Tributes flow for Bozo at emotional state funeral

Tributes have flowed for the late great Bob Fulton at the rugby league Immortal’s state funeral today.

An esteemed list of the game’s most decorated figures were in attendance to honour the life of ‘Bozo’, as he was affectionately known, who died last month at the age of 74 after a battle with cancer.

Among the most touching of memories shared at Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral were that of his family, namely his son, Brett, who recalled heartwarming stories of his father’s love.

“He was the centre of our universe, he would talk to us multiple times a day,” he said.

“You knew it was Dad calling because it was a private number and he would always greet us with a familiar, ‘Listen’.

“[His grandchildren] will never forget him or the lessons learned.

“From a young age I had a desire to want to make you proud. I hope I did that.”

Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Health Minister Brad Hazzard attended the service, along with the game’s administrators including Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V’landys.

Both the entire NSW Blues squad and Manly Sea Eagles were in attendance and formed a guard of honour.

Fulton’s former colleagues, broadcasters Ray Hadley and Alan Jones paid tribute to their close friend.

“This is a very sad moment for many of us but in a sense, no one ever dies until the memories fade away, and we have very special memories of Bob,” an emotional Jones said.

Ahead of the funeral, V’landys also took time out from his morning media schedule to honour the memory of Fulton.

“It is a very sad day, certainly a very sad day for the family foremost, and our hearts go out to them,” V’landys said on 2GB.

“But it will be a funny day, because Bozo was a joker, that’s how he got his name. What an inspiration he is to everybody, he was a migrant from England, lived in a fibro home in Unanderra, rose to play for Australia and become a legend.

“Bob was an Immortal, but more-so he was also inducted into the National Sport Hall of Fame, a very rare situation for a rugby league player. That’s the esteem he was held in, that’s the great player that he was, and a coach, and then later on he was a funny addition to the Continuous Call Team.”

Fulton made 213 appearances for Manly between 1966 and 1976, scoring 129 tries and winning premierships in 1972, 1973 and 1976. He also played 50 games with Eastern Suburbs.

He single-handedly won the 1973 NSWRL decider against Cronulla, scoring two tries in a phenomenal display in the centres in what was a bloodbath of a match.

Fulton was also a star in representative footy, appearing in 35 Tests with the Kangaroos and making 17 appearances for NSW.

He began his coaching career with Eastern Suburbs in 1980, before coaching Manly in two stints between 1983 and 1999 in which he won premierships in 1987 and 1996. He coached Manly in 305 games and Eastern Suburbs 100 times.

Fulton also took on the job as Australia’s coach in 1989, guiding the Kangaroos in 39 Tests. He was at the helm during successful 1990 and 1994 Kangaroos tours and won two World Cups, in 1992 and 1995.

He remains one of just two people alongside rugby league Immortal Mal Meninga to have gone on four Kangaroo tours, having toured as a player in 1973 and 1978 and then coach in 1990 and 1994.

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