Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) Chairman Peter V’landys AM has tonight paid tribute to Kangaroo Noel Kelly OAM who passed away this afternoon aged 84. He played 28 tests for the Kangaroos.
Mr V’landys said Noel created Kangaroos history during the 1960s.
“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,’’ he 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.”
Noel played in three NSWRL Grand Finals for Western Suburbs and was named in the Kangaroos team of the 1960s. In all he played 111 games for the Magpies and was named captain-coach in 1966.
Noel also made the ‘Team of the Century'; and named among the ‘100 Greatest Players over the first century of the game’ by the ARL in 2008. He was also named captain and hooker of Wests Magpies Team of the Century in 2004.
Noel, although as tough as they came, was also a man with a big heart being a founding member of the Men of League Foundation
“Noel Kelly will forever be remembered as one of the game’s all-time greats. His loss today will be felt throughout the rugby league community.”
“On behalf of the game I send my condolences to Noel’s family and friends.”