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The NRL was saddened to learn of the passing this week of noted Indigenous rugby league player Wally McArthur, a member of the Aboriginal Australian rugby league team of the century.

Born in Borroloola in the Northern Territory on 1 December 1933, McArthur was a strong short-distance runner and played in the South Australian and Western Australian Rugby League in his early days.

McArthur went on to become the first Indigenous person to play for an English rugby league club.  Between 1953 – 1959, McArthur played a total of 165 games on the wing with Rochdale, Blackpool, Salford and Workington Town.  He scored a total of 611 points during this time.

In 2008, the centenary of rugby league in Australia, McArthur was named in the Aboriginal Australian rugby league team of the century.

“The passing of Wally is a deep loss for our rugby league community and for our Indigenous community.  We mourn Wally’s passing and remember his great passion for our game, both here and abroad,” said Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council Chair, Linda Burney MP.

The NRL community extends its condolences to the family of Wally McArthur.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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