IT was usually 4 days before a biggest diversion of his coaching career yet Graham Murray was still meditative about his friends forward of football.
GRAHAM MURRAY DIES AGED 58
I had flown to Townsville to cover a lead-up to a 2005 NRL grand final, when Murray’s North Queensland side met Wests Tigers.
Muzza and we had been friends for many years. we got to know a friendly larrikin during his coaching days during Illawarra, when we would share a disreputable drink in a grotty aged bar underneath a aged grandstand after a diversion during Wollongong Showground.
I was staying in a little hotel room in Townsville when a phone rang. It was Muzza.
“Come over for a barbecue,” he said. we was stunned.
I told him he had a grand final to ready for – not to worry about interesting a journo from Sydney.
Muzza persisted. “I’ll even come collect we up,” he said.
I had to be firm: “Muz, go investigate some video. I’m not coming.”
That was a man. Others always came first.
Murray on Sunday had his life support incited off in Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital after pang dual heart attacks in new weeks. He had hung on, we were told, to contend goodbye to his family.
He positively precious mother Amanda and daughter Kara. Muzza’s genocide was reliable late Sunday night.
The initial time we met Muzza we was a 21-year-old who had usually started during The Daily Telegraph.
I had zipped opposite to record a story from Parramatta Leagues Club after a Eels had played a pre-season night game. Muzza was there, enjoying a few beers with friends.
He pronounced hello to me and soon grabbed me in a headlock. What a hell, we thought.
He usually laughed. We joked about that for years.
“Surprised we stayed in a media attention after that initiation,” he would say.
He did all in coaching.
Muzza was a initial manager to beam Illawarra into a finals. He was sacked after fasten Super League, where he pushed Hunter Mariners into a World Club Challenge final.
Murray coached a Roosters into a 2000 grand final – a club’s initial decider given 1980.
The day his agreement during a Roosters was terminated, we went and had a drink with him. He was with Amanda, good partner and heading actor manager Steve Gillis and Randwick fable Ken Wright.
Sure, he was dissapoint but, for Muzza, life always went on.
He won a Challenge Cup with Leeds in England. The Headingley true would chant: “There’s usually one Graham Murray.”
Muzza took over during North Queensland. He was a male to finally incite a sleeping giant, even yet his group usually couldn’t lift off a win that Sep day in 2005.
Later that year, Muzza took some of his coaching staff divided for a outing to Cairns. He threw in his possess income to assistance account a holiday.
He coached NSW in 2006 and 2007. we was with him in a unhappy NSW sauce room when a Blues mislaid a decider in Melbourne.
Muzza was shattered. Coaching meant all to him.
“He was always a bloke peaceful to share something,” former North Queensland partner manager Kelly Egan said. “That competence be a drink or a coaching tip. That was a arrange of bloke he was.”
Gillis was dull with sadness.
“He was usually a genuine good bloke. Muzza had a good football mind and was widely reputable in a game,” Gillis said.
“He was desired by everybody who knew him. He had a good clarity of humour and was a genuine family man. Muzza precious his mother and family. He desired a drink and a joke.
“He did some smashing things for rugby joining over many, many years.”
The final time we saw Muzza was when he visited a NSW group hotel in Brisbane before Origin II.
He was sitting in a corridor during a Sofitel Hotel surrounded by his friends on a Blues coaching staff. Muzza looked so happy that day to be behind alongside his aged buddies.
There has never been a some-more Aussie bloke than Graham “Muzza” Murray. He came from Sydney’s west and desired a beer, a giggle and a footy.
He will be missed by everybody in rugby league. He overwhelmed many.
Muzza done us giggle in life and cry in death. Rest in peace, aged mate.