Vale - Ron Massey
The Sharks join the rugby league community in mourning the passing of Ron Massey, one of the icons of the game.
Massey passed away after a long battle with illness, aged 86.
Widely recognised as one of the sharpest rugby league brains in the business, Massey was right-hand man to the great Jack Gibson during his stint at the Sharks from 1985-1987, as well as at Eastern Suburbs and Parramatta where the pair were successful in capturing a number of premiership victories.
With Massey at his side Gibson won First Grade titles with Eastern Suburbs (1974-75) and Parramatta (1981), before the master tactician later struck up an association with Wayne Bennett when the Dragons were victorious in 2010.
He was also Sharks CEO in 1990-1991.
Massey was also a close confidante of Sharks skipper Paul Gallen and Head Coach Shane Flanagan, with the pair in contact with Ron in recent times.
“Ron was a great man,” Flanagan began. “The guidance and knowledge he shared with me was incredible. He taught many people many things on football and about life in general and he was so highly respected and loved by all.
“He will be sadly missed.”
While he had stints in hospital and lost his lower left leg to gangrene in 2012, Massey’s love for rugby league never wavered.
He was known to still keep a close eye on the modern game and has long been a sounding board for Gallen who was said to have called Massey straight after NSW claimed the State of Origin series in 2014.
The Ron Massey Cup was named in the coaching guru's honour and its Grand Final will be played between Mounties and St Mary's at Pirtek Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Massey’s son Luke represented the Sharks, playing 116 games for the club, 53 in First Grade, while Paul Massey has worked under Bennett at the Dragons and Broncos and is now employed as the NRL’s Agent Accreditation Manager.
The Sharks will wear black arm bands for their preliminary final match against the Cowboys on Friday night, with both finals fixtures this weekend to feature a minutes silence in Massey’s honour.