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The NRL has extended its deepest condolences to the family of legendary former rugby league journalist Alan Clarkson, who died overnight.

One of rugby league's most respected journalists, Clarkson was best known for his work at the Sydney Morning Herald and in famed television program 'Controversy Corner', alongside the likes of Ferris Ashton and Rex Mossop.

"Alan Clarkson was a legend in the field and will always be remembered fondly for the role that he played in the game," NRL Head of Football Todd Greenberg said.

Mr Clarkson was the chief writer for the Sydney Morning Herald and Sun Herald from 1967 to 1989, having started at both papers in 1954.

He covered five Kangaroos Tours, a tour of New Zealand in 1969 and the World Cup in the UK in 1970.

He was awarded an OAM in 1990 for his services to sport in journalism.