The NSWRL was today deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Rugby League Immortal Bob Fulton, aged 74.
Fulton held the rare distinction of winning premierships and Ashes series as a player, captain and coach before moving on to an equally successful career as a selector and commentator.
He was one of the original post-war Immortals chosen in 1981, was named in Australia’s Team of the Century in 2008 and was one of the original inductees in the NSWRL Hall of Fame in 2017.
“Bob Fulton was an absolute giant of the game across so many different areas,” said NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden.
“He was an Immortal as a player, a premiership winning coach and Australian coach and undoubtedly one of the most influential figures the game has ever seen across every level of the game.
“He was a NSWRL selection advisor for many years to a number of different NSW Blues State of Origin coaches. At the same time, he was an Australian selector.
“He and his family have retained a lifelong involvement with the Manly Warringah Club which is as strong today as it has ever been though the influence of his sons and daughter who have been instrumental in the successful resurgence of the Manly junior pathways teams over a number of years.
“The NSW Rugby League expresses its deepest sympathy to his family, friends and all in the Rugby League community, who are deeply saddened by his passing.”
Born in England in 1946 before moving to Wollongong when he was four, Fulton made his senior football debut for Western Suburbs at age 17 in the Illawarra Rugby League in 1965 before being signed by Manly Warringah Sea Eagles the following season.
Playing as a centre or five-eighth, he was a fierce competitor who could single-handedly turn a game and he became the youngest ever captain in Grand Final history when he guided the Sea Eagles in the 1968 decider against South Sydney Rabbitohs.
He won premierships with the club in 1972-73 and 1976 before signing with the Eastern Suburbs Roosters where he played three seasons before hanging up the boots in 1979. He played 263 games all up, scoring 157 tries, 26 goals and 58 field goals.
He made his NSW debut in 1967 and would go on to play 16 games for his state, winning 12 consecutive series before his representative career ended in 1978.
Fulton also played 35 Tests for the Kangaroos from 1968-78 where he won both Ashes series and World Cups.
After a knee injury forced him into retirement, Fulton turned his attention to coaching with his greatest success coming at Manly where he won titles in 1987 and 1996.
He also coached the Kangaroos to Ashes series and World Cups successes during his stint as national coach from 1989-98.
Fulton was also a selector for NSW and presided over the teams which won three consecutive series from 2003-2005.
He also enjoyed a successful stint as a commentator with 2GB’s Continuous Call team with Ray Hadley and Steve Roach both paying tribute to him today.
Fulton passed away after a long battle with cancer and is survived by his wife Anne, daughter Kristy and sons Brett and Scott and also his grandchildren.
Vale Bob Fulton.