NSW government in stunning backflip over Bob Fulton state funeral

·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Bob Fulton, pictured here before his tragic death.
Gladys Berejiklian has announced that Bob Fulton will receive a state funeral. Image: Getty

The NSW Government has responded to furious backlash and decided to offer the family of rugby league legend Bob Fulton a state funeral.

Former colleague and close friend Ray Hadley led the outrage on Tuesday morning when it emerged that Fulton would receive a memorial but not a state funeral.

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The veteran broadcaster, who worked with Fulton at 2GB Radio, blasted NSW Sports Minister Dr Geoff Lee over the decision.

“The Sports Minister, Dr Geoff Lee, is MIA,” Hadley said on air.

“He’s about as useful as a sunroof on a submarine. You’re a disgrace and you should be ashamed of yourself.

“If Bob Fulton can’t be afforded a state funeral... never in the history of this state will anyone connected with rugby league receive one.”

Later on Tuesday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian responded to the criticism and backflipped on the decision.

Ms Berejiklian said she was overwhelmed by requests for the honour for the former Manly and Eastern Suburbs player.

"Given groundswell community support, I have overruled the official advice I received and make this offer in recognition of Mr Fulton's remarkable contribution to rugby league," she said on Tuesday.

"On behalf of the people of NSW, I extend my condolences to Mr Fulton's family and friends."

Graeme Langlands, Bob Fulton and Andrew Johns, pictured here after being inducted into the NSW Team of the Century in 2008.
Graeme Langlands, Bob Fulton and Andrew Johns look on after being inducted into the NSW Team of the Century in 2008. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Rugby league rocked by death of Bob Fulton

One of rugby league's original four 'Immortals', Fulton died at 74 on Sunday after a long battle with cancer.

The tragic news rocked the rugby league world just hours before his beloved Manly produced an incredible performance in his honour to beat Parramatta 28-6.

Fulton made his debut with Manly in 1966 and was a part of the club's first three premierships, playing centre or five-eighth.

His most famous performance came in their 1973 grand final success, where he scored two tries in the 10-7 win over Cronulla.

Fulton's career was ended prematurely after 269 games when he was cruelled by a knee injury in 1979.

He played 35 Tests for Australia and 16 matches for NSW.

Bob Fulton, pictured here during a match between the North Sydney Bears and Manly Sea Eagles in 1993.
Bob Fulton looks on during a match between the North Sydney Bears and Manly Sea Eagles in 1993. (Photo by Getty Images)

Such was his influence as a player, he was inducted as one of the sport's first four 'Immortals' alongside Johnny Raper, Reg Gasnier and Clive Churchill in 1981.

He later coached Manly to two titles in separate stints at the club in 1987 and 1996.

He also spearheaded the Australia side for seven years, winning World Cups in 1992 and 1995 along with victories in 32 of his 39 games in charge.

Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans fought back tears on Sunday as he spoke of the legacy of one of the game's greatest-ever players.

"Rugby league can be such a cruel game sometimes, it gives you some of the lowest points but it gives you the highest points," he said.

"The best thing I and the team could have done today was perform well out of respect to the news.

"It's not until after the game that it's all hit and it's really saddening.

"He is someone who has made such a massive mark on the game, these moments are never easy to swallow but I hope in some small degree we've made his family proud on what will be a difficult day for them."

with AAP

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