Rugby league legend dead at 79

Rugby league legend dead at 79

The Manly Sea Eagles’ first premiership-winning captain, Fred Jones, has died at the age of 79.

Jones was the 140th player to represent Manly in first grade and skippered the club to NSWRL premierships in 1972 and 1973.

The Sydney-born rugby league great compiled 241 games for the Sea Eagles from 1961-1963 and 1965-1975, making the legendary hooker Manly’s sixth-most-capped clubman in history.

Jones also made three appearances for Australia in the 1968 World Cup.

Manly Sea Eagles great Fred Jones is chaired from the field after the club’s 1972 grand final victory. (SMH)

Sea Eagles chief executive Stephen Humphreys says Jones was one of the club’s greats.

“Fred Jones was not only a wonderful hooker, but a true gentleman,” Humphreys said.

“He made a wonderful contribution to the Sea Eagles. He will always be cherished as our first premiership-winning captain, and he backed up that accomplishment to again lead the club to victory the following year.

“On behalf of everyone at the club, I offer our sincere condolences to Fred’s family.

“He has certainly left a wonderful legacy.”

Former Manly Sea Eagles champion Fred Jones has champagne poured over him after the 1972 grand final win. (Fairfax)

ARLC chairman Peter V’landys was another to pay tribute to Jones today.

“I had the great pleasure of meeting Fred a couple of years ago at a function and realised why he was so popular,” V’landys said.

“He possessed a charismatic personality which made you feel good about the world.

“He was the player and person that made rugby league special and unique.

“On behalf of the game, I offer my sincerest condolences to Fred’s family and friends, as well as the Sea Eagles.”

Former Manly Sea Eagles captain Fred Jones attempting to burrow over for a try in the 1972 grand final. (Fairfax)

A moment’s silence will be held ahead of Manly’s clash with the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Brookvale Oval this evening.

The Sea Eagles will also wear black armbands.

Jones has received an outpouring of tributes on social media in the wake of his death.

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