Group 20 mourns passing of CRL chairman

Group 20 rugby league

JOCK Colley will be remembered as a great friend and ally of rugby league in the Riverina after the Country Rugby League chairman's sudden death on Friday afternoon.

Colley, 61, suffered a stroke while on his afternoon walk in his hometown of Parkes on Wednesday and tragically passed away in Sydney late last week with his family and friends by his side.

His involvement in bush rugby league stretches back four decades, and he was even honoured with an Order of Australia medal in 2011 for his services to the game.

Group 20 secretary Rocci DiSalvatore said Colley's death will be felt very hard in Griffith and surrounding areas.

"He was held in pretty high regard out here," he said.

"He was a man of his word. He'd keep pushing the right buttons for us.

"He's been out here a few times and I got on really well with him. 

"He always listened to our concerns and a few of those things did happen over the years.

"He was such a strong-willed man, pushing for rugby league in the bush, and he got people motivated.

"Without him, who's going to push the barrel? I'm not sure."

DiSalvatore and the Group 20 committee was scheduled to meet with Colley and CRL leaders this Friday at a general meeting in Sydney.

Only last week, Colley was in rare form, describing the decision to host just two NRL trial matches in the bush this pre-season as "just another kick in the guts" for country rugby league.

CRL chief Terry Quinn described Colley as an "inspiration".

"Everyone who knew Jock marvelled at his passion for the game and at his drive to ensure country football receives the respect it deserves," he said. 

"On behalf of everyone involved in country rugby league, may I offer our deepest sympathies to Bev and his family."

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