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The New South Wales Rugby League pays respects to the late John “Mick” Falla who passed away earlier this week at the age of 83.

Falla started his long involvement in rugby league as a junior with Coogee and McMahons Point, before he graduated to the North Sydney Presidents Cup team in 1957 and was graded by them later that season.

After spending 1958 with the Bears he moved to the bush to hone his skills with Glen Innes and returned to Sydney a more polished and complete player. He linked with Souths and went on to enjoy seven seasons with the Rabbitohs (1961-67), and played 123 matches for the club at the time as they were building to a golden era.

His experience was a vital component in the Rabbits’ rise, and whilst he often had to play second fiddle to Jim Lisle he was often captain even when called up from reserve grade, a measure of his standing.

After retiring as a player Falla served South Sydney as an official and then became a representative selector, firstly with Metropolitan sides and then NSW (1979-2000) and Australia (1980-95). His sagacity and perspective were always highly regarded although his work was always done without seeking publicity.

His long, varied and amazing career were recognized by Life Membership of South Sydney in 1992 and the NSWRL in 2000, and he was an active member of Men of League until recent years.

Vale Mick Falla.