League legend Tommy Raudonikis useless at 70

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Rugby league nice Tommy Raudonikis has died at age 70 after a protracted battle with most cancers.

The previous Western Suburbs, Newtown, NSW and Australia star was one of many recreation’s most vibrant characters. He was simply days in need of his 71st birthday.

His loss is being mourned by fellow gamers, his former golf equipment and the NRL.

Tommy Raudonikis talks ‘Cattledog’ on The Footy Present

“Tommy was considered one of a sort. There’ll by no means be one other Tommy Raudonikis,” ARL Fee chairman Peter V’landys stated.

“Tommy was every part that makes rugby league the best recreation of all. He grew up in a migrant camp in Cowra and went on to turn out to be NSW’s first Origin captain.

“As a participant there have been none more durable. He was an excellent halfback, what he lacked in stature he greater than made up for in smarts and braveness to turn out to be top-of-the-line gamers of his period.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison additionally paid tribute.

“Condolences to the household of Tommy Raudonikis, a well-loved Australian and particular person,” Morrison stated on Wednesday.

“All of those that love their rugby league will definitely find out about Tommy Raudonikis, he was considered one of recreation’s largest characters and shall be sadly missed within the rugby league household. Honest condolences to his household and to the rugby league household as effectively.”

Raudonikis captained NSW in 1980’s inaugural State of Origin recreation and in addition went on to teach the Blues, giving beginning to the notorious ‘Cattledog’ name; urging his gamers to begin a struggle with Queensland. His NSW facet gained the 1997 sequence 2-1, within the season divided by Tremendous League, earlier than being overwhelmed 1-2 the next yr by the Maroons.

Raudonikis performed in an period the place beer and cigarettes had been thought-about a necessary a part of his footballing weight loss plan, but starred within the recreation as a consequence of his unbelievable smarts and toughness. The little halfback was a ferocious competitor who embodied the ‘Fibros’ period of the Western Suburbs Magpies.

He performed 201 first grade video games for the Magpies, adopted by 37 for Newtown. He performed a complete of 24 matches for NSW and 60 for Australia, together with 29 Exams. Throughout all competitions, he performed 403 elite-level video games between 1969-83.

Raudonikis gained the Rothman’s Medal within the 1972 NSW Rugby League season whereas enjoying along with his beloved Magpies. He was named within the Western Suburbs crew of the century in 2004.

A primary grade premiership eluded him. He performed within the 1981 grand closing, captaining Newtown in opposition to Parramatta, however the Jets had been overwhelmed 20-11 on the SCG.

Raudonikis coached his beloved Magpies for 114 video games from 1995-99. It was a tricky period for the membership, with little success, and the membership merged with the Balmain Tigers on the finish of 1999 to type the three way partnership Wests Tigers.

“There are few icons within the historical past of rugby league that can stand as tall as Tommy Raudonikis,” Wests Tigers chair Lee Hagipantelis stated.

“Tommy wore the black and white with fervour and fervour like no different and is revered for his contribution to our membership, our state and our nation.  

“Tommy will all the time be remembered as a real legend and unequivocally essential a part of the material of Western Suburbs and, in flip, Wests Tigers, and his legacy within the recreation will definitely reside on within the DNA of our membership.”  

Tommy Raudonikis returns to Western Suburbs

Wests Tigers chief government Justin Pascoe stated: “Tommy is actually an inspirational a part of our membership’s historical past and somebody with whom I enormously appreciated spending time with.

“His knowledge, perception and fervour for our membership and recreation was like no different, and I completely loved the time studying from and listening to him.

“He’s doubtless the fiercest competitor I’ve ever met and is somebody whom I be deeply remembered and missed by everybody related to Wests Tigers.”

Raudonikis was born in Bathurst, NSW, the son of immigrants; a Lithuanian father and Swiss mom. He was an engineering apprentice with the RAAF for a number of years earlier than rising to stardom in rugby league.

Along with his inimitable character and trademark gravelly voice, Raudonikis additionally grew to become a media favorite with rugby league followers.

He labored on 2GB’s Steady Name Workforce, and was finest mate’s with 2GB proprietor John Singleton, in addition to vibrant stints on 9’s The Footy Present.

“Few did extra to advertise our recreation than Tommy, whether or not it was at a luncheon on tv or radio, Tommy was all the time there to speak up the sport he cherished,” V’landys stated.

“He made folks giggle as one of many recreation’s nice larrikins and epitomised the eagerness and tribalism that’s distinctive to rugby league.”

“On behalf of all the rugby league neighborhood, I ship my deepest condolences to Tommy’s household and associates.”

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