New South Wales:       Interstate matches 1 (1980), State of Origins 1 (1980)
Grand Finals:                  3 — St George 1975 (L), 1977 (W), 1979 (W)

Gorden Tallis

A Hall of Fame forward who played his best football after leaving St George in controversial circumstances, Gorden Tallis missed the 1996 season over a contract dispute and then joined Brisbane. He went on to star in club, Origin and Test football, win a Clive Churchill Medal in 1998 and captain Australia. In four seasons at St George, started around 40 per cent of his matches in the bench, he only becoming a regular starter in May of his final season at the club. He debuted in Origin football in 1994, while playing for the Dragons.

Born:                                 July 27, 1973, Townsville, QLD
Position:                          Second Row
Saints Years:                   1992–95
Games:                            54
Points                               70 (17 tries, 1 goal)
Australia:                         Tests 13 (1998–2000, 2002–03), Super League Tests 3 (1997)
Queensland:                  State of Origins 17 (1994, 1998–2003), Super League Tri-Series games 3 (1997)
Grand Finals:                  4 — St George 1993 (L), Brisbane 1997 (W), 1998 (W), 2000 (W)

Lance Thompson

A Hurstville United junior who debuted for Saints as a 17-year-old in 1995 and played in the Grand Final against Manly a year later, Lance Thompson remains the youngest footballer to wear the Red V in a first-grade game. He appeared in his second grand final in 1999 and captained City Origin in 2001, the first of five appearances for City from 2001 to 2007. Thompson played 69 games for St George and 132 for St George Illawarra, making him one of 14 men to appear in 200 or more games for St George/St George Illawarra. He didn’t miss a game in his final season with the club, in 2005.

Born:                                 February 16, 1978, Sydney, NSW
Died:                                 August 23, 2018, Cronulla, NSW
Position:                          Second Row
Saints Years:                   1995–2005
Games:                            201
Points                               130 (24 tries, 17 goals)
Captaincy:                       25 games (2001–03)
Grand Finals:                  2 — St George 1996 r (L), 1999 (L)

Graeme Wynn

Graeme Wynn came to St George from Newcastle Wests in 1979 and had an outstanding debut season, culminating in Saints’ dominant Grand Final win over Canterbury. Wynn toured New Zealand with the Australian side in 1980. Later that year he was in the NSW pack for the first ever State of Origin match. He was the club’s leading pointscorer in 1980 (six tries, 68 goals) and 1982 (five tries, 38 goals). Wynn was with St George throughout the 1980s, appearing in every finals match the Dragons played in the decade, including the 1985 Grand Final. He was also part of the club’s victory in the 1988 Panasonic Cup final.

Born:                                 April 19, 1959, Blayney, NSW
Position:                          Second Row
Saints Years:                   1979–90
Games:                            199
Points                               400 (46 tries, 120 goals)
Captaincy:                       1 game (1979)
Australia:                         Tests 0 (1980 New Zealand tourist)
New South Wales:       Interstate matches 2 (1980), State of Origins 1 (1980)
Grand Finals:      2 — St George 1979 (W), 1985 (L)