This second volume of Geoff Armstrong’s history of the first 100 years of Dragons rugby league commences in the SCG dressing-room in 1967, after St George’s epic 11-year winning run ended with a dramatic loss to Canterbury. By the late ’60s, Saints’ famous white-with-a-Red V jersey was known across the land and their esteemed secretary, Frank Facer, proclaimed that St George’s fanbase extended ‘worldwide’.
Not even Facer, visionary that he was, could have foreseen the tumultuous times ahead for rugby league and his beloved club. As with Volume 1, this story features a heady mix of footballers great, loyal and brave, such as Johnny Raper, Graeme Langlands, Billy Smith, Ted Goodwin, Craig Young, Rod Reddy, Brad Mackay, Mark Coyne, Mark Gasnier and Ben Creagh. There are grand final triumphs and disappointments. And there is much controversy, most notably during the Super League war of 1995 to 1997. In the aftermath, St George and the Illawarra Steelers established the code’s first joint venture: the St George Illawarra Dragons.
The rugby league district represented by the Red V has changed greatly in the last 100 years, but its spirit remains strong. Dragons fans are, to quote champion coach Wayne Bennett, still ‘everywhere’. In 2010, premiership-winning captain Ben Hornby called them the ‘true believers’. This book is for them.