The National Rugby League has paid tribute to former NRL Grand Final coach, State of Origin Coach and first grade halfback Graham Murray, who died in Brisbane aged 58 after a battle with heart disease.


Murray emerged as a half for Parramatta in the late seventies and was quickly recognised for his ability to read play and his deft passing at the line. He would go onto play 88 first grade games at the Eels and later South Sydney.


As a coach Muzza would take the Illawarra Steelers to their only competition win the 1992 Tooheys Pre-Season Challenge and also take the club to its first finals series the same year, earning him the title of Dally M Coach of the Year.


After a stint with the Super League team the Hunter Mariners, Murray headed to the UK, taking Leeds to an English Super League final in 1998 and then a Challenge Cup victory in 1999 before returning to Sydney.


He made an immediate impact during the 2000 season, steering the Roosters to their first Grand Final in twenty years.


Soon after he would take the Cowboys to their first ever final series in 2004 and then the clubs first Grand Final in 2005.


Along the way the quietly spoken former school teacher coached both the NSW State of Origin and the City Origin teams, earning respect from all who worked with him.


Murray began 2013 looking to coach both the Jillaroos World Cup team and Wynnum Manly but suffered a serious heart attack earlier this year.


Earlier this month the Jillaroos dedicated their first ever World Cup triumph to the coach who sadly suffered another major heart attack soon after on the day of this years State of Origin decider.


Muzza was a quietly spoken gentleman with a passion for the grassroots and a love of all things Rugby League.


Graham was just a wonderful human being who was deeply respected across the game, ARL Commission Chairman, Mr John Grant, said.


His passing at such a young age is a tragedy and on behalf of the Commission and everyone in the Rugby league community I extend the games deepest sympathies to his wife Amanda and his family.


Outgoing NSW Rugby League Chief Executive, Mr Geoff Carr, said today that Graham Murray was someone who held a special place in the game:


Graham played and coached at the highest level of the most intense competition in Australian sport and in that time I have never heard anyone say a bad word about him.


As well as being an outstanding coach he was simply a great friend to many people in the game and a great family man who will be sorely missed.



Please find the following information supplied by David Middleton:


Graham Murray

Age: 58

Born: 6/1/55


Previous appointments:

Lismore Workers Club 1985

Penrith reserve grade 1986-87

Balmain reserve grade 1988-89

Illawarra first grade 1991-95

Hunter Mariners first grade 1997

Leeds head coach 1997-99

Sydney Roosters first grade 2000-01

City Origin 2001-04

North Queensland 2002-08

NSW State of Origin 2006-07


Playing record:

88 first grade matches 45 games for Parramatta 1977-79; 43 games for Souths 1981-83


Coaching achievements:

Won reserve grade premiership with Penrith 1987

Won Tooheys Challenge with Illawarra 1992

Took Illawarra to their first Finals Series 1992

Took Leeds to the Super League grand final 1998

Won Challenge Cup with Leeds 1999

Took Sydney Roosters to the NRL Grand Final 2000

Took North Queensland to their first Finals Series 2004

Took North Queensland to their first NRL Grand Final 2005


NRL Premiership record: 331 matches, 168 wins, 156 losses, 7 draws

Winning percentage: 50.8%


Origin record: 6 matches, 2 wins, 4 losses

Winning percentage: 33.3%