Steve 'Bear' Hall remembered by rugby league lovers across all levels of the game

ONE OF THE GREATS: Steve 'Bear' Hall pictured in 2015. Photo: NRL PHOTOS
ONE OF THE GREATS: Steve 'Bear' Hall pictured in 2015. Photo: NRL PHOTOS

Tributes have continued to flow from all corners of the state and further afield after the passing of bush footy legend Steve 'Bear' Hall on Saturday morning.

A highly-respected player, coach, mentor, and administrator, Hall dedicated most of his life to rugby league and the impact he left on a huge amount of people has been clear in the days since his passing.

Fellow western region great Ronny Gibbs paid tribute to his mate after the NSW Koori under 16s side he coached played Queensland Murri in Saturday's battle for the Steve 'Bear' Hall Shield.

"Everyone knew Steve Hall as Bear," Gibbs told the NSW Rugby League after the game.

"Bear introduced this game in about 1993 and we've been going ever since.

"He's done so much for rugby league."

While Gibbs confessed it was tough for he and his side after hearing of Bear's passing just hours before Saturday's game, it was fitting the match went ahead.

The Shield was named in recognition of Bear’s efforts in establishing the ‘Talented Aboriginal Athlete Pathway Camp’ (TAAP), which is where the players from this team were selected.

‘Bear’ established the TAAP program 15 years ago and Gibbs has continued its success with the likes of James Roberts and Josh Addo-Carr emerging from it.

He's done so much for rugby league.

Ronny Gibbs on 'Bear' Hall

When Gibbs spoke about the impact the week leading up to Saturday's game had on the young NSW players, it's clear the work started by Hall will continue long into the future.

"They did get involved and they made sure they knew where they came from, what they're doing and where they're going," Gibbs said.

"That's what we drilled into them and we got that message over. In the future these kids will kick on."

ALSO IN RUGBY LEAGUE:

In a piece compiled by Men of League's Western Region president, Martin Cook, numerous people from around the region and further afield paid their respect to a man who represented the Walgett Dragons, Coonamble Bears, Dubbo Macquarie Raiders, Mendooran Tigers and Dubbo CYMS in his playing days.

Mendooran stalwart John Hunter fondly remembered his success at the club.

“In 1982 he went to Mendooran as captain in our first year playing Group 14 first division footy. He came across with Marty Gordon, Greg Cross and Tony Fuller (who all played for CYMS).

“Then in 1983 he captained the team to premiership victory over Barradine before taking over as captain-coach in 1985 when they flogged Coonamble 64-4 in the decider.

“Gone too soon. A very well respected, great bloke and fantastic football."

For 1986, Hall was lured across to Dubbo CYMS by then club president and former Manly Sea Eagles hooker, Brian Wilson.​

“I admired the man. He was a very good leader of his people. He was one of the best leaders I’ve ever met.

“I thought if we could get him to our club, he would make a huge difference. And he did.”

Hall was a passionate Wests Tigers fan and also acted as operations assistant for the club for many years at the NRL club.

"A true gentleman and passionate fan, Bear assisted with operations and was a constant positive spirit on game day, regardless of the result," outgoing Tigers chair Marina Go said in a statement.

This story Tributes continue to pour in after passing of 'Bear' Hall first appeared on Nyngan Observer.