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One of the original four Immortals, Bob Fulton has died, at the age of 74 after a battle with cancer.

The legendary Manly, NSW and Australian representative is survived by wife Anne, sons Scott, Brett and daughter Kristie.

His long-time mate and radio colleague Ray Hadley announced Fulton's passing on 2GB on Sunday.

"It is with great regret and sadness that I report Bob Fulton has passed away just a short time ago after a battle with cancer that was kept very private," he said.

"He was surrounded by Anne and his children and dear friend Royce Ayliffe when he went.

"He was first diagnosed some time ago and obviously those close to him knew of it and myself and Peter Peters were advised by Bob at the time. Some time during that later part of last year he was given weeks to live.

"He fought and fought and fought. One of the things he promised me he'd do he came to my wedding on the 27th of March even though he was not in the best of health.

"I received a message from Anne four days ago that things were not looking too good and that he'd be in contact with me shortly. That never occurred because he's passed away this morning in hospital."

Bob Fulton with Mal Meninga during a Kangaroos training session in 1992.
Bob Fulton with Mal Meninga during a Kangaroos training session in 1992. ©NRL Photos

Fulton had worked alongside Hadley for 32 years, forming an unbreakable bond on and off the airwaves, before he retired from radio at the start of 2020.

"He was the first of those Immortals and I always thought he would be immortal, I just thought he'd live forever."

ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys paid tribute to Fulton on Sunday.

One of the first four players to be granted Immortal status in 1981 - along with Clive Churchill, John Raper and Reg Gasnier - he represented Australia in 35 Tests as a player and on 40 occasions as a coach.

Bankwest remembers Bob Fulton

He represented NSW on 17 occasions and played 213 premiership games for Manly and 50 for the Roosters. He coached the Sea Eagles in 305 games and the Roosters 100 times.

"Today, rugby league has lost a true legend of our game," he said.

"The word legend is used a lot in tributes, but Bob was a genuine legend of rugby league. He was an original Immortal, a Kangaroo, a Blue and a club legend of Manly, winning three premierships as a player, including man of the match in the 1973 grand final.

Rugby league has lost a true legend of our game.

Peter V'landys

"As a coach he led the Kangaroos to two World Cup victories and Manly to two premierships. 

"He was also a great promoter of our game. His role on the Continuous Call Team over many years provided great humour and insight to fans every weekend.

"Bob will forever be part of rugby league’s DNA and our game is richer for having had Bob part of it.

Bob Fulton in action on the 1973 Kangaroo tour against Salford.
Bob Fulton in action on the 1973 Kangaroo tour against Salford.

"Today we’ve lost a giant of our game. On behalf of the rugby league community I send our deepest condolences to Bob’s family."

Sea Eagles chairman Scott Penn said the club was deeply saddened by the death of "Bozo".

"As the only person to both captain and coach the Sea Eagles to premierships, he will be forever remembered as one of our all-time greats," he said.

"We are forever in Bob’s debt for his passion and determination to make the Sea Eagles the best in the league."

"We send all our love and support to Anne, Scott, Brett and Kristie at this difficult time."

The Roosters issued a statement on Monday morning to say the club was deeply saddened by Fulton's death. 

"Fulton, Rooster #675, played 56 games for the Club between 1977-1979, winning the pre-season and mid-week cup in the Red, White and Blue in 1978 while taking over as captain-coach in 1979 before his retirement. 

"Fulton also took up a full-time coaching role at the club from 1980-1982, taking the Roosters to the 1980 grand final.

"One of Rugby League's inaugural Immortals, Fulton leaves a legacy as one of the greatest players and coaches in the code's history." 

Although known as the master of the unorthodox and a brilliant individualist who could single-handedly turn a game, the force that drove Fulton was a competitive spirit that coursed through his body.

It propelled him to great heights as a player and later as a coach at club and international level.

He holds the unique distinction of winning premiership titles and Ashes series as a player, captain and coach.

Born in England and raised in Wollongong, Fulton joined Manly as an 18-year-old and in 11 years with the Sea Eagles never played anything other than first grade.

In 1967, he was chosen as captain of City against Country in a selection trial for that year's Kangaroo tour, but was outpointed by Country pivot Tony Branson and missed out on selection.

However, he was included in Australia's World Cup squad during the following season, and went on to play 35 Tests and World Cup matches for Australia.

Fulton won premierships with Manly in 1972, 1973 (when his two tries paved the way for victory over Cronulla) and 1976, when he captained the Sea Eagles to victory in his final game for the club.

He then accepted a rich offer to join Easts, played two years there, and then turned to coaching, steering Manly to premiership titles in 1987 and 1996, and coaching Australia from 1989 to 1998.

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