Acting upon advice received via the “grape vine” that a well known and respected rugby league stalwart Bob Sargent had not been in the best of health, MOL Welfare Officers Brian Finnigan and Ken Vessey accompanied by MOL Member Greg Pinson visited Bob on Friday 1 March 2013.
Bob had celebrated his 81st birthday on the previous day 28 February 2013.
Bob was born in Coonabarabran and played his junior rugby league there before being enticed to Sydney to play for the famous Western Suburbs Rugby League Football Club (the “Magpies”) in 1952 by Ron Watson, who was playing 1st grade with the “Magpies” . He was known as good defensive player who ran hard and straight and was graded in Reserve Grade before making his 1st Grade debut on the 4 July 1953 at Pratten Park scoring two tries in a “Magpies” team which included Frank Stanmore, Col Ratcliffe, and Arthur Collinson against a very strong Newtown team containing Gordon Clifford, Dicky Poole, Col Geelan and Frank Farrington ; he went onto play another three 1st grade games before going back to the bush to play in Young pending retiring from the game.
He is a regular attendee at the popular annual Pratten Park Western Suburbs Rugby League Football Club Reunion (see website www.noelkellyskids.info ).
Upon retiring from playing Bob got involved in coaching teams for several junior rugby league Clubs in the South Sydney Junior Rugby League competitions and these included the Redfern United Club he coached Arthur Branigan (played 1st grade for South Sydney), Moore Park Juniors Club he coached Bobby McCarthy (played 1st grade for South Sydney/Canterbury, NSW and captained Australia) and South Sydney Monarchs Club he coached Chris Armstrong (played 1st grade South Sydney/Eastern Suburbs).
In this period of Bob’s coaching involvement, this is where I first met Bob when he coached at the Moore Park Juniors Club in 1961 and Brian and Greg when he coached them in 1963-64 at South Sydney Monarchs Club.
He was also a very talented ” man in the middle whistle blower” for the NSW Referees’ Association, where he refereed many junior rugby league representative matches and A Grade matches in the South Sydney Junior Rugby League.
Additionally Bob was a well known and sought after masseur in the horse racing industry where his clients included talented jockeys Wayne Harris and Larry Olsen.
In appreciation of his lengthy and varied participation/contribution to the game of rugby league, we on behalf of the Men of League Foundation presented Bob with a Men of League polo shirt, cap and magazine and wished him improved good health in the future.
Bob was very thankful to us for our visit and really enjoyed talking about old times plus he thanked us sincerely for the gifts and wished to Men of League Foundation continued success in the future.
By Ken Vessey