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Rugby League Immortal Reg Gasnier has passed away overnight, aged 74. Born on May 12, 1939, the St George legend died in the Miranda Nursing Home just one day short of his 75th birthday. He had been battling illness for a number of years after suffering a stroke.
Regarded by many as the best centre to have ever played the game, Gasnier played in 39 Test matches for Australia, scoring 28 tries and 125 matches for the St George Dragons during their world record 11-straight premierships.
Nicknamed 'Puff the Magic Dragon', 'Gaz' and 'The Prince of Centres', Gasnier possessed an amazing turn of speed that more often than not left all in his wake. He was the competition's leading try scorer in 1960 (25t), 1963 (24t) and 1964 (18t). He scored two tries in the 1960 Grand Final victory and played in six premiership winning sides. Gasnier suffered a knee injury and then a broken leg while captain-coach of Australia in 1967. Another leg injury during a provincial match in Avignon on December 21st, 1967 forced Gasnier into an early retirement, at just 28 years of age.
Following retirement, Gasnier was awarded an AM and went on to ABC commentary work. He later became a successful marketing manager for a Sydney packaging firm.
In 2008, Gasnier was named at centre in the Australian Rugby League’s Team of the Century. He was named a Rugby League Immortal when the concept was inaugurated in 1981.
Reg Gasnier Fact File:
St George junior (Renown United).
FIRST GRADE, ST GEORGE 1959-67:
127 tries, 20 goals (421 points).
St George Verses Vs touring sides 1962-63, 2 games, 3 tries.
Total for St George: 127 games, 130 tries.
CITY REP GAMES 1959-67:
City 1959-65, 5 games, 3 tries.
City Vs touring sides 1960-64, 3 games, 4 tries.
NEW SOUTH WALES 1959-67:
NSW Vs Queensland 1959-67, 16 games, 13 tries.
NSW Vs touring sides 1959-67, 5 games, 4 tries.
Total for NSW: 21 games, 17 tries.
AUSTRALIA 1959-67 (Captain on 8 occasions):
Tests and World Cup 1959-67, 39 games, 28 tries
Tour matches 1959-67, 38 games, 37 tries.
Total for Australia: 77 games, 65 tries.
First class matches, 233 games, 219 tries.