VALE – Barry “Bunny” Reilly

24/3/1948 – 5/5/2021


The Men of League Foundation has been privileged to have acted in support of Bunny and his family over many months during his illness.
We were saddened at his passing on Wednesday evening and would like to thank all of you, the rugby league community, for the incredible support you have demonstrated in our recent appeal for Bunny. His wife Di and family are extremely grateful for the immense outpouring of love and support for Bunny and we also pass on their gratitude for bringing him such joy with the messages and acts of kindness this past year. Our best tribute for Bunny was written for his appeal, so we simply want to re-state it here:

Barry “Bunny” Reilly (AKA “The Axe”) is a genuine legend of the game and left nothing on the field for his beloved Roosters during his 198 matches between 1967 and 1979 (excluding the 7 matches he played for Cronulla in 1972). A member of the Roosters “Team of the Century”, Bunny was a tough enforcer and despite his size, is still considered one of the best one on one defenders that ever played. Bunny went on to win a premiership with Easts under Jack Gibson in 1974, and made a late appearance in the 1975 grand final win despite carrying a badly corked thigh.

The great Ron Coote best summed up Bunny in an interview with Wide World of Sports, “I played with and against ‘Bunny’ and I can tell you, I much preferred the former. He was only little, but he had this way of driving you under the ribs and rattling your whole body. He got me a beauty once when I played for Souths – I think I can still feel it now. Pound for pound, there probably wasn’t a tougher player.”

Rest in Peace Bunny and thank you.


Funeral Live Stream Notice May 14

The funeral for Bunny Reilly will be live streamed from 11.00am on

Friday May 14.  Please click on the link below to view and set a reminder

For those in Sydney, Bunny’s hearse will travel past Easts Leagues Club on Spring St at Bondi

at approximately 9.30am.

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