Vale Ray Nissen
Vale Ray Nissen
A true West Tigers supporter 1931- 2014
Ray was a truly devoted supporter of rugby league and remained that way right to the end in his support for the WestsTigers; he was born in Five Dock right in the middle of Balmain Tiger's territory in November 1931 and quickly learned to play rugby league for his local schools at Haberfield De La Salle and Burwood Christian Brothers, which were renowned for producing skilled rugby league players.
From 1946 to 1953 Ray played in the centres for Drummoyne in the Balmain Junior League Competition on Saturdays and backed up on Sundays playing for the Five Dock CYO team ,during these years his brother Neville played five-eight alongside him in most of those teams.Also during these years Ray had a one year stint across in the tough South Sydney Junior League Competition "A" Grade playing for the then famous Chelsea United Rugby League Football Club.
As a skilled plumber he followed work to Goulburn in 1954 and commenced playing for the West Goulburn team,before gaining selection in the 1954 Monaro representative team to play in the NSW Country Championships in Sydney against the Sydney 1st Grade teams. However in 1954 with a 1st grade contract from the Sydney Western Suburbs Club on the table for 1955, he badly injured his knee and upon medical advice he did not to play rugby league again, giving away the game he loved so much to concentrate on bringing up a family.
He married the love of his life Philomena O'Toole from Five Dock, they built and lived in their family home in Dorothy Street,Ryde from 1961and had six children Leonie,Peter,David,Deanna,Glenyce and Michael; their sons possessed the rugby league spirit with Peter playing 70 grade games for the Balmain Tigers,David representing the Balmain Tigers in Jersey Flegg and President Cup teams before forging a successful career with the NSW Rugby League Executive,Michael played for the Balmain Tigers in the Harold Matthews team and son in law Paul Dalziel played grade for the Balmain Tigers.
Sadly Philomena passed away in 2005 and Ray who was diagnosed with a mesothelioma tumour in his lung in November 2013.
Ray passed away on Sunday 23 February 2014 and is survived by his six children and 20 grandchildren.
Some of Ray's rugby league mates. Ray is in the front row 4th from left with the walking stick, Ray's son Peter (back row 1st from left) and David (last back row on right).