Manly Warringah Sea Eagles were saddened to hear of the passing last week of former winger Nick Yakich, aged 79.

Graded with the Sea Eagles as a winger in 1960 (player number 134), Nick immediately impressed with his speed and try scoring ability in open play.

He went on to play 73 first grade games with the club between 1960 and 1966, scoring 52 tries. His best season in the NSWRFL was 1964 when he crossed for 16 tries, only two behind the season's leading try scorer, St. George's test centre Reg Gasnier.

During his time with Manly, Yakich was considered one of the fastest players in rugby league behind only North Sydney's Ken Irvine and South Sydney's 1962 Commonwealth Games 100 yards Bronze Medallist, Michael Cleary.

Yakich (pictured) was also unlucky not to play more than three games for New South Wales (NSW) during his career, regularly competing with test wingers Irvine, Cleary, Johnny King and Eddie Lumsden (both from the record setting St. George Dragons of the 1960s) for a place in the side.

Yakich played all of his three games for NSW in 1965, scoring a try on each occasion.

Following the interstate series (won 4-0 by NSW), he was called up to the Australian squad to tour New Zealand, but was unable to displace Irvine and Cleary from the test team and only played in minor games on tour, though he was the squad’s leading try scorer on tour with 6 tries.

Nick’s brother, Fred Yakich (#145), played 40 first grade games for Manly after being graded in 1962.

A public wake will be held for Nick at North Narrabeen Surf Club on Tuesday, June 4, at 2.30pm.