Tributes pour out for ‘very best’ legend Fulton

Endless tributes have poured out for late rugby league Immortal Bob Fulton after the Manly legend lost a battle with cancer at the age of 73 this morning.

In a flood of tributes led by legendary Wide World of Sports commentator Ray Warren, Fulton was remembered as one of the greatest-ever players, a legendary coach, a staple of 2GB’s The Continuous Call Team and a tremendous man.

When prompted by Eels great Peter Sterling on his class as a player, Warren had enormous praise.

“He was up there with the very best, Peter,” Warren said on Nine’s NRL coverage.

“When I first came into Sydney broadcasting I thought he was the best player I had ever seen, and I still rate him right up there with the very best. He was an outstanding player.

“He had all the attributes of being an Immortal and he came through in the Immortals system with Clive (Churchill) and Reg (Gasnier) and ‘Chook’ (John) Raper, the first four inducted into rugby league immortalisation.”

The Continuous Call Team‘s Mark Riddell, the former Dragons and Eels cult hero, remembered Fulton as a great friend.

“For me coming in as a young bloke (to The Continuous Call Team), he was extremely good to me,” Riddell said in a moving edition of the famous 2GB radio show.

“He was probably the biggest kid of all of us, wasn’t he, on a Saturday afternoon? I used to have an absolute ball. He loved it and he accepted me. He brought me in and we talked a lot of footy, but we used to have a lot of fun, as well. We’re going to miss that.”

David Morrow of The Continuous Call Team recalled his interactions with Fulton on Australia’s 1990 Ashes tour of Great Britain, which saw the Kangaroos win the three-Test series 2-1.

Morrow was working with Channel 10, Fulton was the coach of the Kangaroos and they spent a lot of time with each other.

“We went out a lot of times together for different things and I found a different Bob Fulton,” Morrow said.

“I found a Bob Fulton that a lot of people didn’t know – a really nice bloke. I’m not saying I didn’t know that before, but I didn’t know him personally like Ray (Hadley) did.”

Morrow said Fulton’s impact on rugby league was monumental.

“He spent his entire life playing, coaching, broadcasting and giving to this great game,” Morrow said.

“It’s like a dagger in the heart.”

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 the 1992 and 1995 World Cup finals.

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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