Considered by most to be the greatest member of the Malvern Lacrosse Club.
He was a proud member of the club from 1922 until he passed away in 1989, a period of 67 years. A feat that will be extremely hard to surpass by anyone in any sport.
The following is a history of Frank’s achievements:
- Player 1922 – 1946
- Treasurer 1932 – 1988
- Secretary 1936 – 1976 1988 – 1989
- V.L.A. Executive 1940 – 1950
- Life Member M.L.C. 1947
- Life Member V.L.A. 1961
- A.L.C. Certificate of Merit 1955
- Delegate to V.L.A. 1936 – 1956
- Treasurer V.L.A. 1958 – 1965
- President M.L.C. 1977 – 1981
- Manager Victorian Seniors and Under 16 State teams 1953 – 1956
- Coach Under 12’s, 14’s & 16’s 1950 – 1960
- Member of V.L.A. Permit Committee and Chairman for 40 Years
- V.L.A. Junior records Secretary 1968 – 1969
- V.L.A. Fellow Award 1989
Frank was responsible for the creation of the Under Age Saturday morning competition which commenced in 1946. During World War II, together with several other stalwarts such as Bill Griffiths (Surrey Park), Russell Smith (Coburg), and Bill Tickner (Melbourne University) was responsible for keeping the game alive on a limited scale by the playing of social matches between scratch teams composed of players from various clubs.
Frank first played in 1922 at age 16. At that time there were no underage teams and it was necessary to play with adults. Frank’s father took Frank and his brother to watch games from an early age and they learned the game by borrowing racquets from senior players at the half-time of matches. Bob Coldstream was Frank’s most favoured player in this regard. A number of other of the well-known players of the game in later years went through the same procedure, eg. Fuzzy Knowles, Wally Edwards, George Unkenstein, Jim Guy etc.
Due to Frank’s long association with the club, he knew many of the club’s greatest players and personalities, even the players of the 1918 A Grade premiership team. When asked the reason why lacrosse occupied so much of his life Frank replied “… it brought me into contact with many wonderful people and I would not have missed the experience for the world. In addition, of course, the club has achieved such fantastic success during my association and the memory of all the premiership wins has helped to make the whole thing worthwhile”.
Frank named the following A Grade teams as the greatest:
The only way in which the club has maintained its strength and success over the years has been the sustained effort to recruit junior players. When Frank first took over as Secretary of the club in 1936, there were three teams only. That is, A, B and C grades and very little was being done at that time to encourage juniors. One of Frank’s first jobs was to arrange, with the help of Jack Beattie in particular, for the introduction of the game into the local State Schools. Reference has already been made to the coaching by the late Mr Frank Baxter and the lift which the club received when a number of players from the schools joined the club.
Over the years since, it has always been the endeavour of the club to see that this recruiting has been continued. Frank was especially interested in this area and always encouraged the club to pursue the schools.
The advent of Saturday morning lacrosse has helped in a large degree to keep the club at strength and the efforts of such people as Bill Daw, Ron Alaimo, Graeme Minniece, Geoff Treloar etc. in this area have been invaluable to the club. There have been literally hundreds of juniors pass through the Malvern Lacrosse Club over the years and it is only a small number who continue to take an interest in the game once they leave the junior ranks. It is interesting to note that there are fewer clubs today than before World War II. Clubs such as Ballarat, Canterbury, Deaf and Dumb, Hawksburn, Melbourne High, Coburg, Mitcham and the list goes on, cease to exist.