Bob Fulton

Bob Fulton

Infobox rugby league biography
playername = Bob Fulton
fullname = Robert Fulton
nickname = Bozo

caption =
position = rlp|CN|FE
dateofbirth = birth date and age|1947|12|1|df=yes
placeofbirth = Warrington
countryofbirth = England
height =
weight =
club1 =
year1start = 1966
year1end = 1976
appearances1 = 213
tries1 = 129
goals1 = 10
fieldgoals1 = 56
points1 = 510
club2 =
year2start = 1977
year2end = 1979
appearances2 = 50
tries2 = 18
goals2 = 16
fieldgoals2 = 2
points2 = 88
teamA =
yearAstart = 1967
yearAend = 1978
appearancesA = 16
triesA =
goalsA =
fieldgoalsA =
pointsA = 42
teamB =
yearBstart = 1968
yearBend = 1978
appearancesB = 35
triesB =
goalsB =
fieldgoalsB =
pointsB = 82
coachteam1 = leagueicon|Sydney Roosters|16 Eastern Suburbs
coachyear1start = 1980
coachyear1end = 1982
coachgames1 = 78
coachwins1 = 48
coachdraws1 = 4
coachlosses1 = 26
coachteam2 = leagueicon|Manly Sea Eagles|16 Manly-Warringah
coachyear2start = 1983
coachyear2end = 1988
coachgames2 = 152
coachwins2 = 99
coachdraws2 = 3
coachlosses2 = 50
coachteam3 = leagueicon|Manly Sea Eagles|16 Manly-Warringah
coachyear3start = 1993
coachyear3end = 1999
coachgames3 = 153
coachwins3 = 105
coachdraws3 = 3
coachlosses3 = 45
coachteamA =
coachyearAstart = 1989
coachyearAend = 1998
coachgamesA = 39
coachwinsA =
coachdrawsA =
coachlossesA =
source = [ Rugby League Project] and [ Yesterday's Hero]

Robert "Bob" Fulton AM (born 1 December 1947 in Warrington, England) is an English-born Australian rugby league identity. Fulton played, coached, selected for and has commentated on the game with great success at the highest levels and has been named amongst Australia's greatest rugby league players of the 20th century. [ [ Century's Top 100 Players] ]

As a player Fulton won three premierships with the Manly Sea Eagles in the 1970s, the last as captain. He represented for the Australian national side on forty-seven occasions, seven times as captain. He had a long coaching career at the first grade level, taking Manly to premiership victory in 1987 and 1996. He coached the Australian national team to forty Tests and World Cup games. He was a New South Wales State selector and a national selector. He is currently a radio commentator with 2GB. In 1985 he was selected as one of the initial four post-war “Immortals” of the Australian game and in 2008 he was named in Australia's team of the century.

Playing career


Fulton moved to Australia when he was four years old and at seventeen years of age made his senior football debut with Wests Wollongong in 1965 and went on to represent for Country Seconds. He was spotted and signed to the Manly Sea Eagles by club secretary Ken Arthurson and started his NSWRFL first grade career in 1966 aged eighteen. He was prodigiously talented and as a centre or five-eighth Fulton made an immediate impact. He earned State representatiave honours in 1967 and the following year became the youngest ever captain in Grand Final history when he led Manly in the 1968 decider against Souths.

Fulton made 219 appearances for the Manly club between 1966 and 1976. He scored 520 points (129 tries, 10 goals and 56 field goals) - the club's record try tally until Steve Menzies went one better in 2006. Fulton won premierships with Manly in 1972 (also the League's top try-scorer this season), 1973 and 1976. In the 1973 bloodbath against Cronulla he single-handedly took control of the game scoring two tries to take the side to victory.

At the end of the 1976 season Fulton caused a sensation in Sydney rugby league circles when he left Manly and signed a 3 year deal with the Eastern Suburbs club.

Eastern Suburbs

Fulton played 56 matches for the Eastern Suburbs club, mainly at five-eighth. In his first season there Fulton was a member of the side that won the pre-season cup and was the club's leading try scorer. In 1978 he was a member of the Easts side that defeated St George in the mid-week cup final. In 1979 Fulton was appointed captain-coach at the Roosters. A chronic knee injury saw him retire after just eight games that year.

Representative career

squad and played in the final at five-eighth in Australia's victory over France. Thereafter for the next eleven seasons he was a consistent national representative.

He toured New Zealand in 1971, was on the 1973 and 1978 Kangaroo Tours, played in home Ashes series against Great Britain in 1970 and 1974 and the home series against New Zealand in 1972 and 1978. He participated in Australian squads at four World cups - 1968, 1970, 1972 and 1975 and was the World Cup Man of the Series in 1970.

He was honoured with the Australian captaincy in the 2nd and 3rd Tests of the 1978 series against New Zealand and in all five Tests of the 1978 Kangaroo Tour. He captained his country to a total of 4 wins and 3 losses.

On both of his Kangaroo Tours Fulton was the leading try scorer - with 20 tries from 5 Tests and 9 tour matches in 1973 and 9 tries from 5 Tests and 10 tour matches in 1978.

All told he appeared in 16 representative matches for New South Wales. He represented Australia in 20 Test matches, 15 World Cup matches and 22 minor internationals whilst on tour.

The man and his playing style

His blinding acceleration, strength and reading of the play got him through gaps that others couldn't even imagine. A fiercely determined competitor, he would often resort to his own ingenuity and gamesmanship to turn a match - invariably it was successful. He was a keen and accurate exponent of the fieldgoal in the era when they were worth two points.

He fierce competitiveness would also become evident during his decade long tenure as coach of the national side and in his expressed loyalty to the ARL during the Super League war.

Post playing

Coaching career

After retiring as a player at the Roosters he coached the club for four seasons in total and took them to the 1980 Grand Final where they were beaten by Canterbury.

He returned to Manly as coach in 1983 and in that same year took them to a Grand Final against Parramatta where the club was unsuccessful for the second year running. In 1987 he guided the Paul Vautin captained Sea-Eagles side to a premiership victory in the last Grand Final played at the Sydney Cricket Ground becoming in the process the first Manly son to win premierships both as captain and as coach.

From 1989 Fulton took on the job as coach of the Australian national side. He guided the side in 39 Tests between 1989 and 1998 to 32 victories , 1 draw and 6 losses.

He presided over the national team during its transition to dominance when the Australian side clearly had players fitter and more skilled than those of Great Britain, France and New Zealand. Yet at times these contests were surprisingly close as Fulton-coached sides often snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in exciting final match series deciders. In three consecutive Ashes series (1990, 1992 and 1994) as well as the 1991 trans-Tasman series. Australia was stretched to a deciding Third Test.

Ironically so instinctive himself as a player, Fulton coached his sides to a low risk, structured and tightly controlled style of play. In this regard he was ahead of his time and ultimately he achieved a great measure of success. However on occasion his teams may have lacked the flair or imagination to take a game by the scruff of the neck and win it with a flash of brilliance.

In 1993 Fulton returned to Manly as coach and he guided the club the three successive Grand Finals from 1995. Fulton won his second premiership as a coach in 1996 when in their 50th season the Sea-Eagles beat St George 20-8 in a grinding but emphatic win.

uper league war

As national coach during the Super League war Fulton played a prime role along with NSW State coach Phil Gould in signing players to stabilise the ARL competition. Fulton as it happened, was also a longstanding and loyal friend of Kerry Packer who wholeheartedly backed the ARL and his own commercial interests and rights to broadcast the traditional game.


Since 1999 "Bozo" has been a selector of the New South Wales and Australian sides. He has been part of the selection group that has selected the last 3 series losing NSW teams but says it is not the selectors fault that the teams selected have been so inept and he should be a selector next year.


As of 2007 Fulton is a member of the Continuous Call Team on Radio 2GB with Ray Hadley, Steve Roach, Darryl Brohman, Andrew Moore, and Tony Megahey, where he enjoys a running battle with Daryl Brohman.


In 1985 he was selected by the respected publication "Rugby League Week" as one of the initial four post-war “Immortals” of the Australian game alongside Churchill, Raper and Gasnier. In 1994 Fulton was inducted as a Member of the Order of Australia "for service to rugby league football" and in 2000 he received the Australian Sports Medal. In 2002 he was inducted into the Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame.

In February 2008, Fulton was named in the list of Australia's "100 Greatest Players" (1908–2007) which was commissioned by the NRL and ARL to celebrate the code's centenary year in Australia. [cite web|publisher="NRL & ARL"|title=Centenary of Rugby League - The Players |url= |accessdate=2008-02-23|date=2008-02-23] [cite news|author=Peter Cassidy |publisher="Macquarie National News"|title=Controversy reigns as NRL releases top 100 players |url= |accessdate=2008-02-23|date=2008-02-23] Fulton went on to be named as an interchange player in Australian rugby league's "Team of the Century". Announced on 17 April 2008, the team is the panel's majority choice for each of the thirteen starting positions and four interchange players. [cite news|author=Todd Balym|publisher="Fox Sports Australia"|title=Johns, Meninga among Immortals |url=,8659,23557351-23214,00.html |accessdate=2008-04-17|date=2008-04-17] [cite web|publisher="NRL & ARL"|title=Team of the Century Announced |url= |accessdate=2008-04-17|date=2008-04-17] However, many respected commentators and Rugby League personalities, including Roy Masters, believe he left of the starting team because he was such a versatile player, it would have been difficult to put in one postition.



* Whiticker, Alan (2004) "Captaining the Kangaroos", New Holland, Sydney
* Andrews, Malcolm (2006) "The ABC of Rugby League" Austn Broadcasting Corpn, Sydney

External links

* [ Bob Fulton biography at Sport Australia Hall of Fame]
* [ Bob Fulton at]
* [ Bob Fulton at]

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