Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - SPORT - Vera Ber­tola

THE game of rugby league is a bit poorer fol­low­ing the re­cent death of St Marys Rugby League Club stal­wart Tony Mitchell. An in­au­gu­ral board and life mem­ber, Mr Mitchell died on July 16 fol­low­ing a bat­tle with can­cer. A fu­neral ser­vice was held in Moss Vale.

Such was the es­teem in which he was held that St Marys teams wore a black arm­band last Sun­day week in his hon­our and the Ron Massey Cup team held a minute’s si­lence be­fore the main game.

St Marys Rugby League Club CEO Rod Des­bor­ough said Mr Mitchell, fondly known as “Bluto” or “Mitch”, was “much loved, ad­mired and re­spected and con­sid­ered a mate by all who knew him”. “His pas­sion for rugby league and his beloved Saints was in­fec­tious and St Marys Rugby League Club prob­a­bly wouldn’t be where it is to­day with­out the likes of Mitch,” Mr Des­bor­ough said.

Mr Mitchell suited up for St Marys in 1962-1963, 1967, 1969-70 and 1972-81.

In 1967-68, he spent 12 months with the in­fantry pla­toon in Viet­nam.

One of his many mem­o­rable mo­ments was as the cap­tain-coach of the 1977 Agrade team, kicking the win­ning goal af­ter the full­time siren in a 12-10 win over Rich­mond. He also took the team to back to back pre­mier­ships the fol­low­ing year.

While his feats on the field were legendary, Mr Mitchell was also a ded­i­cated club­man off the field.

He joined the board of di­rec­tors in the 1970s, won the Life Mem­bers Tro­phy in 1975 and served as club pres­i­dent from 1986 to 1989.

The St Marys Ron Massey Cup team stopped for a minute's si­lence be­fore their July 17 game to hon­our for­mer player and board mem­ber Tony Mitchell (in­set).

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