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The NSWRL was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of True Blue and Western Suburbs and North Sydney life member, John ‘Chow’ Hayes, age 84.

“He was highly respected and regarded and was a lifetime contributor to the game he loved at all levels,” NSWRL President Bob Millward OAM said.

“He carved out a successful career as a player for Wests before going on to coach North Sydney and will be sadly missed.”

Hayes was born in Marrickville and left school at age 14 to pursue a career as a professional Rugby League player and panel beater. He played his junior Rugby League with clubs including South Strathfield, Haberfield and Granville before capturing the attention of Western Suburbs Magpies.

A forward who could play prop, hooker or second row, Hayes made his debut for the Magpies in 1961 and went on to play in the Grand Final loss to St George Dragons that year. He was also selected to play for NSW on two occasions in 1961.

Hayes went on to play 160 games for the Magpies before retiring in 1970 to pursue a coaching career. He was in charge of the Magpies reserve grade side from 1971-73 taking them to the Semi-finals in his first year, before going on to coach the Bears in 1983-84.

Hayes later became a Chief Inspector in the NSW Police Force and was inducted as a Life Member of NSWRL, Western Suburbs and North Sydney.

The NSWRL passes on its sincere condolences to his family and friends.

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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