The prince of centres: Reg Gasnier in action for St George.

The prince of centres: Reg Gasnier in action for St George. Photo: SMH

Rugby league Immortal Reg Gasnier has died aged 74.

Gasnier was one of the greatest players rugby league has ever produced, starring for the St George Dragons during their record run of 11 premierships, playing in seven of those grand finals. He passed away on Sunday evening.

Gasnier was nicknamed “Puff the Magic Dragon” and was dubbed the prince of centres,  who made his mark in the game with electric footwork after making his debuted in 1959 having progressed from St George junior club Renown United.

Reg Gasnier pictured in 1968. Click for more photos

Reg Gasnier, rugby league legend

Reg Gasnier pictured in 1968.

  • Reg Gasnier pictured in 1968.
  • Reg Gasnier in 1960.
  • Reg Gasnier in action for St George
  • Reg Gasnier pictured in 1963.
  • Bill Wilson and Reg Gasnier with a beer during the 1959 Kangaroo tour.
  • Reg Gasnier (R) and Johnny Raper at Marrickville Oval.
  • Rugby League's original 'Immortals' (L to R)
Clive Churchill, Bobby Fulton, Johnny Raper and Reg Gasnier.
  • Reg Gasnier in 1962.
  • Reg Gasnier.

He represented Australia in what was a then record of 36 Tests and captained his country eight times before retiring in 1967 with a broken leg, aged 28.  The rugby league fan base were shocked at his premature retirement and hoped he had many more good years left in him.

He was part of the initial rugby league Immortals, alongside teammate Johnny Raper and  Clive Churchill and Bob Fulton. There are now eight retired rugby league players who have been dubbed Immortals.

Gasnier represented Australia a record 36 times.

Gasnier represented Australia a record 36 times. Photo: Noel Stubbs

Gasnier was due to turn 75 on Monday. He has been of ill-health recently and has been living in a Sutherland Shire nursing home. He had a a series of operations to remove tumors from his brain and neck in 2010. In that same year he had a bronze statue of himself unveiled at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Gasnier long list of achievements include being inducted into the Australian Rugby League hall of fame, Australian rugby league’s Team of the Century and the Sport Australia hall of fame.

Former Australian Rugby League chairman Bill Buckley once described him, "On his day, he was the greatest rugby league player I have ever seen. Gasnier had an amazing change of pace and great anticipation. He was also particularly unselfish. He was without peer."

After his retirement Gasnier spent some time in the media and was granted a Member of the Order of Australia in 1989

His nephew Mark Gasnier was also a highly decorated centre, winning state and national honours while playing at the Dragons.