NRL legend George Piggins, 75, reportedly rushed to hospital

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
South Sydney legend George Piggins was reportedly rushed to the Royal Prince Alfred hospital in the early hours of Wednesday morning, where he remains in intensive care. (Photo by Renee McKay/Getty Images)
South Sydney legend George Piggins was reportedly rushed to the Royal Prince Alfred hospital in the early hours of Wednesday morning, where he remains in intensive care. (Photo by Renee McKay/Getty Images)

South Sydney Rabbitohs legend George Piggins has reportedly been rushed to hospital in a serious but stable condition due to an infection.

The 75-year-old NRL great is in the intensive care unit at the Royal Prince Alfred hospital in Sydney, after he was taken there in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

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The Rabbitohs have been informed of Piggins' condition, but no further updates have been provided as yet.

Piggins was memorably the driving force behind the Rabbitohs' reinstatement to the NRL in 2002, after the club was excluded from the newly formed NRL in 1999.

He was at the centre of efforts in 2000 and 2001 to reinstate the Rabbitohs, leading a march of more than 100,000 fans to Sydney's Town Hall to gather support for the club.

The former hooker played for the Rabbitohs from 1967 to 1978, and coached the club from 1986 to 1990, including a minor premiership in 1989 - the club's last finals appearance until 2007.

The Rabbitohs' best and fairest award has been named after Piggins since 2003.

Despite his history with the club, Piggins briefly went through a falling out with the club after a strained relationship with new owners Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes a Court, however this was patched up in time for the club's 2014 NRL premiership.

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NRL insists back is not turned on Perth

The NRL insists its decision to take the second State of Origin back to Perth in 2022 shows it has not turned its back on the game's future in Western Australia.

Origin in Perth was seen as a success in 2019 when it sold-out the 60,000 seat Optus Stadium, at a time where expansion into the city was seen as a possibility.

Since then though, the NRL has made clear that Brisbane is its priority for a 17th team, with Peter V'landys also questioning later that year why money would be spent in AFL states.

But former chairman and current commissioner Peter Beattie maintained on Wednesday the door was not fully shut on the state.

Instead, he claimed that Origin would help build a foundation for the game to potentially one day expand with it.

The NRL has announced State of Origin will return to Perth in 2022. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
The NRL has announced State of Origin will return to Perth in 2022. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

"Forget about all the chatter, words are cheap, actions mean something," Beattie said.

"We are committed to rugby league in Western Australia. The fact we are bringing our premium product here next year demonstrates that.

"We want every little boy and every girl in this state to think about rugby league.

"As it grows then the opportunities grow. It's the national rugby league, we are growing it by building our best product here."

The state's league officials still hold hope of eventually having the NRL's 18th team.

Western Australia's rugby league numbers have long been on the rise, and in 2019 before COVID-19 the state had only around 100 fewer registered players than in Victoria.

That comes despite the Storm having been playing in Melbourne since 1998, while Perth's only team fell victim to the Super League war in 1997.

Beattie maintained on Wednesday that Queensland was the right move for the next team, but insisted the game was still focused on a national footprint.

"We are building our base and then we go from there," he said.

"The 17th team will be in Queensland, a decision will be made mid-year. Then after that we will just see, we are trying to build a national game.

"That's why we;'re back here. We're not fly-by-nighters, this is the second time we've been here.

"We want to build it up with these kids seeing their heroes."

Meanwhile the move comes with the series-opener already locked in for Melbourne this year, while Adelaide has been confirmed as a host for a match in 2023.

With AAP

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