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27 March 2020

Former Swinton coach and Great Britain centre Frank Myler has died after a long illness at the age of 81.

Myler in action for Widnes against Swinton in 1962. The Lions facing him include Midge Cummings, Bernard McMahon, Peter Norburn.

The club was today deeply saddened to learn of the death of former Swinton Coach and Rugby League legend, Frank Myler.

Born in 1938 at Widnes, he went on to play for 12 years with his home-town club, establishing himself as a stand-off with extraordinary ability. The highlight of Frank’s Widnes career was arguably their Challenge Cup Final success against Hull KR at Wembley in 1964.

After leaving Widnes in 1967 he signed for St Helens, with whom he enjoyed more success. Saints won the Lancashire Cup in 1968, and they followed this with a 24-12 victory over Leeds in the 1970 Championship Final at Odsal, a game in which Frank won the Harry Sunderland Trophy as Man of the Match.

In addition to his club successes, Frank was a mainstay of the Great Britain team between 1960 and 1970, winning no less than 24 caps. In 1970 he became the last British captain to win an Ashes series down under against Australia. Then following a period as player-coach of Rochdale Hornets, Frank became coach at Widnes between 1975 and 1978.

When Swinton appointed Frank as Head Coach early in 1980 it proved to be the shrewdest of appointments. The Lions had been in the doldrums for a number of years, and the club needed pulling up by its boot laces. Frank immediately began to instil professionalism and pride, and the Lions finished the 1979/80 campaign with something of a flourish.

Frank commanded and deserved absolute respect and didn’t stand on ceremony, and at one point he placed 14 players on the transfer list! But with Peter Smethurst as his trusty lieutenant, players of the calibre of Paul Mellor, Alan Taylor, Dennis Ashcroft, Danny Wilson, Jeff Brown, Green Vigo and Wayne Rutene began to arrive at Station Road.

The impact was such that the Lions looked sure bets for promotion during season 19080/81, particularly after beating new boys Fulham plus Wigan home and away in the process. However, it wasn’t quite to be and the Lions narrowly missed out. 

Perhaps surprisingly Frank left Station Road for Oldham at the start of the 1981/82 season, but there can be no doubt that it had been he that had laid the foundation for the Lions’ upward turn of fortune during the 1980s.

STATS: Played: 43,Won: 24, Drew: 2,Lost: 17

The thoughts of everyone at Swinton Lions is extended to Frank’s family and friends at this sad time.



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