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Former Australian international and Manly premiership winning halfback Dennis Ward has passed away, aged 77. 

Ward, who later worked as a coaching and development director for the Queensland Rugby League, was man-of-the-match in the Sea Eagles inaugural premiership triumph against Eastern Suburbs Roosters in 1972. 

He was also involved in a controversial incident that has become known in rugby league folklore as "the greatest try never awarded" during the 1972 World Cup final against Great Britain in Lyon, France.

Replays have since shown that Kangaroos fullback Graeme Langlands was on-side when he chased and caught Ward's kick but the try was disallowed by French referee Georges Jameau.

With the match ending in a 10-10 draw, Great Britain retained the Paul Barrière Trophy as the defending World Cup holders.

Ward made his Test debut for Australia on the 1969 tour of New Zealand and wore the No.7 jersey for the Kangaroos in four fixtures at the 1972 World Cup, including the final.

Just weeks earlier, he had guided the Sea Eagles to their first premiership just in a team that included the late, great Bob Fulton, Graham Eadie, Malcolm Reilly, Terry Randall and Fred Jones, who also passed away this year.

Fred Jones leads from the front

A statement released on behalf of Manly said: "Our deepest condolences to the family of Dennis Ward, who passed away in Brisbane yesterday, aged 77.

Dennis was our 1972 premiership winning half-back. He played 80 first grade games for the Sea Eagles."

Ward also played three seasons for Canterbury before joining Manly in 1968.

Branighan makes it three tries in three-straight grand finals

He moved to Newcastle in 1973 to captain-coach Wests Rosellas and was chosen on the 1973 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France, but his involvement was limited to playing club matches.

He later coached Wynnum-Manly Seagulls and made a playing comeback in 1980 before taking on a coaching and development role with the QRL.

Ward died in a Gold Coast hospital on Saturday after a long battle with stomach cancer. He is survived by wife Cheryl, daughter Justine, sons Matthew and Benjamin and seven grandchildren.

 

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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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