The tight-knit Valleys Rugby League community is in mourning, following the loss of one of their own, dual premiership winning halfback and former skipper Ross Threlfo.
Originally from Newcastle club Waratah-Mayfield, Threlfo joined Valleys in Brisbane in 1964, and the following year led the side in their 15-2 loss to Redcliffe in the grand final.
That was Redcliffe's first premiership, with future 'Immortal' Arthur Beetson in the second row. Threlfo and Beetson tied for first place in the prestigious Courier-Mail Best and Fairest competition that year, and each received 25 pounds.
In 1969, Threlfo was runner-up in the Rothmans Gold Medal Best and Fairest Award, behind another halfback, Johnny Brown, from Norths. Norths beat Valleys 14-2 in the grand final.
Threlfo had to wait until 1970 to claim his first title, when Valleys defeated Norths 13-11 in a match still widely regarded as the finest grand final in BRL history.
Threlfo and Valleys did it again the following year, this time beating Easts 18-10.
In 1972, Threlfo was halfback in Valleys' heart breaking 16-15 loss to Easts, a match decided by a last minute field goal, kicked by Jeff Fyfe, who passed away recently.
Threlfo retired after that loss, with more than 200 first grade games to his credit, most of them alongside five-eighth Marty Scanlan. St George (Sydney) import Ross Strudwick succeeded Threlfo as the Diehards' halfback in 1973.
Threlfo had lived at Evans Head in northern New South Wales since 2009, but was a regular as Valleys' reunions, and received many visits from former teammates, particularly after his wife Irene passed away seven years ago.
In recent years, Threlfo has battled ill health. He died on Monday, at Ballina, aged 77, with family members and several Valleys stalwarts at his bedside, one of them Marty Scanlan.