WELL-KNOWN and widely respected rugby league identity Matt McCoy died at the Hills Hospital in Baulkam Hills on Tuesday night, he was 83.
After breaking into the Wolumla First Grade team at 15 and being captain-coach of the Bega Rovers during their 1947 premiership, Matt went on to play five seasons with St George.
During his stint with the famous club he represented NSW on numerous occasions and played a key role in their 1949 premiership win, a year in which he won an Australian jumper for two Tests against New Zealand.
A tough, robust centre, Matt was renowned for his ability to give his wingers outstanding service; this complemented by a strong fend and elusive running style made him exceptionally difficult to contain.
After a serious knee injury cut short his 65-game career with St George that included 26 tries and 65 goals, Matt completed his playing days in North Queensland.
While his wonderful on-field achievements would make anyone rightly proud, it was two experiences later in life that summed up the high regard in which he was held among the rugby league community.
The first was being named as a legend of the St George Club, an honour he shares with a select and esteemed group including John Raper, Norm Provan and Graeme Langlands.
Then in 2005, while visiting relatives on the Gold Coast with wife Joan, Matt was contacted by NRL statistician David Middleton who was putting together the test match guide for the Australia-New Zealand match in Brisbane.
David wrote a story about Matt for the guide and Matt and Joan were the special guests at the official lunch ahead of the test match where they met both teams along with dignitaries and stars from a number of sporting organisations.
Matt was also driven to the centre of the ground ahead of the test where he received a wonderful reception from the large crowd.
Humble and genuine, Matt McCoy will be missed by all who knew him.