The West Tigers have paid tribute to the late Tommy Raudonikis after his death at 70 this week with an incredible gesture for the legend.
A league larrikin whose passing has seen an outpouring of stories and tributes from across the rugby league and sporting community, Raudonikis died in a Gold Coast hospital on Wednesday morning.
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The passing was always going to get a champion’s send off as the Western Suburbs Magpies legend was a larger-than-life character.
The Tigers retired the legendary halfback’s jersey for the weekend with the number seven not in use for all four fixtures this weekend.
The NRL was the last to grace the field with halfback Luke Brooks, wearing No. 22, the last player out of the sheds with the number seven jersey.
It had been the same honour for each starting halfback this round.
As has been the case across the weekend, the players and fans also had a moment of silence and though some fans yelled out during the silence, it was a respectful honour for the departed legend.
“What a legend he was,” NRL great Steve Roach said. “He would have been the type of bloke I would have like to play for Tommy.
“What a player. The number seven will never be the same.”
Luke Brooks brought out Tommy’s jersey.Source:FOX SPORTS
The No. 7 on the sideline for the game.Source:FOX SPORTS
Great scenes in honour of Tommy Raudonikis.Source:FOX SPORTS
Faced by a big crowd at Leichhardt Oval, the traditional home of the Balmain Tigers before the merger with the Magpies, many fans were wearing Magpies jerseys.
“Fantastic to see a big crowd here at Leichhardt,” Fox League’s Warren Smith said. “It wasn’t one of Tommy’s home grounds quite obviously but he will be with us in spirit this afternoon.”
But that wasn’t all.
In the seventh minute the crowd stood for round of applause, remembering and honouring the legendary rugby league figure.
“The applause rings out around Leichhardt in honour of the late great Tommy Raudonikis,” Smith said in commentary. “That is a beautiful touch.”
The crowd were on their feet in the seventh minute for Tommy.Source:FOX SPORTS
The Tigers went close to scoring in the seventh minute, which would have been “poignant” according to Smith, but it wasn’t to be.
What a great gesture.
Leichhardt Oval on a Sunday Afternoon, doesn’t get any better. Let’s do it for Tommy Boys 💪
I felt chills during at the 7th minute. Genuine chills. #NRLTigersCowboys
But the crowd were stunned into silence when Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow scored in just the third minute.
The Tigers weren’t about to lay down and hit back and while it was the 11th minute rather than the seventh, it was pretty close to a poetic moment.
Raudonikis will be further honoured in round nine against the Gold Coast Titans when Wests will next play at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
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