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The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) and National Rugby League (NRL) joined many today in paying tribute to a pioneer of the game, John Chalk AM, who passed away overnight.

Mr Chalk had a long and distinguished association with the game as an administrator with the Australian Rugby League, New South Wales Rugby League and the Balmain Tigers.

He was widely recognised as a key architect in establishing the ARLC, encouraging the game to strive for its potential and prosper at all levels.

ARLC Chairman, Peter Beattie AC, said the passing of Mr Chalk would be felt across the rugby league community for many years to come.

“John was one of the best administrators the game has ever been fortunate to include,” Mr Beattie said.

“He never lost his sense of inclusiveness or his humility at any level of the game, no matter who he engaged with.

“He was a visionary who wanted only the best for rugby league and he will be remembered for his determination to see this game succeed, with a willing sense of unity.

“We will continue to strive for the best interests of everyone involved in rugby league, based on John’s philosophy.”

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said Mr Chalk had revolutionised the administration of rugby league over many years.

“John enjoyed enormous success throughout his time with rugby league, forming many friendships over an administrative career spanning decades,” Mr Greenberg said.

“He led with a focus for what was best, no matter whether you were a player, a participant or a fan, and I’m grateful that he was part of our game for so many years.”

Mr Chalk was a plumber by trade, who quickly grew a fondness for the game of rugby league.

After many years serving at many levels of the game, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2016 for ‘significant service to rugby league as an administrator at state and national level, and to Indigenous and Non-Indigenous youth.’

Mr Chalk joined the NSWRL, ARL and NRL boards from 2001 and served as both ARL and NSWRL Chair between 2010 – 2012.