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Listening to the raucous voice of Ray Hadley and Co last weekend my mind wandered back to listening to the best caller of rugby league of all time ? Frank Hyde. Those were the days when I listened to Frank?s calls of the match of the day on 2SM. Most radio stations in the country areas of NSW took this broadcast.
Frank Hyde?s knowledge of the game made him the great caller he was. If you took into consideration his league playing background you could understand why he was so successful.
Hyde commenced his rugby league career in 1925 playing with St Patrick Marist Brothers, a school that had a great record of developing players. He then progressed to playing with Newtown in 1936. In 1937 they tasted victory in the City Cup played over the second half of the season. They managed a close win over Easts 57 to 5.
Hyde?s career was mainly played under the residential rule and Balmain discovered he was still living within the Millers Point area and he was forced to play with Balmain the next year. However, being made Captain possibly made up for any disappointment he would have felt. Even though he had to change clubs, his impressive play, which came to the fore the year before, continued. This led to his selection for NSW against NZ and Queensland. He then played for NSW in 1939 as well as the City side. Good fortune continued for Hyde in 1939 as Balmain took the minor premiership and the premiership as well.
The Second World War saw the commencement of the end of Hyde?s career. After transferring to Newcastle for work in 1940 he played with a local club in that area and played for Country in the City versus Country match. But the residential rule was to bite again in 1941.
He went back to Sydney and played for Balmain in 1941. However, he was found again to be living in the North Sydney area and was forced to move to North Sydney. North?s would have been pleased because he finished up taking them to one of their first grade premiership deciders since 1922.
However, injuries allowed Newtown to win the Grand final. Hyde then retired. His career of radio calling was about to start.
The respect that Frank Hyde has been held in is shown by so many ways:
1. He was voted into the Team of the century for West Tigers; 2. He has been awarded the AOM and MBE for his services to Rugby League; 3. He won the ratings for 2SM in his time slot for calling rugby league for 31 years. All sport broadcasters look up to this record and can only hope they can match it, but with our pathetic callers these days it will be a long time before this record is broken. 4. Even though he never made a kangaroo tour he was always invited to their reunion dinners.
I think a quote from Mike Gibson sums up Frank Hyde?s life behind the microphone. Gibson quoted ?Most of today?s callers smart enough will realise there will only be one Frank Hyde and shouldn?t be silly enough to try to copy him. In the business of calling football matches, Frank created a wonderful tradition that today?s commentators have carried on. I don?t think any of them will ever be Frank Hyde, nor would they want to be. I think everyone in the radio game accepts that Hyde was the voice of rugby league and always will be.??
A lot of people don?t realise that his life revolved around his family and his Christianity. He always pointed to the achievements in his life as the direct result of his faith and the sacrifices made by his parents.
I know my football career was kindled by the gravelled voice of Frank Hyde. I don?t know how many pillows that I used to tackle out and pretend they were the opposition players while he held me in a trance like state though his commentaries.
For me his words ?It?s long enough ? high enough and its straight between the posts? will live forever in my memory
Thank you for your contribution to football and my memories ?Mr. Frank Hyde?
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