Western Suburbs legend Bob Cooper has sadly lost his fight with cancer.
One of the toughest yet most controversial figures in rugby league, he holds the record the longest suspension in the game’s history incurred for an on field offence.
However he sadly now lost his fight with an aggressive cancer which was being treated by specialists in Sydney.
Now 67, he played in the first ever State of Origin in 1980.
But he will forever be remembered for one infamous afternoon at Wollongong Showground in 1982 when Wests met Illawarra.
In a fiery brawl, Cooper threw just three punches – but each landed with a some force.
The first broke a Steeler’s jaw, the second smashed a nose and cheekbone, and the third left an opponent heavily concussed on the ground.
The old NSW Rugby League was determined to clean up what was a brutal game at the time and put former judge Jim Comans in charge of the judiciary.
Comans decided to make an example out of Cooper, suspending him for a mammoth 15 months.
“Acts such as these must be obliterated from the game, and I’ll begin by obliterating you,” Comans told Cooper at the time according to The Mole of Wide World of Sports.
That fight may have defined his career, but this fight against cancer proved what sort of man he is: hard as nails.
He sadly lost his fight last night however.
“It’s very sad – he was Wests through and through,” said former teammate Josh White.
“He didn’t want his team-mates to come and see him in hospital, he was in such a bad way.
“But we held our annual reunion last week and everyone sent him their best wishes – he was one of the good ones.”
Our thoughts are with his family at this time.