Frank Myler | 1955/56 - 1967/68 |
Heritage Number: Date of Birth:
27.12.1955 vs. Liverpool City. Age:
28.08.1967 vs. Warrington. Age:
Member of the Widnes Hall of Fame and also of the victorious 1964 Challenge Cup winning team
Hall of Fame Inductee
In 1966, in a minor county game on the RL tour of Australia, Frank Myler was sent of by the referee. He had been off the field once already, as his feet were blistered from a succession of bone-hard pitches, and when he examined them he found that secondary blisters had formed on top of the earlier ones - he had blisters on blisters! It was impossible for him to put his boots on again, but there were no substitutes for injured players in those days, so Frank ran back, blisters and all, to play on in his stockinged feet. That was why the ref dismissed him - "improperly dressed for play".
This true story illustrates several of the qualities that Frank Myler had as a Rugby League Player - not just his grit and determination, but his love of the game and his strong sense of loyalty to his team mates. The second Test match on that tour - which Frank will tell you was the hardest game of his life - developed into one of those uncompromising and ferocious battles which the rivalry between Britain and Australia often produces. Frank was a hero in defence that day, though he would never tell you that, preferring always to talk about other players' skills and qualities - never his own.
Yet Frank, if he were so incline, has many things he could boast about in his long playing career which lasted from 1954 until 1973. You have to be good, as well as tough to stay in top class Rugby League as long as that. Frank was a prolific try scorer, and held the Widnes record for the number of tries scored in a season, right up till Martin Offiah. Myler's 34 tries was also a League record for a stand-off half. He had a deceptively long stride, a natural swerve, and a burst of acceleration to take him through seemingly impossible gaps. But for every try he scored he made ten for others. His determination and strength enabled him to break through tackles, drawing the opposition in, and making holes in the defence, into which Frank, with that characteristic one-armed movement, flicked the ball wide to supporting players. He also had an instinct for doing the unexpected and the unorthodox, which made his play difficult to read. No-one ever relished the job of marking Frank Myler!
Frank first played for Widnes at the age of sixteen. By 1959, he had become team captain, and only the following year made his debut for his country, in the World Cup of 1960. He was back in the team for the World Cup of 1970! Frank had an inspiring and dominating presence on the field - as anyone who saw the Wembley triumph over Hull K.R in 1964 will testify. And there is another record, one which he still holds.
In 1970, at the age of thirty one, Frank was the captain of the "no-hope" Lions squad who went down under to take on a Test team which had beaten us easily in the series in this country only two years before. After a heavy defeat in the first Test, it looked as if history was going to be repeated. But the Myler-led Lions never lost another game on the whole tour! This is a record in itself, and Frank Myler still has the distinction of being the last British captain to lift the Ashes trophy in Australia.
His qualities of leadership, courage and experience were to serve his home even after his retirement in 1975. From 1975 to 1978, great years for Widnes, Frank was coach to the team. During that time he took the Chemics to Wembley twice, they made the Lancashire Cup a seemingly permanent fixture in the Widnes trophy cabinet; and also became League Champions for the first time. The foundations were thus laid for the great teams which were to follow. It is probably true to say that Widnes has never looked back since Frank's days as coach. In 1984, Frank was also appointed coach to the Great Britain team, fittingly capping his thirty year service to Rugby League.
Frank Myler never courted nor welcomed personal praise, but thousands of Widnesians will be glad that his achievements and his service will have this permanent record. Widnes will always be proud of Frank Myler, and his place in the Widnes Hall of Fame is assured.