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A NSWRL Life Member and former NSW Origin team manager, Darrell Bampton OAM, has sadly passed away after a lengthy illness. He was 74.

Bampton enjoyed a successful administrative career off the field as he did when playing Rugby League.

He held roles as both Club Captain and Chief Executive Officers in his impactful association with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

True Blue Wayne Pearce was coach of the NSW Origin team in 2000, when Bampton was team manager. The Blues swept the series against the Maroons 3-0.

“He was a very personable guy, and a fella who really cared about people,” Pearce told

“Darrell had a wonderful ability to make people comfortable in his presence. He never really got ruffled under pressure either and that’s another thing I liked about him.

“When he was manager of the Origin side there were a couple of situations, which required a cool head, and Darrell provided that.

“The two things that stand out for me was his love of the game and his affection and desire to help people. That’s why he was such a good manager.”

The Alexandria Rovers, Waterloo Waratahs and Zetland United junior graduated into the Rabbitohs senior club and captained Souths to the Presidents Cup Premiership in 1969, when it was a NSWRL Under 21s competition.

Bampton also played in South Sydney’s third grade competition that year and won the Grand Final against Canterbury-Bankstown.

He was nicknamed ‘Number Nine’ and debuted in first grade against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in round nine, 1970, going on to play 116 games for South Sydney from 1969-73 and 1978-79, including 51 in first grade, scoring one try.

He left Souths at the end of 1973 to join Collegians Wollongong as captain-coach.

He was captain of the victorious Illawarra CRL (Country Rugby League) side against Great Britain in 1975.

According to back in 1978 South Sydney’s new coach Jack Gibson urged Bampton to return to his home at Coogee and play again for the cardinal and myrtle.

He took up the offer with his form in the pre-season so good Gibson made him the club captain.

Retirement as a player opened the door for him to pursue football administration.

Bampton was CEO of South Sydney (1997-1999), NSW State of Origin manager (1999-2002), Tri-Series ARL manager (1999) for the Kangaroos, World Cup manager (2000), Kangaroos tour manager (2001) and ANZAC Test manager vs New Zealand (2002).

He was also appointed vice-president of the NSWRL (2002).

Bampton was awarded Life Membership of South Sydney in 1994, and again at the NSWRL in 2006. He was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to Rugby League in 2009.

The NSWRL would like to extend its condolences to the family and friends of Darrell Bampton, OAM. (Photo courtesy: South Sydney Rabbitohs)

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