When legendary Channel Nine commentator Ray “Rabs” Warren first came to Sydney as a young broadcaster in the early 1970s, fresh out of radio station 2LF (Young), he was like many Australians sports fans: he had his favourites.
In rugby league it was Bob Fulton.
Fulton, who sadly passed away this week aged 74, would become a Manly Warringah Sea Eagles legend and rugby league “Immortal”.
To young Rabs, though – who was actually four years older than Fulton – he was just his favourite.
“I just loved watching him play. He was my favourite player to watch,” Warren said.
Fulton was many people’s favourites.
By 1974 when Warren was first calling midweek Amco Cup games for Channel Ten, Fulton was among the best players in the game. it was one that included fellow future Immortals Arthur Beetson and Graeme Langlands. There were fellow Eagles legends Graham Eadie, Terry Randall and Max Krilich. There was Steve Rogers, Mick Cronin, Tom Raudonikis. There were Souths legends Ron Coote, Bob McCarthy and John “Lurch” O’Neill who played for Manly 1972-74.
And captaining the Team of the 1970s? R.Fulton.
By the time he was 25 he was a dual premiership player, a two-try hero in the famous, bloody 1973 grand final won by Manly over Cronulla.
Warren said Fulton’s performance was “so commanding in the ‘73 grand final – he owned the event.”
“At international level he was just as brilliant.
“The great halfback Alex Murphy [27 caps for Great Britain] once chose a ‘Team of the Century’. Naturally English players dominated his side.
“But he named Bob in the No.6 even though Murphy had played inside many of the best five-eighths the game has ever seen,” Warren said.
Warren said Fulton’s “coaching prowess was also gold medal stuff”.
“He was superb at club and representative level. He won five premierships as player and coach.
“Simply, he was one of the greatest players of all time, a man whose presence in the game was immense and whose opinions were sought by people at the highest level.
“Above all he was a wonderful friend,” Warren said.