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The NSWRL is deeply saddened by the passing of Tommy Searle, who was an integral part of rugby league for over half a century.

Searle arrived at Tweed Heads Seagulls in 1972 and immediately made the club a powerhouse. They hadn’t won a game the year before he took the reins but qualified for the Grand Final that year, the first of eight times they made a decider under his guidance.

Searle became renowned as player, coach, mentor and father figure to several generations of players from northern NSW. With son Michael he drove the campaign to bring an NRL team back to the Gold Coast, and he acted as their recruitment and development mastermind once the Titans entered the competition in 2007.

Universally respected in the game, Searle will be sorely missed and the NSWRL would like to pass on our sincere condolences to his family and friends.