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The New South Wales Rugby League has paid tribute to former NSW and Canterbury forward Barry "Punchy" Nelson who has passed away aged 89.

Nelson joined the Berries - as they were known then - in 1950 and went on to play 61 first grade games with them over the best part of a decade. A nuggety forward, he was known for his work rate and could do some damage in both attack and defence.

The highlight of his career came in 1959 when he won selection for NSW but his state debut was bittersweet and saw him suffer a broken jaw, ruling him out of contention for that year's Kangaroo tour.

After a two-year stint with Newtown in 1962-63 he finished his career at Wollongong. Prior to that he had honed his skills with seasons at Wollongong in 1952 and Gilgandra in 1956.

Nelson also enjoyed a long career as a police officer, and was as respected and popular with his colleagues in that field as much as he was in football circles.

A dedicated Canterbury stalwart, he went on to serve the club as Chairman from 1982-2002 during a period when they became a powerhouse of the game, and he ranks alongside Peter Moore as the club's guiding light during that time. Even after he stepped down, his heart was never far from Belmore.

Vale Barry Nelson.

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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