The Newtown Rugby League Football Club regrets to announce the recent passing of Larry Raleigh, who played with the club for three seasons from 1969 to 1971.
Larry was a very proud North Queenslander who joined the club at the same time as three other signings from Queensland's Far North - Lionel Williamson, Greg Bandiera and Joe Vasta.
Larry was a product of the Townsville Centrals club and the famous Rugby League nursery, Mt Carmel College, Charters Towers. He represented Townsville in the Foley Shield and North Queensland in the QRL State Championships prior to joining the Harry Bath-coached Newtown Bluebags.
He was a strongly built, hard running second-rower who played 20 first grade games with the Newtown Bluebags and was a member of that club's 1970 reserve grade premiership-winning squad. In 1972 he accepted a captain-coaching position with Portland Colts in the Group 10 (Central-Western NSW) competition and represented Western Division in the 1972 Country Rugby League Divisional Championships. The next year he moved back to his native Townsville to take up a captain-coaching appointment with the Centrals club.
He suffered a terrible tragedy in 1973 when after being heavily tackled in a Townsville club game, he became seriously ill after the match and was hospitalised, where he suffered a stroke that left him incapacitated for the remainder of his life.
No-one ever bore such ill fortune with greater bravery and strength of spirit. Larry became a by-word in Rugby League circles in Sydney, western NSW, Brisbane and Townsville for good humour and first-class company. He made literally hundreds of friends throughout the game's networks and was a particularly popular figure at Newtown's annual reunions. He retained a keen interest in the Newtown club's playing fortunes right up until his death, and there was no keener supporter than Larry Raleigh of his beloved Queensland Maroons in the annual State of Origin series.
His funeral at Gilgandra in western NSW in late June attracted a huge crowd, including former team-mates from Townsville, Portland and Newtown. He is survived by his devoted wife Gerry, his son Lawrence (who had a long playing career with St George and in the French and USA Rugby League competitions), and a much-loved grand-daughter Candace, as well as siblings Vincent and Desleigh.
Newtown and Australian coach Harry Bath gives Larry Raleigh and his Newtown Bluebags team-mates some last minute instructions before a match at Henson Park in 1970.
Those in the photo from left to right are:
Harry Bath, Dave Cotter, Larry Raleigh and Oscar Danielson.
Photo courtesy of Rugby League World magazine (1970).