It with great sadness that the NSWTA advises of the passing of one of the games originals, both a pioneer and a stalwart of our game, Ron Hanson.
Ron has been fighting Parkinson’s disease for the past number of years and today, he succumb to the disease but is now in comfortably resting in peace.
Ron was an original, a pioneer of the game who began playing in the very first Touch Football competition at Pioneer Park in 1968 with his beloved Bronte mates. He was coming off his days as a leading 1st Grade footballer for the Eastern Suburbs Roosters wanting to continue with playing a game similar and Touch Football provided the perfect avenue. He was good at it too. He was named as the first NSW Captain when the team he lead played Queensland at Erskineville Oval on 4th of August 1973 and defeated the old enemy 15-1. Three years later in 1976 he was named the first Australian Captain of the team that successfully toured New Zealand. From all reports Ron was an inspirational captain on the field and the life of the party off it.
Ron however was not content with just playing, he was involved in every aspect of the game. He coached at high levels, was a selector from park football through to national level, became an administrator of the sport and even refereed a few games here and there. Although if you talk to those who played with Ronnie, they will tell you he refereed most games in which he played.
Whilst playing was his passion, he left an indelible mark on the sport through his time as an administrator and selector. As an Administrator he was Regional Director for the old Region 4 going back as far as 1994 and also took a stint at the helm of the Northern Eagles after the amalgamation of the three northern regions. As a selector he selected club, regional, state and national teams. He didn’t just restrict himself to one region either, he made himself available to all. He would often assist other regions around the state where he could and also helped out at the Defence Force nationals for many years as well.
In 2004 the NSWTA recognised Ron’s immense contribution to the game at many levels with the awarding of Life Membership to the NSWTA. In 2010 Touch Football Australia bestowed on Ron, a medal named in his honour. Each member of an Australian contingent to be honoured as the parties Flag Bearer is awarded and announced as the Ron Hanson Medallist, again a testament to his standing in the game and the character of the man. For those who have received that medal, we are sure they will be just a little bit prouder today.
Our thoughts are with his wife of 44 years, Fran and his children Samantha and Brad as well as his grandchildren and extended family members.
He is a gentleman who will be missed but certainly not forgotten by the Touch Footballing family across Australia.