Tommy Raudonikis was the last word personification of a bygone rugby league period, however his blood continues to beat via the center of the game immediately.
Raudonikis’ dying at age 70 from most cancers on Wednesday saddened the game, with Wayne Bennett declaring “they do not make them like Tommy anymore”.
Recognized for his “cattle canine” catchcry that introduced ardour again to State of Origin throughout the Tremendous League warfare, Raudonikis was rugby league’s biggest character.
A lot in order that Bennett on Wednesday joked that heaven would not be prepared for him to take the No.7 jersey.
“I do not know if they’re going to be prepared for Tommy (in heaven), however they’re going to should deal with him,” Bennett joked.
Phrase of Raudonikis’ ailing well being had unfold round rugby league circles earlier this week, with Bennett amongst these to inform a story of his profession over a beer this week.
The pair had their first excursions collectively for Australia in 1971, with Bennett a 21-year-old policeman and Raudonikis already one of many sport’s nice characters.
However on the sphere Bennett noticed the fervour of NSW’s maiden State of Origin captain firsthand.
He described him as “as powerful as they arrive”, along with his fashion as a halfback within the Nineteen Seventies nonetheless having influences over the sport in 2021.
“He was a outstanding man and everybody who performed with him liked him,” Bennett mentioned.
“As a result of he was what the sport was about. He put his physique on the road and did not let anybody down.”
Bennett additionally coached in opposition to him in 1998, and this week instructed the story of the Queensland crew following NSW from nightclub to nightclub after Raudonikis had instructed his gamers to not socialise with the Maroons.
“It despatched him across the twist,” Bennett mentioned.
For a proud NSW man, Raudonikis had a number of hyperlinks to Queensland.
He coached within the state after his enjoying days, and introduced Alfie Langer and Brisbane’s present coach Kevin Walters via the grades.
“He had a giant affect on my profession early as a participant,” Walters mentioned on Wednesday.
“One in all my fondest reminiscences was the day he knocked on my door and requested myself and (brother) Kerrod to return and play for the Ipswich Jets.
“He was one in all, or was my favorite participant, rising up.”
A lot so, that Walters challenged Queensland’s marquee NRL crew to play with the spirit of the NSW nice.
“If this Broncos crew can get the perspective that Tommy did we’ll be profitable much more video games,” Walters mentioned.
Extra lately Raudonikis handed Nathan Cleary his debut NSW jersey in 2018, with the halfback now decided to play Origin along with his predecessor on his thoughts.
“That is one thing that I can positively preserve near my coronary heart now,” Cleary mentioned.
“He simply mentioned to play powerful and to go on the market and do your factor.
“The most important factor for him is he likes gamers who’re powerful so it is one thing I am going to at all times remember. I am going to try to make him proud.”
Former Penrith captain and fellow Cowra hero Royce Simmons mentioned he at all times admired Raudonikis for not simply his talent and consistency as a participant, however his persona.
“He made you giggle. When you sat down with him … you walked away feeling higher,” Simmons mentioned.
“As my outdated dad used to say, ‘anybody who makes you giggle ought to by no means die.’
“That is Tommy, I reckon.”