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Warriors' first trainer Bob Lanigan passes away

Rugby league has lost one of its most endearing – and enduring – characters with the death of long-time NRL match manager and foundation Auckland Warriors trainer Bob Lanigan.

The affable ‘Bobby’ or ‘Lano’, who was 81, will always have a special place in Warriors history as original head coach John Monie’s first strength and conditioning coach from the day the club made its debut in the old Winfield Cup against Brisbane on March 10, 1995.

He was much loved by staff and players alike during the club’s formative years with current assistant coach and club legend Stacey Jones and ex-Warriors head coach Frank Endacott among those who recalled him fondly after hearing news of his passing today.

Lanigan was with the Warriors from 1995-1999, starting at the club with Monie after working with him in his Parramatta coaching days in the 1980s. When Monie signed with Wigan, he took Lanigan with him to England and then to Auckland.

Lanigan immediately formed a strong bond with then-Kiwi coach Endacott, who at the time was also coaching the Warriors’ reserve grade side. It led to him joining Endacott as Kiwi trainer from 1996-2000 while he also had stints as a rugby union trainer in Japan and Wales.

He was anything but lost to rugby league when he finished up in New Zealand.

Instead he went on to create a legend as an NRL ground manager, a role he filled at grounds throughout Australia and New Zealand at more than 650 games including grand finals, State of Origin games and Test matches.

He cherished opportunities to return 'home' to Go Media Stadium, greeting all those he knew with his irrepressible smile and a sparkle in his eyes. It was always a joy to see him.

While Lanigan will be recalled for his contribution as a match official he was much more than that in rugby league.

As a goal kicking winger he made 68 first-grade appearances for Newtown from 1964-1969 scoring 462 points (fifth highest first-grade points scorer in the club's history). He then headed to the bush where he played for the Griffith Waratahs in 1970 as captain-coach, Dapto Canaries form 1971-72, Erina Hawks from 1973-74 and Macquarie Scorpions in 1975 before coaching the Erina Hawks from 1976-1979.

Lanigan also had a huge love of boxing, being close friends with legendary trainer Johnny Lewis since their childhood days. Lewis took Lanigan as his corner man for world champions Jeff Fenech, Kostya Tszyu and Virgil Hill.

The One New Zealand Warriors join the NRL in extending their condolences to Lanigan’s wife Glenda, daughter Dearne, grand-daughters Killarney and Tyla-Belle and son-in-law Gavin.

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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