RON Dellar has played, coached and mentored at the Werris Creek Magpies for 50 years.
He’s won junior (under-18) and senior Group 21 and Group 4 premierships as well as a 1996 Clayton Cup – the symbol of supremacy in NSW country rugby league.
But the Werris Creek builder was handed his biggest reward for a lifetime’s devotion to the Magpies cause when the new grandstand at David Taylor Park was named after him.
Werris Creek Rugby League Football Club president Kevin “Darby” Sherlock and current first grade captain Thomas Brown cut the ribbon to officially open the Ron Dellar Grandstand at Saturday’s clash against Gunnedah.
Chris Holley, a long-serving former secretary and committeeman of the club, then gave the opening speech.
“I now declare this magnificent grandstand the Ron Dellar Grandstand,” he said. “It’s a fitting tribute to a man who has devoted the majority of his life to playing and coaching.
“Ron is the most successful coach ever here since he started playing juniors in 1969. He’s experienced the highs and lows in the game.”
Dellar was humbled and filled with pride to have so many people present to honour something he has done “for fun”.
“I actually helped build the stand,” the 66-year-old said, laughing.
He first started playing for the Magpies as a 16-year-old in the under-18s.
He would sometimes play juniors and then reserve grade. In 1978 he captain-coached the Magpie reserve grade side for two years, with the legendary Bill Bischoff coaching first grade. In 1984 he started coaching the under-18s and “got to four grand finals in Group 21”.
In 1992 he coached the first grade side, who finished last. But the next year they won the Group 4 first grade premiership with a 20-16 win over Gunnedah.
It started an amazing few years for the Magpies.
A 16-14 win over Gunnedah in the 1995 first grade grand final was followed by a 45-16 win over Gunnedah in 1996.
The Magpies also won a Clayton Cup that year and then in 1997 they drew 34-all with Wee Waa at Wee Waa and went back the following week to win the replay 22-21.
Since those heady days, the Creek has meandered along, spending two stints in Second Division and winning 2010, 2012 and 2016 titles before returning to the revamped Group 4 first grade competition this season.
“I’ve had a lot of fun,” Dellar said. “The amount of [Magpies] under-18s I run into now. You walk down the street in Scone or Muswellbrook and someone pulls you up.”
Dellar also coached Group 4 under-18 sides for a decade with great distinction.
“Winning the  Clayton Cup was the pinnacle,” he said, adding: “Coaching all the different sides has been great. You never know what’s going to happen one year to another – you don’t know what’s going to bob up.
“It’s great we are back in first division though. We’ve done our best to get back.”
Werris Creek also celebrated their first Old Boys’ day at David Taylor Park on Saturday.
It’s something that will become an annual event after so many former players and supporters turned up at the ground on match day and at the official function at the local golf club.