It is with much regret that Leeds Rhinos have learnt of the passing of former Head Coach Graham Murray in Australia.
Murray, 58, suffered a heart attack earlier this year but had been on the road to recovery before suffering another heart attack.
He joined the Rhinos in 1998 from Hunter Mariners, having started his coaching career at Illawarra Steelers, having played as a half back with Parramatta and Souths. He set about transforming the Rhinos immediately, creating a side that feared no one and never took a backward step. Leeds reached the inaugural Grand Final in 1998 eventually losing out to Wigan however the following year Murray had his finest hour when Leeds defeated London at Wembley to win the Challenge Cup Final. Murray left the Rhinos at the end of the season and continued his successful coaching career with Sydney Roosters, North Queensland Cowboys and New South Wales.
Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington commented, "It is devastating news and so sad to have lost Graham, who will be fondly remembered by all our fans, players and staff who knew him from his time with us.
"He was very popular and so professional in everything he did. He was an outstanding coach and mentor and he cared about all aspects of Rugby League. The game has lost a great servant and personality and our thoughts are with Amanda and Cara."
Former Leeds Rhinos star Barrie McDermott commented, "Graham Murray had a huge influence on Leeds Rhinos in the late 90's but his legacy is everywhere. So many of the players he influenced are still here and contributing to the philosophy he cultivated. 'Always be a man of your word' was his best piece of advice. Thank you from the past and future Rhinos and especially thanks for '99 one of the highest points of my career."
Leeds Rhinos will wear black arm bands as a mark of respect for their former coach and will be requesting a minutes silence before kick off when they face London Broncos this Thursday at the Twickenham Stoop, a fitting opponent to remember Muzza.
Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats fans can still book their family ticket for the Tetley's Festive Challenge on Boxing Day at Headingley Carnegie, kick off 11.30am from just £40 for 2 adults and 2 juniors.