Former first grade coach at the Sharks and a man recognised as one of the gentlemen of rugby league, Terry Fearnley has passed away today aged 81 after a brave battle with cancer.
Fearnley coached the Sharks in 1983 and again in 1984 during a time of financial instability in a difficult period in the clubs history.
Despite the challenges facing them Fearnley’s Sharks teams were competitive during both seasons, with his 1983 side finishing in ninth place with a 12-14 record.
The following year a 10-win season also saw the team miss the finals but record some memorable wins, a 24-6 triumph over eventual premiers the Bulldogs and a 16-6 win over Grand Finalists the Parramatta Eels amongst them.
In his first year in the top job at the Sharks in 1983 Fearnley introduced a teenage Andrew Ettingshausen into first grade in a team that included Gavin Miller, Greg and Mick Mullane and the Sorenson brothers Kurt and Dane.
Fearnley also coached the Western Suburbs Magpies to the 1982 semi-finals in his only year with that club, after having previously coached at Parramatta from 1976 to 1979, guiding the Eels to four consecutive finals series and their first two Grand Final appearances. Following his tenure at the Sharks he would then coach the Illawarra Steelers in 1988.
At a representative level, Fearnley coached both New South Wales and Australia in 1977 and 1985, becoming the first NSW Coach to win a State of Origin series in 1985.
As a player Fearnley played 144 games for Eastern Suburbs between 1954 and 1964, with one representative appearance for NSW in 1960.
Fearnley was a devoted father and grandfather and the thoughts of Cronulla Sutherland club are with his family at this time.