Vale Len Bertoldo
Vale Len Bertoldo
Len Bertoldo was a tough-as-teak front rower with a heart of gold. He represented NSW in 1975 and played three matches for NSW County Firsts.
A legend in the Griffith community, Len would often buy football boots and other things for young players who couldn't afford these things. No one ever knew he did this and he made sure the recipients never found out from where the boots came.
Born in Melbourne in 1947, Len moved to Yenda with his family as a toddler. A qualified bricklayer, Len joined the family business after retiring from football.
Beginning his playing career in Group 20 junior football, Len quickly established himself as one of the best forwards in the area. He represented Riverina from 1975 to 1979 and was first selected for NSW Country firsts in 1975. Playing at prop against a star-studded City pack, which included Arthur Beetson, Bob McCarthy, Ron Coote, Paul Sait and Gary Stevens, Len was outstanding in Country's upset 19-9 win.
As a result of his performance he was chosen to play for NSW against Queensland at Brisbane's Lang Park on 21 May 1975. Teammates in that NSW side included Team of the Century members Arthur Beetson, Ron Coote and Bob Fulton. Len also played for Country Firsts in 1977 and 1978. Many good judges rate the 1975 team as NSW Country's best ever side.
In Group 20 Rugby League, Len has an impressive record, playing in 10 Grand Finals and winning seven Premierships. Although he played his early football with Yenda, Len won six of his Premierships with his beloved Griffith Waratahs. He played around 10 seasons with the Waratahs and well over 100 first grade matches.
During his career, Len turned down offers from Manly, Souths and Wests Magpies, preferring to live and play in Griffith. Over the years, he was a Group 20 selector, a member of the Referees Appointments Board, a Griffith Waratahs committeeman and a Life Member of both the club and Group 20.
As well as rugby league, Len was a more than handy boxer, basketballer, swimmer and rower. He also loved fishing. He passed away at Scalabrini Village, following a long struggle with dementia.
Len never married and had no children. He is survived by his mother, Linda and sister, Deanna Redfearn.
The Men of League extend our deepest sympathies to Len's family and many friends. His funeral service will be held Tuesday 13 August at 10am, at Griffith's Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
Vale Len Bertoldo – born 25 February, 1947 – passed away 7 August, 2013.