Manly coach Des Hasler remembered his longtime mentor Bob Fulton as “an absolute legend of our game”.
One of the original four Immortals, Bob Fulton died Sunday at the age of 74 after a battle with cancer.
The Sea Eagles players wore black armbands for Fulton and observed a minute of silence and a big-screen tribute at Bankwest Stadium for Sunday’s clash with Parramatta.
“Bozo has been an absolute legend of the game,” Hasler said in an interview with Channel 9 before the Sea Eagles attacked Parramatta, offering his condolences to Fulton’s family, who have known the club icon for over 30 years. .
“For many of us he was a friend, a mentor, his legend that he brought to the game while he was playing, then as a coach and administrator will never be forgotten.
74. Bob Fulton – Hall of Fame
“He just brought this dynamic which has always been an exciting dynamic. It is a day of sadness for the immediate family and also for the many people he touched during his life.”
Hasler played under Fulton at club and test level, while the Immortal also served as his advisor throughout his tenure as Manly coach for two periods.
ARL commission chairman Peter V’landys also remembered Fulton as a sports giant.
“Today the rugby league has lost a true legend of our game,” V’landys said in an official statement.
“The word legend is used a lot in tributes, but Bob was a true legend in the rugby league. He was an original Immortal, Kangaroo, Blue and a legend of the Manly club, winning three Prime Minister positions as as a player, including the 1973 Grand Final Man of the Match.
“As a coach he led the Kangaroos to two World Cup victories and Manly to two prime minister positions.
“He was also a great promoter of our game. Bob will always be part of the DNA of the rugby league and our game is richer because Bob was part of it.
“Today we lost a giant in our game. On behalf of the rugby league community, I extend our deepest condolences to Bob’s family.”
Hasler pays tribute to close friend Fulton
Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett played with Fulton on the Australian squad in the 1970s and against him at the state level.
“I coached a lot against him and we were Australia managers together when I was coaching. I saw a lot of players and he was up there with the best players I have ever seen in our game,” a- he declared.
“He was a hell of a competitor too. He was someone who hated losing as a player and a coach. He was also a pretty innovative guy. A big loss for the game. He was manly through and through.”
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary made his freshman debut under Fulton in the early 1990s at Manly.
“It was a real shock. I only heard that right before the warm-up,” he said after Sunday’s win over Souths at Dubbo.
“Bozo was… It was kind of when I was a freshman, when he was a coach. He actually taught me a lot of lessons, but one in particular that I will never forget,” recalls- he.
“I was injured one week and thought I was difficult to play the next week. I was like, ‘I’m doing a good job because you’re supposed to be playing injured.’ My knee was tied up and we were out. pretty much play Newcastle up there.
“He walks up to me and says, ‘Why is your knee tied up?’ I said, “Because I hurt him last week.” He said, “Dude, once you get out, you’re not hurt” and he left.
“I was shaken up. I got out and got a shock in the first half, then he sprayed me at half time. Lucky we won this game and he came towards me and me. Said well done, mate.
“It’s the one I’ve used on a few players over the years. [Fulton is] a real loss for the game, obviously an Immortal. I feel sorry for his family and for Manly and the Roosters. “
Ray Hadley, who had worked alongside the former Kangaroos coach for three decades, announced Fulton’s death on 2GB.
“He was the first of those Immortals and I always thought he would be immortal, I just thought he would live forever,” he said in his moving tribute on air.
Sea Eagles president Scott Penn has said he will “be remembered forever as one of our all-time greats.”
“We are eternally indebted to Bob for his passion and determination to make the Sea Eagles the best in the league.”
NSWRL President David Trodden echoed those sentiments, speaking on behalf of the Blues.
“Bob Fulton was an absolute gaming giant in so many different areas,” he said.
“He was an Immortal as a player, an award-winning coach and coach from Australia and without a doubt one of the most influential figures the game has ever seen at all levels of the game.
“He was NSWRL Selection Advisor for many years for a number of different NSW Blues State of Origin coaches. At the same time, he was Australia coach.
“He and his family have retained a long-standing involvement with the Manly Warringah club which is as strong today as it has ever been thanks to the influence of his sons and daughter who played a role. instrumental in the successful resurgence of the Manly Junior Track teams over a number of years.
“The NSWRL extends its deepest sympathies to his family, friends and all members of the rugby league community, who are deeply saddened by his passing.”