GROUP 11 secretary Bob Walsh has led a wave of tributes for Country Rugby League (CRL) chairman Wayne ‘Jock’ Colley, who died yesterday after suffering a stroke in his home town of Parkes on Wednesday.
Colley’s family made the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life support, which he had been on since Wednesday night after being airlifted to Sydney.
The 61-year-old, who was also a former Group 11 president, was out on an evening walk when he collapsed and was rushed to hospital.
Walsh, who worked closely with Colley over a number of years both at Group 11 and CRL level said he’s struggling to come to terms with the tragedy.
“Jock was a great asset for rugby league in the bush and I’ve got no doubt that we wouldn’t be in the strong position we are without him being at the helm,” Walsh said.
“It’s hard to put into words how sad this is. Jock devoted a lot of his life to rugby league, whether it was in Parkes, Group 11, Western Division or anywhere else across NSW.
“It’s an absolute tragedy for anyone who had anything to do with Jock and we all send our condolences to Bev and their kids.”
Meanwhile, an emotional Parkes Spacemen president Warwick Wheeldon paid tribute to a man he spent a great deal of time with over the best part of three decades.
“Jock and I went onto the Parkes committee in about 1987 when the club was heavily in debt and going nowhere,” Wheeldon said.
“Jock drove everybody to get behind the club and somehow we managed to bring the club back into the black and get rugby league going again.
“Through his association with Ken Arthurson we were able to bring a lot of big games to Parkes, including the Test match between Australia and France, and he helped reshape Pioneer Oval into what it is today.
“There’s been many ‘godfathers’ of rugby league in Parkes over the years, but in the modern era it was definitely Jock.”
Details of Colley’s funeral are still to be announced.