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The New South Wales Rugby League pays respect to the late Ron Lanesbury, who passed away yesterday.

Lanesbury gave a lifetime of service to Rugby League and was regarded as one of the game’s greatest-ever servants, especially in the Hunter River hinterland.

“Ronnie was passionate about all rugby league but particularly regional Rugby League and its Junior Leagues,” NSWRL Head of Football Bert Lowrie said.

“He was at the forefront in establishing the Country Junior Rugby League and Council and ensuring that all Junior Leagues and members had a voice.

“Ronnie pioneered the Country Junior Rugby League Championships in what was a precursor to today’s format. Ronnie’s wisdom, guidance and friendship will be sorely missed.”

NSWRL Deputy Chairman John Anderson OAM said: “Ronnie was a legend of Rugby League in regional NSW who gave more than 50 years of service to the game.

“He was a tireless administrator who always had time for other people and no job was ever too hard for him.

“The game will be poorer for his loss and I would like to extend my deepest condolences to his many family and friends.”

After a long playing career, Lanesbury gave nearly half a century of further involvement as an administrator, mentor and mate to many.

A Group 21 legend, he served as President of the Group from 1980-97 as well as being a delegate and Management Committee member of the Country Rugby League for over four decades. He was also a long-serving director of the NSW Leagues Club.

Lanesbury was deservedly acknowledged with Life Membership of his beloved hometown Muswellbrook Rams as well as Group 21, Northern Division, the CRL and NSWRL. He also has trophies and awards that were named in his honour.

To his wife Jean, family and many friends the NSWRL offers its condolences.