Tributes have been flowing in for Manly Immortal, Bob Fulton, following his passing yesterday, aged 74.
Fulton played 213 first grade games for Manly from 1966-76 and is the only person to both Captain and Coach the Sea Eagles to premierships.
He won premierships as a Manly player in 1972, 1973, and 1976 (captain) and coached the Sea Eagles to the 1987 and 1996 premierships.
Here is just a selection of tributes from former Sea Eagles team-mates, players, coaches, and officials.
Ken Arthurson, 'The Godfather of Manly'
"Bob is the best player to have ever played the game. He was one of those players who had the natural ability to turn a game at the drop of a hat. He was an outstanding player. He was a natural."
Max Krilich, 1978 Manly premiership winning captain
"Where do I start with my dear friend. 'Bozo' and I go back 50 odd years when we first got together on an away trip with Manly. I was a reserve grade player and we became friends. This friendship lasted and we enjoyed a premiership victory together in 1976. I had coffee with Bob a month ago and we chatted and laughed like the 18-year-olds we were when we first met. Bob was a great friend and a person who helped me out in difficult times because he could, and he wanted to. I have always regarded Bob to be the best player ever for Manly, NSW, and Australia. Having 'Bozo' in my life has been a blessing. He has been a fantastic and true friend, loyal, and always willing to give a hand. The world was a better place for having him in it and he will be sadly missed by not only myself but many, many people whose lives he has touched. My condolences to all of the Fulton family, wife Anne, children Kristie, Scott, and Brett, and all the grandchildren."
Frank Stanton, Manly Premiership winning Coach (1976, 1978)
“Bob was the best player I’ve ever played with and the best I’ve ever coached. He is amongst the top three players I ever saw. The other two were Malcolm Reilly and Alex Murphy. Bob was ahead of his time as a player with his work ethic and fitness levels. He deserved and worked hard for everything he achieved. Bob also turned to be an outstanding international Coach and one of the best Coaches Manly has ever had.”
Russel Gartner, Manly premiership winning centre (1976, 1978)
"Rest in Peace, 'Bozo'. I am proud and honoured to have had the privilege of playing with the greatest. Your nurturing and friendship was always cherished and will be remembered for a lifetime. To Anne, Scott, Brett, and Kristie, and families, our deepest sympathy on this saddest of times. 'Frogs' Gartner and family."
Terry Randall, 4 x Manly premiership winning forward
"I first met Bob in the 1970s when we played Jersey Flegg for Manly. What an inspiration he was to me with the way he used to train. Coming out of the juniors, I had no idea really about how to train and the best way to do it, so I used to follow Bob. He was that far ahead in terms of training knowledge. He was a real athlete who worked on his speed and he would train every day. By training with Bob, it certainly helped me with my fitness. He would always ask me to come sprinting with him and we would head to the gym after a session to do weights. He just knew what to do. We became very good friends and I used to go pig hunting with him and we did it for many years. His great mate, Royce Ayliffe, used to join us. Bob also loved riding quad bikes and because he knew Kerry Packer well, he would often get us on the right properties to ride. Bob was a great friend and person and I’m very sorry to see him go. My deepest condolences to his wife Anne and their children, Brett, Scott and Kristie."
Steve Menzies, NRL Hall of Fame
"A sad day for rugby league. 'Bozo' was the greatest coach I ever played for. His influence on my career was enormous. His vision to nurture my hidden talents and allow me to have the career I did, I will always be grateful. My condolences to the Fulton family."
Cliff Lyons, NRL Hall of Fame
“Bob was the best Coach I ever had. He was the main reason why I came to Manly. I frequently think about the video sessions he used to put us through, the good and the bad ones. Without Bob being in charge of the Kangaroos, I might not have got a start in the second Test match at Manchester after we lost that first Test on the 1990 tour of England and France. My heart and thoughts go to the Fulton family. His wonderful wife Anne, and children Brett, Scott and Kristie, who have all been heavily involved and have done great things for our Club. We have lost Bob way too early."
Paul Vautin, 1987 Manly premiership winning Captain
"Bob Fulton came to coach Manly in 1983. He immediately turned me into a better player. He gave me more confidence in every aspect of my game and his coaching of the whole team was refreshing and exciting. And in the six years that he coached me, he made training and playing rugby league much more fun. After a Grand Final loss in 1983, Bob worked even harder at his craft and we, as a team, hit the jackpot in 1987 when we defeated Canberra 18-8 in the Grand Final. It was a wonderful team to be involved with and 'Bozo' never coached better than he did in 1987. It was a great reward for him. It was very sad to hear of his passing and my sympathies go out to Anne and the children."
Bob Fulton Highlights
Noel Cleal, 1987 Manly premiership player/Recruitment Officer
"Bozo was like a second father to me. We shared a great and successful time on the field. He was my coach for nine years and all my achievements and successes can be attributed to him. However, it was off the field that we shared a greater bond, especially time spent up on his farm. Be it hunting, doing cattle work or playing euchre, fun was the essence. If Bob liked you, you were one of the luckiest people in the world. He was generous to a fault and a wonderful family man. To Anne and the kids, my deepest sympathies. Les, my brother, and my sons, Gareth and Kane, were like family to him. Rest in Peace mate.
Warwick 'Wok' Bulmer, Long serving Manly official
"Bob Fulton was not only the greatest Manly player, he was one of the all time great rugby league players. He was incredibly strong, brilliant ball runner, and a match winner. The greatest accolade I can give 'Bozo' is put him in the Cronulla side of 1973 and Parramatta team of 1976, and they win the premiership, not Manly. To Anne and family, our thoughts and prayers are with you at this particularly sad time. Rest In Peace 'Bozo' on that green footy field up yonder."