Legendary rugby league player Noel ‘Ned’ Kelly who signed his first contract on a beer coaster dies aged 84
- Former Western Suburbs Magpies NRL legend Noel Kelly has sadly passed away
- The former Australian hooker’s health suffered having after a heart attack in May
- Peter V’landys said Kelly will be remembered as one of league’s greatest players
Australian rugby league legend and team of the century hooker Noel Kelly died on Sunday afternoon, aged 84.
Kelly was suffering poor health after having a heart attack in May on the same date his former Western Suburbs Magpies teammate Arthur Summons died.
The legendary hard man played 28 Tests for the Kangaroos and three NSW rugby league grand finals for his beloved Wests Magpies, where he built a formidable reputation over 111 games and signed his first contract on a beer coaster.
On Sunday night ARLC chairman Peter V’landys said Kelly will be remembered as one of rugby league’s greatest players.
Former Western Suburbs Magpies NRL legend Noel Kelly has passed away after suffering a heart attack last month
‘He was the first front rower to tour with the Kangaroos three times on the 1959-60, 1963-64 and 1967-68 tours, a feat that will forever be etched in rugby league history,’ he said.
‘A deserved member of the National Rugby League Hall of Fame, “Ned” as he was fondly known, was an uncompromising forward.
‘As tough as they came, he was sent off 17 times playing for his beloved Wests.
‘His send-off 90 seconds into the 1967 second test again New Zealand will always remain part of our folklore.’
Kelly played 28 Tests for the Kangaroos and three NSW rugby league grand finals for his beloved Wests Magpies, where he signed his first contract on a beer coaster
Kelly’s achievements on the football field have been widely acknowledged.
As well as being named in the team of the century he was listed among the ‘100 Greatest Players over the first century of the game’ by the ARL in 2008 and was awarded an OAM for his services to rugby league.
He was also named captain and hooker of Wests Magpies Team of the Century in 2004.
But perhaps his biggest legacy is his generosity and compassion with the Men of League Foundation, of which he was a founding member.
‘Noel Kelly will forever be remembered as one of the game’s all-time greats. His loss today will be felt throughout the rugby league community,’ V’landys said.
‘On behalf of the game I send my condolences to Noel’s family and friends.’
Kelly (pictured back row furthest to the right) with the 1963-64 Australian rugby league squad