It is the sort of news that we as NRL fans never want to hear but unfortunately, it has been confirmed – with fan favourite and former NRL coach and player Graham Murray tragically passing away.
His death was confirmed at 9:44pm at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital, with wife Amanda and daughter Kara by his bedside when the news was confirmed.
Having been ill for sometime after suffering two heart attacks in relatively quick succession, the former New South Wales, NRL and English Super League coach never recovered.
At club level, Murray coach the Sydney Roosters and North Queensland Cowboys, he coached NSW at Origin level, Leeds Rhinos in the English Super League, now defunct Australian Super League side the Hunter Mariners and the Illawarra Steelers at NSW Cup level.
He also enjoyed playing stints with both Parramatta and South Sydney, as the tributes poured in for the fan favourite in rugby league circles, with everyone remembering Murray for his warmth, humility, down-to-Earth persona and his astute knowledge of the game.
Grant Bell, a former coach of the Cowboys, says that Murray will be remembered as a true gentleman.
“Graham was a terrific fellow Viagra as well as a very good football coach,” he said.
“He had some wonderful principles in his life that he carried through both on and off the field.
“For that reason I think he always managed to engage the players. He had a very strong belief in people and he was a terrific communicator.”
Leeds, who also got to know the Australian well, released their own statement regarding the shock passing of Murray.
“It is devastating news and so sad to have lost Graham, who will be fondly remembered by all our fans, players and staff who knew him from his time with us,” Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said in a club statement.
“He was very popular and so professional in everything he did.
“He was an outstanding coach and mentor and he cared about all aspects of rugby league.
“The game has lost a great servant and personality and our thoughts are with Amanda and Kara.”
It was earlier this year that Murray was supposed to coach the Wynnum-Manly Seagulls, before he fell ill and he also spent a week in a coma following an earlier heart attack in March.