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League community mourns passing of Tom Tassell

Tributes are flowing for highly-respected Queensland Rugby League Northern Division life member Tom Tassell, who passed away this week aged 76.

Tom dedicated 50 years’ service to both junior and senior rugby league in North Queensland as either coach, administrator, selector, or advisor at all levels, and served most recently as a Director with the Jones Park Board of Management.

Tom Tassell.
Tom Tassell.

He was a life member of Cairns Kangaroos and Cairns District Rugby League and his wife Sandy recently became the first female Life Member of Kangaroos Junior Rugby League.

Such is the family’s standing in the community, the Tassell Trophy Challenge Under 14 Carnival – hosted by Kangaroos Junior Rugby League – has been played in their honour each September for the past 17 years.

Before turning his attention to helping others off the field, Tom was an outstanding rugby league player who moved to Mount Isa as a paid player in 1965 from Brisbane.

He played for Blackstars and then transferred to Townies; and in 1968 he played for North West Queensland against Great Britain.

In 1969, he scored the first try for Mount Isa in their 1969 Foley Shield victory – the first in Mount Isa’s history

He played for North Queensland in 1970 and 1971, lining up against the touring Great Britain team in ’71.

In 2008, Tassell was named in Mount Isa’s Legends of League team.

Tom Tassell with QRL's Robbie Moore.
Tom Tassell with QRL's Robbie Moore.

Northern Division Manager Scott Nosworthy described Tom as a “bloody good bloke” who was admired by many.

“Tom always told it as it was, including to me, which is a rare commodity in today’s society, but one I admired the most about him,” Nosworthy said.

“Many of the grounds in NQ this weekend will have a minute’s silence as a show of respect for a man who gave so much to our game up here.

“He will definitely be missed, but his legacy will live on through his family and his carnival.

Long-serving Cairns District Rugby League administrator Pat Bailey passed on her condolences to the Tassell family.

“Tom will be sadly missed for all the time in his life he devoted to our game,” Bailey said.

“He always brightened up my day with his bad jokes and humour! Rest in peace my friend.”

Tom is survived by his wife Sandy and three boys, who all were born in Mt Isa and played top level rugby league – Brad, Kris and Jason.


The family has since shared the funeral notice for Tom Tassell which is reproduced below:

The funeral service for Tom Tassell will be held on Friday, April 12, 2019, commencing at 2pm at Albany Creek Memorial Park, 400 Albany Creek Road, Bridgeman Downs.

For those who would like to view dad and say their goodbyes, this can be done prior to the service from 1.30pm.

We will have a function after the ceremony commencing at 4pm at Norths Devils League Club, cnr Amelia & Franklin Streets, Nundah.

Light nibbles will be provided. A cash bar will operate at the venue.

Please note the following:

Speeches at the ceremony will be limited to immediate family, however;

- Everyone will have the opportunity to say something about dad, tell a funny story or talk about how he has affected our lives at the function afterwards.

- We will be running a slide show at the ceremony and at the function. If you have a picture you would like to include. email it to Brad Tassell at before Wednesday, April 10, 2019.

The family looks forward to being with you all to celebrate the life of Tom Tassell.

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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