NRL: Aussie league 'Immortal' Bob Fulton dies of cancer, aged 73

Australian rugby league legend Bob Fulton - affectionately known as 'Bozo' - has died of cancer, aged 73.

Best known among Kiwi fans as a stalwart of Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles - arguably the most popular NRL club on this side of the Tasman before NZ Warriors were founded - Fulton was inducted as an inaugural 'Immortal' in 1981, after winning three premierships as a player.

He made 219 appearances for Manly from 1966-76 and 35 tests for Australia as centre or five-eighth, then embarked on a coaching career that included two more premierships at the helm of Manly. England-born Fulton became the first man to captain and coach the club to NRL titles.

Infamously, in his first season as a coach with Eastern Suburbs Roosters, Fulton opposed the State of Origin concept, describing it as the "non-event of the century". He played 16 games for New South Wales in the pre-Origin era, but never coached  in the Origin rivalry.

He did guide the Kangaroos national team for 39 games across nine years. 

"Bozo was a great representative coach, because he knew it," reflects Fox League commentator Greg Alexander, who played under Fulton for Australia.

"He knew just exactly how to treat the players. He gave them a bit of a leash, but as long as they turned up and put the work in.

"You couldn't have asked for a better representative coach, because Bozo knew exactly what made it work.

"Bozo had a great sense of humour. He could be serious too, but he was just a genuine bloke."

Longtime friend and commentary colleague Ray Hadley has announced his death on Sydney's 2GB radio station.

"It's a very sad day for the Fulton family and rugby league generally," says Hadley.

"I've announced some sad things on radio, but this could be the saddest. I'm going to miss him, he was a great man and the most loyal friend I've ever had."