One in a series of articles checking out the careers of Warrington's sporting legends, who take a much deserved place in our Hall of Heroes

BOBBY Fulton was a master of rugby league, greatly achieving as a player and coach in Australia.

He was, however, born in Stockton Heath, Warrington, on December 1, 1947, and enjoyed a guest spell at his 'hometown' club in the 1969-70 season.

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It is not where he learned his craft though.

Before he had reached his fifth birthday, Fulton moved with his family Down Under where he was raised in Wollongong, New South Wales.

He made his debut for his local team Western Suburbs Wollongong in the Illawarra Rugby League in 1965.

His raw talent led to him being scouted by Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles within 12 months and he went on to make his first-grade debut, aged 18, the same year.

The centre/stand-off produced performance after performance.

He never looked out of his depth as a young player and he did not need time to settle as he went on to become the youngest skipper in Sydney's premier competition and captained the side in the Grand Final against South Sydney Rabbitohs in 1968.

Fulton also played rugby union for Combined Services against the visiting New Zealand ‘All Blacks’ while completing his National Service in 1968.

A month after his 1969 Manly campaign ended with a preliminary final defeat against Balmain in front of 41,000 fans at Sydney Cricket Ground, Fulton was in England playing for The Wire.

He scored 16 tries and one drop goal in 16 appearances from October 10 to February 10 during his guest spell with Warrington, demonstrating his class and skill.

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

Of the players who have made a minimum 10 appearances for The Wire, only Brian Bevan has a better tries-per-game record than Fulton.

During his Warrington spell he won man-of-the-match in six successive games and formed a brilliant partnership in the halves with Parry Gordon.

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After proving to everyone that his unorthodox style could make him a stand-out in any league he played in, he returned for the new season with Manly where he stayed until 1976.

While at Manly Fulton made sure to leave his footprint in the record books.

He achieved a club record try tally of 129, which was only beaten by Steve Menzies in 2006.

Fulton’s tries proved to be key as they helped win three premierships, in 1972, 1973 and 1976, while he was also crowned the league's top try scorer in 1972.

Being one of the most consistent players to grace the game, there are very few stand-out games because he played to the highest level in each.

One game that is usually front of mind though is the 1973 Grand Final.

Manly played against Cronulla in what was a bloodbath and still one of the greatest Grand Finals to take place.

Fulton showed his completeness as a player that day – his speed, distinctive low running style, his line-breaking acceleration and his front-on tackling style.

And it was Fulton who put the game to bed as he beat four tacklers to score between the posts.

It was a match that some people describe as Fulton’s peak.

In a move that shocked fans around Australia, Fulton signed for Eastern Suburbs in 1977.

As he lifted the pre-season cup of 1977 and then the midweek cup of 1978, Fulton continued to do what he was known for – scoring tries and playing at a consistently high level.

Things were about to change though.

In 1979 Fulton was made captain-coach after a knee injury forced him to retire after eight games that season.

His playing career ended with 428 first-class games under his belt, 259 tries and 961 points.

But as well as his impressive club career as a player, Fulton excelled at representative level too.

Although being born in Warrington, Fulton played for the Kangaroos, mainly at stand-off.

He made his international debut in 1968 when he played in the Rugby League World Cup, helping the Kangaroos beat France in the final, 20-2.

There had been public outrage when Fulton was not selected for the 1967 tour but he was then a part of the Kangaroos squad for 11 straight seasons – captaining the team in seven Test matches.

He went on to play in three more World Cups, winning in 1970 – when he was also named man of the series – and in 1975.

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Fulton toured New Zealand three times, played in four Ashes series against Great Britain and a World Championship campaign too.

Seventeen appearances were racked up for New South Wales as well against Queensland.

After Fulton announced his retirement, a whole new chapter of his career began.

His coaching resumé became as impressive as his playing cv.

It was no surprise that Fulton became a coach as his knowledge of the game was second to none.

He was a bold character on and off the field and enjoyed being a leader.

Fulton took over at Eastern Suburbs and led them to a Grand Final in his first full season in charge, staying there until 1983.

> More iconic Warrington sports stars in our Hall of Heroes

He then returned to Manly and in 1987 he steered Manly to a Grand Final win against Canberra Raiders.

That led to the second ever World Club Challenge in which Fulton's men were defeated by Wigan at Central Park.

When Fulton left Manly to become the coach of Australia they struggled heavily, such was the level to which his absence was missed throughout club affairs.

Fulton’s first Test series in 1989 was an impeccable one as he led the Kangaroos to a 3-0 win over New Zealand.

He guided Australia to two World Cup successes as a coach, coming in 1992 and 1995.

His international coaching ended with 32 wins, one draw and six losses.

Fulton returned to club coaching with Manly in 1993 and he led them to three successive Grand Finals from 1995, with his second and last premiership as a coach coming in 1996 when the Sea Eagles defeated St George at the Sydney Football Stadium.

It was during his second period in charge at Manly that he handed first-grade debuts to his two sons, Scott and Brett, while he and wife Ann also brought a daughter into the world, Kristie.

In total, he coached elite-level sides in more than 500 matches.

Fulton's impact on the game did not end there.

He was a selector for New South Wales and Australia, and promoted the game for more than 30 years in his commentary work.

His individual accolades tell a lot about his influence and impact on the sport.

He was among the first group players to be granted 'Immortal' status of the Australian game alongside Clive Churchill, Johnny Raper and Reg Gasnier in 1981.

Fulton was inducted as a Member of the Order of Australia "for service to rugby league football" in 1994 and six years later he received the Australian Sports Medal.

In 2002 he was inducted into the Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame and in 2008 he was named in Australia's Team of the Century.

He was named player of the year for New South Wales Rugby League in 1973-74 and by Rugby League Week magazine in 1975.

And he was selected for the Australia, New South Wales and New South Wales Country teams of the 20th century, along with the NRL team of the 1960s and 1970s when announced retrospectively in 2006 and 2005.

It was fitting that all of his talent was on show to his birth town for the guest spell in 1969-70 but also when he returned either as a player or coach with Australia.

Fulton was one of the heroes of the 1973 Kangaroos tour, which saw him starring in the only Test match played at Warrington's Wilderspool Stadium.

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He scored a try that day, December 1, 1973, as the tourists sealed a 2-1 Ashes series victory over Great Britain.

And he was back on 'home' turf in 1978 as captain of the Australian side famously beaten by a depleted Wire side at a packed-in Wilderspool in 1978.

Warrington Guardian: Bobby Fulton leads the tourists out of the tunnel at a packed Wilderspool

Pictures above and below: Eddie Whitham

Warrington Guardian: Captains Bobby Fulton and Billy Benyon shake hands before the start. Pictures by Eddie Whitham

He was also at his old haunt as coach of the Kangaroos for another touring club match against Warrington in 1994, a contest his side won 24-0 on a rain-swept November night.

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It seems he was nearly always a winner – a champion as they would say in Australia.