Jake Trbojevic has detailed how Bob Fulton helped Manly keep him and brother Tom as youngsters, with NSW to make the legend's funeral part of their State of Origin camp.
Blues players will take a break from preparations on Friday to attend the state funeral at St Mary's Cathedral as a squad, with training moved to early in the morning.
Fulton's service was front of Trbojevic's mind when he entered Blues camp on Sunday night, even asking coach Brad Fittler if it would be possible if he could attend.
Rugby league immortal Fulton was a NSW selector for 18 years and also coached the likes of Fittler and Blues advisor Greg Alexander.
"As soon as I got into camp I wanted to find out if I could go," Trbojevic said.
"Obviously he is Manly's greatest ever player and a big influence on our club.
"Me and Tom we negotiated a contract with him, so we got to know him well then.
"He is obviously a big presence and has a real big aura about him when he was in the room.
"Similar to Mal when he walks into a room."
Fulton was a consultant to Trent Barrett at Manly during the Trbojevic's early years.
He was regularly in discussion with the Trbojevic brothers, their parents and grandmother when they re-signed long-term in October 2016.
At the time Jake was 22 and Tom 20.
Fulton claimed then it would be the most important signing at the club for some years, before the pair both became Origin and Kangaroos stars.
"He sat down with Tom a lot and did individual video and stuff on his fullback, defensive play and positional play," Trbojevic said.
"He worked really hard with Tom there and he is obviously reaping the rewards."
Fulton and the late Tommy Raudonikis were recognised at Monday night's True Blues dinner, with the former having died of cancer last month aged 74.
The Manly legend played 17 games for NSW between 1967 and 1978, before becoming a selector in 1999 until 2016.
"He was such a big presence for Manly and I know the Blues too. He probably had a big effect on all the staff, coaching them," Trbojevic said.
"I was never coached by him but when you talk to Steve Menzies, who was, they just love him.
"They just talk about how he had a good knack of getting the best out of people."