The NSWRL is saddened to hear of the passing of one of the game’s true stalwarts and best talent scouts, Peter Mulholland.
Mulholland, who died after a long battle with cancer, was made a Life Member of the NSWRL in February 2020.
“Peter had in excess of 40 years continuous service to the game in many different capacities – coaching, administration, and playing,” CEO David Trodden said.
“He was universally respected by everybody. He was one of the great junior talent judges. He is a big loss to our game.”
NSWRL Regional Area Manager for Broken Bay on the state’s Central Coast, Keith Onslow, said Mulholland left an extensive legacy in Rugby League.
“There are so many people who owe their careers or livelihoods to Peter Mulholland for the influence he had on them at varying times,” Onslow said.
“We knew him as ‘Skull’ and he was always there for people as they were coming through or going out the other end. He could always make you laugh and even through his illness, he kept a smile on his face.
“It’s a pretty sad day because he meant so much to so many. I was always fascinated over how many people he knew. He just loved people – being with them and helping them. No matter who you were he treated everyone with respect and esteem.”
So how does a man like that get a nickname like Skull?
“Some of us called him the king of skulduggery because he was always up to something!” Onslow said.
Mulholland had an extensive 17-year playing history starting at Camden Rams in 1964, but which included time in Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs lower grades in 1973.
He went on to coach Western Suburbs Under 21s team in 1988, before taking on the job for the North Sydney Bears Reserve Grade team in 1993.
He was then headhunted to be coach of the Western Reds from 1995-96 before ground-breaking stints in roster management at five NRL clubs.
He was part of the Penrith 2003 NRL Premiership before moving to the Bulldogs in 2008, joining Wayne Bennett at the Newcastle Knights in 2011, then to St George Illawarra in 2014 and finally the Raiders for the 2016 season.
He was an instrumental part of Canberra’s recruitment and retention of players, throughout the club’s pathway programs through to NRL level.
“We will miss him heaps,” Raiders CEO Don Furner told nswrl.com
“He recruited pretty much all our players in the last five years and that was instrumental in getting us to the 2019 NRL Grand Final.
“The game has lost one of its greatest characters and we send our deepest sympathies to his wife Mel, his sons Heath and Ned and the entire Mulholland family at this very sad time,” Furner said.
Raiders coach and True Blue, Ricky Stuart, said the ‘Green Machine’ was one of many clubs lucky enough to be touched with a little of the Mulholland magic.
“He was a great bloke, very much one of a kind,” Stuart told nswrl.com
“He has touched so many lives over so many years of playing, coaching and recruiting.
“Obviously he played a significant role for the Raiders and I am fortunate to say that many of us here, who have worked alongside Pete, can call him our mate.”