Revered NRL recruiter and former first grade coach Peter Mulholland has died at the age of 68.
- Mulholland coached the Western Reds first grade team during the club’s brief existence
- He was regarded as a one of the great talent scouts in the NRL, most recently working with the Raiders
- Mulholland was an outstanding coach at the schoolboy level
Mulholland’s death from a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was confirmed by the Canberra Raiders on Thursday.
He cut his teeth as a coach at St Gregory’s College Campbelltown, where the likes of Mick Potter and Jason Taylor were under his tutelage.
His prowess in junior rugby league earned him a shot at first grade in the then-Australian Rugby League competition with the introduction of the Western Reds in 1995, where he lured Mark Geyer to the start-up franchise.
He also spent time with Super League club Paris Saint-Germain.
But it was in recruiting where the man affectionately known as “Skull” earned the respect of his peers.
Mulholland helped shape Penrith’s premiership-winning roster in 2003 and brought both Dale Finucane and Josh Jackson to Canterbury.
After time with Newcastle and St George Illawarra, he became Canberra’s recruitment manager in 2016 and his intimate knowledge of the English market helped land John Bateman and drive the club towards their first grand final in 25 years in 2019.
“The game has lost one of its greatest characters,” Canberra Raiders chief executive Don Furner said in a statement.
“Peter Mulholland was one of the most loved and respected people in rugby league and there will be many wonderful stories and memories shared about him over the coming weeks.
“He was instrumental in turning around our club’s fortunes and helping us make the grand final with some of his astute and targeted recruitment.”
Two-time premiership coach and former NSW State of Origin mentor Phil Gould was among many to pay tribute to Mulholland on social media.
“So sad to hear of his passing, after his long and brave battle with cancer,” Gould tweeted.
“He served rugby league all his life. Very popular with all in the game.”
Retired NRL player Joe Williams described Mulholland as a “truly beautiful man”.
“A great eye for Rugby League talent and an even better human being,” Williams tweeted.