Jack Martin Award

Jack Martin Award

Summary of Jack – written by his dear friend and LCA Life Patron, John Knipe

I suppose you could describe Jack Martin with one word “HUMBLE “ —–
On reflection, I suppose I was lucky enough to be one of his best friends over the last 15 years of his life and that thought pleases me no end as I had not pondered that before.


Mr Jack Martin Mr John Knipe
Mr Jack Martin. Mr John Knipe.


Quite apart from our bondship with the LCA, we visited each other, say, no more than 3 weeks apart, especially when they lived on the Central Coast. I would either go down there or Jack and Joyce would come to the vineyards for lunch and a laugh ,, then my home, or, we would meet somewhere in the middle

Even when they went back to Dee Why to live, it continued, but in latter years we would meet half way at “Stephanies” our favourite little restaurant at Erina.

Then every July, Jack and Joyce had a vacation on the Gold Coast and I was not invited but ordered to spend a week or two with them, which I thoroughly enjoyed doing. And in between all that there was a weekly phone call, EACH WAY,

And then there was there were the many many car trips to-gether to attend LCA Board meetings and other functions when I would pick him up from his home on my way down .


Those car trips to Board meetings were so funny and interesting…..one third of the trip was spent discussing either last weeks footie results or discussing next years teams or NRL in general. The second part of the trip, we listened to one of Hal Roach`s tapes (Jack had every tape) and we laughed and laughed.

Jack had a wonderful sense of humour, loved to tell a yarn himself and any yarn Jack told could be repeated anywhere in any company. The final leg of the trip was swapping notes about our families or any good or bad news either of us was experiencing. Of course, the trip home was RELIVING the meeting we had just attended.

We had no secrets from each other, and that included Joyce.

Licensed League Clubs have not always been the magnificent buildings they are today. Most Metrop Clubs were born in the 50’s or early 60’s. Every Leagues Club I know has had a more than humble beginning , the only Asset they had was their blind loyalty to their team.

Jack’s emergence into Clubland was with Manly Leagues Club who, had their beginning by purchasing an old home in the Manly area and they finally obtained a license and Jack was appointed as their first Secretary Manager.

Prior to that he worked at the GPO (now Australia Post) , so he was no academic, never the less, he guided the Club to success by knocking on doors for money, hard work, long hours and using one of his best attributes.”COMMON SENSE” .

Prior to his appointment he was very much involved in Manly Junior League and Manly Referees Association and was later in life made a Life member of both groups.


Very early in the 60’s, Jack received a phone call from, I am pretty sure it was Latchem Robinson of Balmain fame, and he was invited to have lunch with Latchem and the few other Secretary Managers that were in existence at that time and that group subsequently became the Leagues Clubs Association.

I first met Jack when I was appointed to the Board in May 1983. Both of us at the time served under Mo Wilson as Chairman and our irregular meetings were always held at Wentworthville Leagues Club, mainly because the CEO of that Club was also Secretary of the LCA. With all due respect to Mo Wilson, the Association was in a vegetable state. Mo’s policy was “if the clubs want something they will come to us—UNTIL THEN… if it aint broke then don`t fix it”.

Such a policy often seen me driving from Cessnock for a 30 minute meeting and there were a few times on the way down I think I passed myself going home.

However, the Association started very steady growth in Jack`s first of 14 years as President, and as that growth continued it became necessary to replace our Honorary Secretary with a full time and appropriately paid Secretary and that was David Costello, a good choice because, besides any ability David had, he had served his time under Jack at Manly Leagues Club, so they knew how each other operated.

The growth of LCA from that time is well documented.
There were numerous times in that growth period that Jack showed his humility ( I will enclose a list of major issues developed under his leadership ). The Ass went from some 30 or so member clubs to over 60 clubs and we had become a force in the Public Forum and debated on such important issues as opposing Government on things like 1 the installation of Poker Machines in Hotels 2 the fight against the huge jump in Poker Machine tax etc.

Jack Martin as President would have been fully entitled to be issuing “Press Releases” under his name and rank and he probably was expected to take part in the many radio “talk back”. Programmes. That was not Jack’s go….Press releases etc were presented by our paid Secretary on “behalf of the Association” .

In all the happy years I served with him on our Board, I can’t recall him ever, in connection to the Association, saying the word “I” , it was always “WE”.

I always admired him for the concern he showed for the little country Clubs, I use the term “little” in comparison to the Metropolitan Clubs.There were 5 or 6 occasions I went with him to visit Country League Clubs, sometimes staying overnight if too far from home, to promote the Association but also to point out to them what the Association could do for them and ask them if they had any problems we could help them with.

Two examples of his care for Country Clubs come to mind.
The first was when Bathurst Leagues were in financial trouble and Jack with and through David Costello co-opted the services of two other Metropolitan Leagues CEO’S and the four of them went to inspect the Bathurst operation and offer their opinion and assistance.

The other occasion was with the Newcastle Knights who were in the process of establishing a Licensed Club and I was asked to consult for them. They had organised a firm to carry out the interviews and appoint a CEO and the fee they were going to charge was $30,000. On hearing that I rang Jack and said “We can do something here can’t we ?”. The firm were told their services were not needed and Jack, David Costello and I conducted the interviews, all day. IRONIC! Our choice for the job was a guy named “PETER TURNBULL” who had a change of heart overnight. There were many other occasions like that.

It was a disappointment to Jack that he could not convince the majority of Board and our CEO’S to nourish the relationship with smaller Clubs, although, eventually most of them joined anyway. Finally on this point , I am sure that never was a request made to cover petrol and accommodation expenses.

All of the above did not interfere with his attention to Metropolitan Clubs, besides Board meetings he was a regular attender at CEO Meetings, deputations to Govt, attending Presentation nights at member Clubs etc.etc and hours of conversation with David Costello and some members of Board of which I was proud to be included .

He was totally committed to the Association (as was Joyce also). Of all the time I spent with him personally and outside of Board, I would estimate 75% of that time, including holidays in Queensland, was spent discussing the Association. His opening comment almost daily was “How can we improve things?” His love for the Association was only matched by his love for Rugby League.

Very often when Jack was making a speech or just in a group talking to people I wondered why is this guy so much liked and respected. The answer was…….
Whether he was speaking on a dais or just in a group , there were no fancy words, no raised voice while he looked you in the eyes.

In all probability, he was asking you about your family, he had an amazing memory for faces and I often noticed in awe how he could mix with something like 130 delegates after a General Meeting and call nearly everyone by their Christian name.