Former South Sydney and Rooster players are planning to rent a bus this week to pay their last respects to modern game champion, Dolly M winner Robert ‘Rocky’ Laurie.
Laurie, 66, had been battling a mental health battle for several years and, despite widespread support from her old peers, could not be saved.
His death was tragic, but not shocking, for old teammates who remember the brilliance of the player who illuminated the Sydney Premiership in the early 1980s.
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Laurie spent his life after a football match at Waushope on the NSW Mid-North Coast, and his funeral will be held there, expected this weekend.
Gary Wright, a former teammate and good friend from the South, told the Wide World of Sports: “He was really struggling emotionally for years but he was a champion block that could do something for you.”
“He was an ordinary country man who was a great footballer.
“Rocky was a genius on the field – happy to be playing as well.
“He just had a bad time – if 1980 had been the last year of the Test football season, he would have played for Australia.”
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In a difficult time, Wright thinks of fun times off the field.
“We went to the Gold Coast at the end of a one-year season trip,” Wright said.
“And we went to one of the places where there was a big mechanical bull.
“I tried one and I was in so much pain that I couldn’t walk for three days.”
Laurie is survived by his wife and three adult daughters.
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