Bob Mathers – A Likeable Character

Northern Sydney Committee Wellbeing Officers Norm Pounder and Ken Vessey recently visited Bob Mathers and his lovely wife, Pamela. He has been undergoing treatment since an operation in early 2018.

Bob had a very active rugby league career that began playing as a centre with the then North Sydney junior rugby league clubs Greenwich and Crows Nest, before playing Presidents Cup for North Sydney district rugby league club in
1960. In 1961, and again in 1968, he played for the Gosford “Townies” rugby league club.

In 1962, Bob was graded by the Manly Warringah rugby league club as a hooker and played many games in Third and Reserve Grade from 1963-65, being kept from a First Grade debut by club stalwart Freddy “The Gaffer” Jones, who played a total of 247 First Grade games as well as representing New South Wales and Australia.

Bob retired from playing after numerous shoulder complications and became actively involved for many years at the club as a gear steward. He told Norm and Ken he really enjoyed every moment of his rugby league career and felt fortunate to have made so many mates through the game.

When asked who was the hardest opponent he had played against he replied without hesitation, “Jack Gibson, in a trial match between Western Suburbs and Manly Warringah.”

These days, he likes watching the Melbourne Storm play but if he could make any changes to the game Bob would go back to one referee in a game and do away with the 5th tackle rule, allowing more movement to the faster players from the rucks.

After retiring from rugby league, Bob had a rewarding career when employed by Qantas Airways as a flight attendant from 1970-1998. He told Norm and Ken that in 1980, he and his family were stationed in London for a year completing flights to Bahrain and Colombo and at the completion of the year, they all went on a holiday to Portugal.

Whilst on holiday, his family were involved in a serious motor vehicle accident near a small village and his legs were critically injured. He got the distinct impression that the hospital medical staff were considering amputating both his legs, to which he told them that was not to happen and said, “if any Australian ever walks in here with his head cut off, then sew it back on because we’re all the same down there”.

As a result, his legs were saved and he was repatriated back to Australia where successful surgery took place.

It was a really pleasant visit for Norm and Ken, who wished Bob a speedy recovery to good health and presented him with a Men of League Foundation polo shirt and cap.

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