Both the NSWRL and the NRL have paid tribute to Graham Murray, who died in Brisbane aged 58 after a battle with heart disease.
A former coach at Grand Final and State of Origin level, Murray’s first grade career began as halfback for Parramatta in the late seventies. Recognised for his ability to read the play, and an uncanny ability to deliver a pass at the defensive line, Marray played 88 first grade games for the Eels until moving on to the South Sydney Rabbitoh’s.
In 1992 ‘Muzza’ (as he was affectionately known), led his team the Illawarra Steelers to their only first grade competition win – the Tooheys Pre-Season Challenge. In that same year he took the club to finals football and was awarded the Dally M Coach of the Year.
He would go on to coach Super League team the Hunter Mariners, the UK based Leeds (1998 Super League final, 1999 Challenge Cup victory) before returning to the NRL, where he had an immediate impact in 2000 taking the Sydney Roosters to their first Grand Final in 20yrs. In the years that followed, he steered the North Queensland Cowboys to their first final series in 2004 and an NRL Grand Final in 2005.
He coached the NSW State of Origin team as well as the City Origin team on several occasions. Geoff Carr (NSW Rugby League Chief Executive) said recently, “Graham played and coached at the highest level of the most intense competition in Australian sport and in that time I have never heard anyone say a bad word about him. As well as being an outstanding coach he was simply a great friend to many people in the game and a great family man who will be sorely missed.”
The following information was supplied by David Middleton and has been taken from the NSWRL website for reference:
Lismore Workers Club 1985
Penrith reserve grade 1986-87
Balmain reserve grade 1988-89
Illawarra first grade 1991-95
Hunter Mariners first grade 1997
Leeds head coach 1997-99
Sydney Roosters first grade 2000-01
City Origin 2001-04
North Queensland 2002-08
NSW State of Origin 2006-07
88 first grade matches
45 games for Parramatta 1977-79
43 games for Souths 1981-83
Won reserve grade premiership with Penrith 1987
Won Tooheys Challenge with Illawarra 1992
Took Illawarra to their first Finals Series 1992
Took Leeds to the Super League grand final 1998
Won Challenge Cup with Leeds 1999
Took Sydney Roosters to the NRL Grand Final 2000
Took North Queensland to their first Finals Series 2004
Took North Queensland to their first NRL Grand Final 2005
NRL Premiership record:
331 matches, 168 wins, 156 losses, 7 draws
Winning percentage: 50.8%
6 matches, 2 wins, 4 losses
Winning percentage: 33.3%