The NSW Rugby League is deeply saddened at the passing today (Saturday 2 March) of Steve “Bear” Hall and sends its most sincere condolences to his family and friends.
Bear retired from official duties with the NSWRL in July last year after a career spanning 26 years in coaching, development and mentoring roles with Western Suburbs and the Wests Tigers, as well as the state body.
In particular, he is remembered for his tireless work mentoring and developing young Indigenous players, which followed a long and respected playing career throughout the western region of NSW.
Those attending the annual NSW Kooris vs Queensland Murris Under-16s Indigenous clash at Mudgee today (Saturday 2 March) paid their respects to Bear during a moment’s silence and the Koori team wore black armbands.
Bear was instrumental in the commencement of the under-16 Indigenous program in 2003 and was the original NSW team manager.
Bear was born in Walgett and played for the Walgett Dragons, before turning out for the Coonamble Bears, Dubbo Macquarie Raiders, the Mendooran Tigers, and finally finished his career as captain-coach of Dubbo CYMS.
He was appointed as the original Coaching and Development Officer in Dubbo, with NSWRL in 1992. After moving to Sydney, he undertook coaching and development roles through the NSWRL Academy, including that of the Indigenous Rugby League Development officer.
Bear was a passionate Wests Tigers fan and also acted as operations assistant for the club for many years.
NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden said: “Bear was a tireless worker with an enormous passion and drive to help develop young Indigenous players and the game in general across the state.
“It is a very sad day for Rugby League and we will remember him fondly. Our deepest sympathies go to his wife Marg and his family and friends.”
In a fitting touch, Wests Magpies & Dubbo CYMS who Steve had association with both clubs, faced off in the NSWRL/CRL Challenge Cup. A minute silence was observed in Steve's memory.