NRL Hall of Fame member, Western Suburbs Magpies great and NRL Team of the Century member Noel Kelly has died, aged 84.
Widely regarded as one of the toughest men to have played the game, Kelly represented Australia 28 times and went on three Kangaroos tours.
ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys led the tributes to Kelly on Sunday night.
"He was the first front-rower to tour with the Kangaroos three times on the 1959-60, 1963-64 and 1967-68 tours, a feat that will forever be etched in rugby league history," V'landys said.
"A deserved member of the National Rugby League Hall of Fame, "Ned" as he was fondly known, was an uncompromising forward.
"As tough as they came, he was sent off 17 times playing for his beloved Wests. His send-off 90 seconds into the 1967 second Test again New Zealand will always remain part of our folklore."
59. Noel Kelly - Hall of Fame
Born in Ipswich, Kelly also played for Ipswich Brothers, Ayr and Wollongong during a senior club career that spanned 244 matches.
When the NRL Team of the Century was announced in 2007, Kelly was named at hooker alongside front-rowers Arthur Beetson and Duncan Hall.
During his playing days for the Magpies, ''Ned'' was sent off 17 times, though some were for scrum ''wheeling and dealing'' in days when every scrum was a battle.
In the second Australia–New Zealand Test of 1967, he and big Kiwi Robin Orchard were sent off in the first 90 seconds, with Kelly having rendered Orchard horizontal with a left hook.
Events such as that one and plenty more (such as his joyful dive for a try during the record-breaking 50–12 second Test win that claimed the Ashes in 1963) made Kelly one of the most robust and popular players to ever pull on a boot.
Once his playing days were over, Kelly served the game as a Board Member and Ambassador for the Men of League Foundation.
Wests Tigers chairman Justin Pascoe paid tribute to Kelly.
"Noel not only played a key role in the success of Western Suburbs, Queensland and Australia, but was also a significant contributor in helping to establish the strong history of Wests Tigers and the connection to its foundation clubs," Pascoe said.
"This is a very sad day for our game as a whole, and I am sure Noel’s legacy will continue to live on in the rich annals of rugby league history forever."