True Blue legend and former NSW Blues coach Laurie Daley has been honoured as the recipient of the inaugural prestigious Waratah Award for his outstanding contribution to sport in New South Wales on and off the field.
The award, initiated by the NSW Office of Sport, was announced by Minister for Sport, the Hon. Stuart Ayres, at the NSW Champions of Sport Ceremony.
The Waratah recognises contributions beyond the sporting field and beyond any single year and will only be awarded in years when it is considered there is an outstanding candidate.
“This person is a member of the NSW Sports Hall of Fame and a member of the Team of the Century,” said Minister Ayres prior to revealing Daley as the recipient.
“He has represented NSW and Australia on the sporting field over many years, has captained NSW and Australia, [and] has coached NSW.
“[He] has provided great leadership and been a role model for indigenous Australians, [and] quietly supported many community causes.”
Throughout his five-year tenure as head coach of the NSW Blues Daley broke the eight-year Origin doubt and expertly transitioned a host of rising stars into players suited for the Origin arena.
Highly respected in the sporting community, Daley continued to use his sporting profile and passion for sport while he was the NSW coach to drive broader community outcomes.
His community spirit was never more evident than it was earlier this year when the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales was devastated by flooding.
Daley took it upon himself to contact the General Manager of Tweed Shire Council, Troy Green, to offer his assistance. The next day, he flew to the area to be with those in most need, to raise their spirits and to make it clear to them that others cared about their plight.
Minister Ayres presented the award to NSWRL CEO David Trodden, who accepted it on behalf of Daley who was unable to attend due to illness.