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Manly coach Des Hasler has remembered his long-time mentor Bob Fulton as "an absolute legend of our game".

One of the original four Immortals, Bob Fulton died on Sunday, at the age of 74 after a battle with cancer.

Sea Eagles players wore black armbands for Fulton and observed a minute's silence and big-screen tribute at Bankwest Stadium for Sunday's clash with Parramatta.

"Bozo has been an absolute legend of the game," Hasler said in a Channel 9 interview before the Sea Eagles took on Parramatta, offering his condolences to Fulton's family, having known the club icon for well over 30 years.

"To many of us he was a friend, a mentor, his legend that he brought to the game while he was playing and then as a coach and an administrator will never be forgotten.

74. Bob Fulton - Hall of Fame

"He just brought that dynamic which was always an exciting dynamic. It's a day of sadness for the immediate family and also for the many, many people that he touched over his lifespan."

Hasler played under Fulton at both club and Test level while the Immortal was also an advisor to him throughout his time as Manly coach over two stints.

ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys also remembered Fulton as a giant of the sport.

"Today, rugby league has lost a true legend of our game," V'landys said in an official statement.

"The word legend is used a lot in tributes, but Bob was a genuine legend of rugby league. He was an original Immortal, a Kangaroo, a Blue and a club legend of Manly, winning three premierships as a player, including man of the match in the 1973 grand final.

"As a coach he led the Kangaroos to two World Cup victories and Manly to two premierships. 

"He was also a great promoter of our game. Bob will forever be part of rugby league’s DNA and our game is richer for having had Bob part of it.

"Today we’ve lost a giant of our game. On behalf of the rugby league community I send our deepest condolences to Bob’s family."

Hasler pays tribute to close friend Fulton

Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett played with Fulton in the Australian team in the 1970s and against him at state level.

"I coached against him a lot and we were Australian selectors together when I was a coach. I've seen a lot of players and he was up there with the greatest players I have ever seen in our game," he said.

"He was a hell of a competitor as well. He was someone that hated to lose as a player and a coach. He was a pretty innovative guy as well. A great loss to the game. He was Manly through and through."

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary made his first-grade debut under Fulton in the early 1990s at Manly.

"It was a real shock. I only heard that just before the warm-up," he said after Sunday's win over Souths in Dubbo.

"Bozo was … That was sort of when I became a first-grader, when he was the coach. He actually taught me lots of lessons, but one in particular I'll never forget," he recalled.

"I was injured one week and I thought I was being tough to play the next week. I thought, 'I'm doing a good job because you're supposed to play injured'. My knee was strapped up and we were just about to play Newcastle up there.

"He comes up to me and he goes, 'Why is your knee strapped?' I said, 'Because I hurt it last week'. He said, 'Mate, once you go out there, you're not injured', and walked off.

"I was rattled. I went out and I had a shocker in the first half, then he sprayed me at half-time. Lucky we won that game and he came up to me and said well done, mate.

"It's one I've used on a few players over the years. [Fulton is] a real loss to the game, obviously an Immortal. I feel for his family and Manly and the Roosters."

Ray Hadley, who had worked alongside the former Kangaroos coach for three decades, announced Fulton's death on 2GB.

"He was the first of those Immortals and I always thought he would be immortal, I just thought he'd live forever," he said in his emotional on-air tribute.

Sea Eagles chairman Scott Penn said he would "be forever remembered as one of our all-time greats".

"We are forever in Bob’s debt for his passion and determination to make the Sea Eagles the best in the league."

NSWRL chairman David Trodden echoed those sentiments, speaking on behalf of the Blues.

"Bob Fulton was an absolute giant of the game across so many different areas," he said.

"He was an Immortal as a player, a premiership-winning coach and Australian coach and undoubtedly one of the most influential figures the game has ever seen across every level of the game.

A triumphant Bob Fulton is chaired off by his Manly teammates after the 1976 grand final.
A triumphant Bob Fulton is chaired off by his Manly teammates after the 1976 grand final.

"He was a NSWRL selection advisor for many years to a number of different NSW Blues State of Origin coaches. At the same time, he was an Australian selector.

"He and his family have retained a lifelong involvement with the Manly Warringah club which is as strong today as it has ever been though the influence of his sons and daughter who have been instrumental in the successful resurgence of the Manly junior pathways teams over a number of years.

"The NSWRL expresses its deepest sympathy to his family, friends and all in the rugby league community, who are deeply saddened by his passing."




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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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