Rugby league world in mourning over death of Peter Mulholland

Peter Mulholland, pictured here with John Lang during their time at the Penrith Panthers.
Peter Mulholland (R) with John Lang during their time at the Penrith Panthers. Image: Getty

The rugby league world is mourning the tragic death of Peter Mulholland after the beloved former coach and scout died on Thursday at 68.

Mulholland's death from a rare form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was confirmed by the Canberra Raiders on Thursday.

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Mulholland cut his teeth at St Gregory's College Campbelltown where the likes of Mick Potter, Trent Robinson and Jason Taylor were under his tutelage.

His prowess in junior football earned him a shot at the big time with the introduction of the Western Reds, where he lured Mark Geyer to the start-up franchise in 1995.

He also spent time with Super League side Paris Saint-Germain.

But it was in recruiting where the man affectionately known as 'Skull' earned the respect of his peers.

He helped shape Penrith's premiership-winning roster in 2003 and brought both Dale Finucane and Josh Jackson to Canterbury.

After time with Newcastle and St George Illawarra, he became Canberra's recruitment manager in 2016 and his intimate knowledge of the English market helped land John Bateman and drive the club towards their first grand final in 25 years in 2019.

Rugby league rocked by death of Peter Mulholland

"The game has lost one of its greatest characters," said Canberra chief executive Don Furner.

"Peter Mulholland was one of the most loved and respected people in rugby league and there will be many wonderful stories and memories shared about him over the coming weeks.

"He was instrumental in turning around our club's fortunes and helping us make the grand final with some of his astute and targeted recruitment.

“Pete’s love of rugby league and his passion for what he did is what made him such a unique and respected person in our game, and I know we will all be poorer for his passing.”

Commentator Phil Gould tweeted: "Good man Peter Mulholland. So sad to hear of his passing, after his long and brave battle with cancer.

"He served rugby league all his life. Very popular with all in the game. Best wishes to his family and many friends. RIP".

Fellow commentator Yvonne O'Keefe wrote: "A true gentleman who gave his all to the game. Peter Mulholland was the best at finding and nurturing the stars we cheer for, but all along he was our true champion. Very sad."

Referee Kasey Badger added: "Deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Peter Mulholland.

"I have always said that he is one of the greatest men I have ever met. His absolute love of the game, and the support he always gave me, will never be forgotten.

"Rugby League has lost an amazing man."

A number of journalists and clubs also paid tribute.

with AAP

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