Vale Mal Cheney

Vale Mal Cheney

Former Parramatta halfback, Mal Cheney passed away today, aged 63. As he did throughout his successful Rugby League career, Mal showed a lot of courage and determination over the past few years as he battled a serious brain tumour.

Vale Mal CheneyMal's Rugby League career began at Tarcutta in Group 13 in 1966 and then he moved to the Turvey Park club in Wagga, where he captained the Under 18s. In 1969, the big forward was transferred to Broken Hill, where he played with the Geebungs in their Premiership win over Wilcannia.  Back on the coast at Gosford in 1970, he signed with Ourimbah where he played four seasons.

Ourimbah made the top four in 1973 and Mal did well in their end of season games. He was offered a contract with Parramatta in 1974 and played two seasons with the club. He played 16 top grade games and was first grade player number 317. At North Sydney Oval on 24 August 1975, Mal scored a smart try against the Bears in Parra's 28-13 win.

Other Parramatta scorers in that game were internationals Geoff Gerrard and Denis Fitzgerald, along with Mal McMartin. A team-mate in that side was another international, John Quayle, who, like Fitzgerald, had a long career in Rugby League administration. At the end of the 1975 season, Mal was an important member of coach Terry Fearnley's side who won the Reserve Grade Premiership by beating Cronulla in the Grand Final at the SCG.

Mal joined Waratah Mayfield for two seasons in 1976 and in 1978 was appointed to his first captain/coaching role at Bateman's Bay. He returned to Ourimbah for one season in 1982 and then returned to Bateman's Bay. As a coach with Bateman's Bay, Mal won Premierships in 1979 and 1986.

Following his coaching career, Mal began covering Rugby League in the local media, both for newspapers and with Radio 2EC.

Mal is survived by his wife Leslie, his daughter Ashlee and her husband Gavin, his son Matthew and his wife Selina, his mother Lou, his two grandchildren, Kynan and Nate, his sister Dawn and his two brothers, Bruce and Colin.

The Men of League extends our deepest sympathy to Mal's family and many friends. When Mal's funeral details are known they will be available on our website. The funeral will probably be in Wagga.
By Barry Ross

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