Vale Fred Cooper

Vale Fred Cooper

July 17, 1929 – July 31, 2016

Fred Cooper contributed to rugby league as a player, a coach and an official for many years. As a life member of Brighton Seagulls JRLFC he coached from the younger grades to A grade. 

As a player during the late 1940s to 1961, Fred earned the reputation of being an excellent tackling second row forward for Kogarah Rovers, Ramsgate United, and Dapto. He also excelled as a boxer, having 14 successful fights before deciding to concentrate wholly on playing Rugby League and eventually coaching.

The father of four, two girls Louise and Annette and two boys Mark and Matthew, both of whom played for Brighton, Fred was the ultimate family man. Married to his beautiful wife Val for 60 years, he was a tireless worker and worked long hours as an upholsterer to provide for his loving family.

Fred’s eldest son Mark, told of his father’s pride in having coached two players who both became internationals. He was referring to Johnny Riley St George Centre, who Fred coached at Ramsgate United, and Brad Mackay – St George lock, who Fred coached from his Junior days at Brighton Seagulls – both of whom attended the funeral service and paid their respects to a humble, likeable family man, and mentor.

Fred did these things for no other reason than to help – he loved his coaching and being involved for everyone else’s benefit. He would do it simply because he was asked, and Fred never refused anybody who asked for assistance.

Tributes flowed upon his passing such as; ‘true gentleman’, ‘kind hearted’, ‘great bloke’, ‘always held in the highest regard’, ‘an example of how to live’, ‘always with a wave and a smile’ – these are attributes of a man who will live on in the hearts of his family and also of those who knew him through the wider Rugby League community.

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