Robert ‘Rocky’ Laurie death | Dally M Medal winner’s final battle, Rabbitohs, Roosters teammates

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Former South Sydney and Roosters players plan to hire a bus this week to pay their last respects to a champion of the modern game, Dally M winner Robert ‘Rocky’ Laurie.

Laurie, 66, had been fighting a mental health battle for several years and despite extensive support from his old mates, he couldn’t be saved.

His death saddened, but did not shock, old teammates who remembered the brilliance of the player who set the Sydney premiership alight in the early 1980s.

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Laurie spent his life after football in Wauchope on the NSW mid-north coast and it will be there that his funeral will be held, expected to be later this week.

Roosters star Rocky Laurie attemots to break a tackle against Wests. July 24, 1982. (Photo by Peter Morris/Fairfax Media). (Peter Morris/Fairfax Media)

“He had been really struggling mentally for a few years but was a champion bloke who would do anything for you,” former Souths teammate and good friend Gary Wright told Wide World of Sports.

“He was a typical country fella who was a wonderful footballer.

“Rocky was a genius on the field – a pleasure to play alongside.

“He just had lousy timing – had 1980 been a year of end of season Test football, he would have played for Australia for sure.”

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At a difficult time, Wright remembers the fun times off the field.

“We went up to the Gold Coast for an end of season trip one year,” Wright said.

“And we went into one of those places that had a big mechanical bull… we got on it and ‘Rocky’ being a country boy who did a bit of riding, he handled it easily.

“I had a try and I was so sore I couldn’t walk for three days.”

Laurie is survived by his wife and three grown-up daughters.

If you or anyone you know needs immediate support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or via lifeline.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.

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