Ronald William Willey (1929–2004) was an Australian rugby league footballer and coach. He was a representative for the Australian national side. Post-playing, Willey had a long and successful first grade and State representative coaching career.
|Full name||Ronald William Willey|
|Born||20 November 1929|
|Died||24 September 2004(aged 74)|
Born in Canterbury, New South Wales in 1929, Willey was graded by the Canterbury-Bankstown Berries in 1948 as a Centre, but was soon shifted to Fullback, and was the Berries regular first-grade fullback and goal-kicker from 1949 to 1953. In 1951 he was appointed captain for four games at the age of 21. He held the record as the youngest Bulldogs captain until Braith Anasta in 2002.
He joined Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in 1956 and played a total of 124 games over seven seasons for the club including their unsuccessful 1957 and 1959 Grand Final attempts. In his last season as a player at Manly in 1962, he was captain-coach. He held a record for the most points scored at Manly until overtaken by Graeme Eadie in the 1970s.
In 1962 he overtook Bernie Purcell's record for the most points scored in an NSWRFL career (1,152); Willey's eventual total of 1,288 stood as the new career record for four seasons until it was bettered by Keith Barnes in 1966.
Willey joined the Parramatta Eels in 1963 but only played seven games before retiring in 1964.
A player of immense talent, Willey played in an era where Clive Churchill was the incumbent representative fullback, denying Willey many selection opportunities. He became the first Canterbury local international when he was selected on the 1952–53 Kangaroo tour.
After missing most of 1953 and the entire 1954 season through a serious knee injury, Ron returned to the game as captain-coach of Rockhampton and represented Queensland that year.
In 1956, Ron played two games for New South Wales.
Willey returned to Manly in 1970 for a successful five season tenure as a non-playing coach. During this time he guided them to their first New South Wales Rugby League premiership in 1972 and repeated that premiership success in 1973. In this, his second coaching stint at Manly he enjoyed an extraordinary 74% win rate.
Willey coached English side Bradford Northern for a short stint and led them to the Premiership final and success in the Yorkshire Cup in 1989–90.
He coached for a total of 17 seasons and 403 matches.
- Travis Meyn (13 April 2013). "Gold Coast Debutant Anthony Don Brings A Top Rugby League Pedigree To The Game". The Courier Mail. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
Bernie Purcell (1959)
Most points in an NSWRFL career 
1962 (1,155) - 1966 (1,288)
Keith Barnes (1966)
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Ken Arthurson (1957–1961)
George Hunter (1968–1969)
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Tony Paskins (1963)
Frank Stanton (1975–1979)
- Heads, Ian and Middleton, David (2008) A Centenary of Rugby League, MacMillan Sydney