The NSWRL is deeply saddened after the passing last night (Friday 2 August) of NSWRL Life Member, President and former Chairman John Chalk AM and would like to pass on its sincere condolences to his family and many friends.
Chalk had a long and distinguished career in Rugby League and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2016 “for significant service to Rugby League as an administrator at the state and national level, and to Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth.”
“It’s a sad day for the game of Rugby League following the passing of John Chalk,” NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden said.
“John was a tireless administrator and a visionary who served on the boards of the NSWRL, ARL and NRL during a crucial period of the game’s history.
“He always acted with integrity, made decisions with Rugby League’s best interests at heart and wasn’t afraid to fight for what he believed in.
“The game is worse off for his loss. We have lost a leader, a colleague and a close mate.”
Chalk, a plumber by trade, had been involved with the Balmain Tigers since 1955 when he was a ball boy and served 55 consecutive seasons as a player and administrator in Rugby League clubs and associations affiliated with the NSWRL.
He served as both a manager and selector for the Balmain Tigers Jersey Flegg team and other lower grade teams before joining the club’s board in 1985. He was subsequently a long standing Chairman of Balmain Tigers.
He had the honour of becoming the first chairman of the Wests Tigers board when foundation clubs Balmain and Western Suburbs merged in 1999.
Chalk joined the NSWRL, ARL NRL boards from 2001 and served as both ARL and NSWRL chairman between 2010 and 2012.
He was considered one of the architects in establishing the ARLC in 2010 claiming it was time “to park all our egos and get the big end of town involved in the administration of the game." Beyond his many achievements at his beloved Tigers, this achievement in presiding over the creation of the Australian Rugby League Commission was his enduring legacy to the game.
Chalk has been president of the NSWRL since 2013 and was awarded Life Membership of the NSWRL in 2015.
He dedicated himself to giving back to society through charity organisations and was humbled after being recognised for Australia Day Honours.
“In a way it’s a thank you for what you do but you don’t do it for that reason, you do it because you believe in it,” Chalk said. “That’s the main objective for everybody. It’s a great honour.
“I’ve got a favourite saying: “old people have memories, young people have dreams.” I hope I can keep dreaming how good it can be. My encouragement to young people to achieve is what I get the most joy out of. My work with the Indigenous people, I get great joy out of seeing people succeed.
"We’re all part of Australia – to me it doesn’t matter what colour you are, what religion you are or whoever your God is, may they bless you. For some unknown reason I see through all that and it doesn’t worry me. I regard everyone as equal.”