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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.
The Canberra Raiders are deeply saddened by the passing of the club's Recruitment and High-Performance Director Peter Mulholland following a long battle with illness. https://t.co/1krtCcdbyl
— Canberra Raiders (@RaidersCanberra) December 16, 2021
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.
Vale Peter Mulholland.
We’re saddened to hear the passing of much-loved rugby league icon Peter Mulholland.
Peter loved the game of rugby league, and rugby league loves him.
The RLPA passes on our deepest condolences to his family and friends. He's going to be sorely missed. pic.twitter.com/Z5FdimH4kN
— RLPA (@RLPlayers) December 16, 2021
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.
Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Peter Mulholland. A phone call to ‘Skull’ was like sitting at the front bar with a history teacher, talent scout, coach and father. He cared immensely for the game. He loved Netflix. They should make a doco on him. Icon of rugby league.
— David Riccio (@DaveRic1) December 16, 2021
Rugby league has lost a champion. RIP Peter Mulholland
— Dean Ritchie (@BulldogRitchie) December 16, 2021
— St George Illawarra Dragons (@NRL_Dragons) December 16, 2021
Deeply saddened by the passing of Peter Mulholland. I've known Peter for 30 years since he was North Sydney reserve grade coach. Pete was one of the most uplifting and positive people in the game and he approached his illness with the same attitude. He will be missed by so many.
— Brad Walter (@BradWalterSport) December 16, 2021
Very saddened to hear of the passing of Peter Mulholland. A legendary figure at @StGregorysColl he has positively impacted so many in a rich & rewarding life. Passionate, dedicated, talented & warm. I am forever grateful for your guidance. Condolences to Mel and family 🙏🙏🙏
— Jimmy Smith 🇦🇺 (@ThatJimmySmith) December 16, 2021
Shattered by Peter Mulholland’s passing. Have been in regular contact since he left the Knights to help build the Raiders into a premiership force. Respected, trusted, a great operator but even better bloke who was always upbeat even in the face of his cruel battle. RIP Pete.
— Barry Toohey (@BarryToohey) December 16, 2021
Australian sport lost one of the good guys today.
Peter Mulholland, one of the finest men in rugby league.
Inaugural coach of the Western Reds, led the team for two seasons. Such a super bloke, so sad.
— adrian barich (@adrianbarich) December 16, 2021
Our thoughts are with the friends and family of the late Peter Mulholland, as well as our @RaidersCanberra fam. 💙
— Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (@NRL_Bulldogs) December 16, 2021
VALE. Peter Mulholland - one of the greats - spent nine years in Panthers colours and was Assistant Coach in 2003 as the club claimed its second premiership. Our sincere thoughts are with Peter’s family, friends and colleagues at @RaidersCanberra. pic.twitter.com/fQwFxb3cU5
— Penrith Panthers 🏆 (@PenrithPanthers) December 16, 2021
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