Eels mourn Billy Rayner

The Parramatta National Rugby League Club has been deeply saddened by the passing of Club great Billy Rayner.

He was 73.

During his playing career, Billy played 203 First Grade games for Parramatta, making his First Grade debut in 1956.

Billy was a Kangaroo, touring England and France with the 1960 World Cup team.

He was granted life membership of the Parramatta District Rugby League Club in 1967 and of Parramatta Leagues Club in 1988. He was inducted into the Parramatta Eels Hall of Fame in 2004. He served as patron of the Parramatta Leagues Club until his passing, and he was made a Life Member of the New South Wales Rugby League in 1996.

"We've lost a great man and a great mate. His contribution to the Parramatta Club can never be under-estimated. I'm just really sad and my sympathies are with Marie and the family," Parramatta Eels Chairman Alan Overton said.

"It is a great loss to the Club. Billy had 50 years of continuous service since he arrived from Yass in 1956. He was a Parramatta man for 50 years, and was well liked and respected by everyone in Rugby League," Parramatta Eels Chief Executive Denis Fitzgerald said.

"The game has lost one of its true legends with the passing of Billy Rayner. He was an extraordinary character and to have 50 years service with one Club is quite remarkable," National Rugby League Chief Executive David Gallop said.

As a mark of respect, Parramatta players will wear black armbands in Sunday's match against the Wests Tigers, and a moments silence will be observed prior to kick-off.

Funeral details will be advised once confirmed.

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