Off the Wall

The distinguished rugby league write, columnist, and former first grade coach, Roy Masters, was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Australia Day Honours.

Roy Masters has been associated with rugby league for the best part of fifty years.

He rebuilt the Western Suburbs Magpies when he was appointed coach in 1978. He moved on to the St George Dragons in 1982, taking them to the grand final in 1985, losing 7-6 to the Bulldogs.

Though he did not win a grand final he was widely regarded as a coach and mentor.

He subsequently developed a very successful media career writing on rugby league and sport generally for the Sydney Morning Herald. He also appears on the ABC Insiders programme.

What I like about Roy is that he writes with precision and with fearlessness.

He is also forensic in his examination of the issues surrounding the game - television rights being the most recent.

For many years he was on the Board of the Australian Sports Commission.

I have developed an acquaintance with Roy in recent times - as a friend he is just like he is as a writer...forthright, and well informed on an extraordinary range of issues.

The award of the AM to Roy Masters is well deserved. It is just acknowledgement of a long and distinguished career.