Fearless Freddy Jones is one of the true legends of the Manly Sea Eagles and a favourite on Has Beens hill at Brookvale. A rough and ready customer whose favourite past time was having a beer, a smoke and a game of footy.
Fred was a regular at the Harbord Hilton therefore the average man in the Manly street in the 1960s & 70s could easily identify with Fred. A true local he was born and bred in the district and he was fiercely proud of his club and district when Rugby League was truly tribal.
Fred was a tough, uncompromising hooker/forward who didnt take a backward step on the footy field. His years playing first grade were when men were men and Fred was one of the toughest men. During the days of the contested scrum Fred was an expert at the quick strike, the loose arm and the rabbit punch into the oppositions second row.
I remember as a kid growing up at Brookie his battles with others hookers like John McMartin (Sharks), Elwyn Walters (Easts) and George Piggins (Souths). I remember the massive roar that erupted from the hill when Freddy salvaged a scrum win against the head. Those were the days when our arguably our greatest side (1972/73) graced the Brookvale turf and Fred was the proud captain.
Fred was not a flashy footballer but still managed to score 25 tries during his career that took in 249 first grade games from 1961 to 1975, I reckon the majority would have been a barge over from dummy half. His greatest achievement would be without doubt captaining the club to its first premiership in 1972 a prize no one else will ever be able to replicate.
The 1973 grand final was one of the toughest, dirtiest games of Rugby League ever played with numerous brawls erupting across the field. Late shots, elbows and eye gouging were common place during the first half and Fred stood tall and took head on the Cronulla cheap shots merchants like Tommy Bishop, Ron Turner and Cliff Watson.
It was however Manly who reigned supreme that September afternoon thanks mainly to Bob Fultons brilliance but it should be remembered that Fred held the side together during that tumultuous first half as well as throwing probably the most famous flick pass in Manlys history to put Bozo through for his first try.
Fred represented NSW 4 times during his career and was considered a certainty for the 1973 Kangaroo Tour but was controversially overlooked not for his football ability but allegedly for his dubious off field vices of drinking, late nights and smoking.
His career would down in 1975 when a new young hooker in Freds mould came onto the scene at Brookvale. His name was Max Krilich and he emulated Freds achievements playing in a number of premierships and maintaining the high standard set by Fred in the Sea Eagles front row.
Fred has now retired and moved to the South Coast of NSW but he is known to make the long trip to Brookvale to watch his beloved Sea Eagles from time to time. Well done Freddy a true Sea Eagle.