THE Rugby League community is today paying tribute to Country Rugby League Chairman Mr Wayne ‘Jock’ Colley OAM, who has passed away aged 61.
A highly-respected country footballer and coach, Jock played in a number of champion bush sides, including the famed 1973 Bathurst St Pat’s Premiership team, before devoting his passion for the game to administration.
As the President of Group 11, a Country selector, then as Chairman of the CRL since the end of 2008, Jock dedicated his career to the development of country Rugby League and to bringing elite matches to the bush for the enjoyment of country fans.
Jock was instrumental in bringing the Australia-France Test match to Parkes in 1990 and to seeing the annual AAMI Country-City match reaffirm its status as one of the premier fixtures on the representative calendar.
He has also worked tirelessly in enhancing the opportunities for country-based players to represent the CRL on an international stage, with annual overseas tours for the CRL representative side now among the highlights of the country Rugby League schedule.
In 2011 Jock received the Medal of the Order of Australia in honour of his more than 40 years’ service to the game.
“Jock was an inspiring leader for everyone he worked with at the CRL but, more than that, he was a man everyone was proud to call a friend,” Country Rugby League Chief Executive, Mr Terry Quinn, said today.
“Everyone who knew Jock marvelled at his passion for the game and at his drive to ensure country football receives the respect it deserves.
“On behalf of everyone involved in country Rugby League, may I offer our deepest sympathies to Bev and his family.”
ARL Commission Chairman, Mr John Grant, said: “Jock Colley’s passing is tragic news for everyone he touched in Rugby League.
“The contribution he’s made to the game as Chairman of the Country Rugby League in recent years, and prior to that over many years through playing, coaching and administration, has left an indelible mark on our game in country New South Wales and beyond.
“He will be sorely missed and our thoughts and best wishes are with his dear wife Bev, their children Craig, Tim, Deanne and Brent, and his entire family.
“The game of Rugby League has lost one of the good ones.”
Country Origin coach Laurie Daley, who played his first Test for the Kangaroos in the 1990 Test against France in Parkes, said: “I first met Jock when I was 18 and went out to a presentation night in Parkes.
“I wasn’t even a regular first-grader at the Raiders then and Jock made me feel so welcome and we have been mates ever since.
“He was someone I would always call for advice and the thing I loved was he was just a straight-shooter with a great insight into the game.
“It was a real privilege for me to work alongside Jock with the Country team.
“His passion for football just rubbed off on you and made you proud to part of the game.”