‘Well respected’ and ‘admired’ are words that have been used to describe local rugby league legend Keith Tull.
Now, you can add Group Three Rugby League hall of famer.
Keith is credited with shaping the Gloucester Magpies into a powerhouse of the late 1950s to the mid-1960s.
His son Denis recalled the admiration shown for Keith from younger members of the squad.
“He had the respect of all his footballers because they were all young. If anyone got hurt, he would avenge it.
“He looked after and nurtured them because they were only kids when they played for Gloucester,” Denis said.
Keith linked up with the club in 1951 as captain-coach so the side could enter the Group 18 competition.
He played seven seasons, missing just one game and led the side to premierships in 1954 and 1957. Keith retired after the last grand final win but left the side in a strong position.
They went on to win the next three titles.
“They were a force,” Denis said.
“Dad left them with a strong team for quite a few years.”
Before his stint with the Magpies, Keith played in the Maher Cup with Cootamundra, captained Riverina against a touring English side and represented Country Firsts.
Keith was also one of the first to play for Parramatta in their inaugural season of first grade in the then NSWRFL in 1947.
Despite a brief stay with the club, Denis said Keith was always proud to be the 19th player to pull on the famed blue and gold jersey.
A powerful centre in the early days, Keith was later a handy five-eighth before a transition to lock towards the end of his career.
Keith was a school teacher at the time he returned to Gloucester.
Back in town, he joined six of his brothers in the butchery business.
He was also a keen cricketer in the local competition.
Dad left them with a strong team for quite a few yearsDenis Tull
“When I was 14, I played a lot of cricket under him,” Denis said.
“He was the captain of Gloucester.”
When he moved to Forster in his later years, Keith was still active.
“He played bowls for quite a few years,” Denis said.
“He was always interested in sport and watched a lot of sport.”
Denis and his son Nick represented the family at last Saturday’s hall of fame ceremony at the Wingham Services Club, where Denis was interviewed on stage to outline his dad’s impressive career.
Other inductees were Barrie Morrison, a prop who played with Gloucester from 1974-76, Gary Bridge and Barrie Smith.
Keith joins Kevin Everett and Joe White as the Gloucester representatives in the hall of fame.