Eric Michael Robinson, affectionately known as ‘Ecca’ within the community, stands as a prominent figure in the narrative of Indigenous athletes' contribution to Rugby League. A Bundjalung man, Eric’s journey in the sport traces back to his birth in 1942 in Hillston, New South Wales. His legacy reaches across generations, as his lineage boasts notable Rugby League players: his son Ricky Walford played first grade for Easts, Norths, and St George between 1982 and 1996, while his grandsons, Nathan Merritt and twins Travis and Reece Robinson, have each carved their paths in the sport.

Eric's life, predominantly spent in inner Sydney, saw the flourishing of his athletic talent from his school days. His Rugby League career commenced at the tender age of 15 with the Alexandria Rovers, and soon after, he donned the jersey for the Redfern All Blacks. His potential was realised early on, playing a pivotal role in the South Sydney Rabbitohs' Presidents Cup victory in 1960 - a memorable win where he scored a crucial try against Easts.


Graduating to first grade in the same year, Eric made an immediate impact at the Rabbitohs, marking his debut in 1961 with a spectacular performance against Eastern Suburbs. He showcased his scoring ability by securing a hat trick of tries against Canterbury-Bankstown in just his first season. Over five seasons with the Rabbitohs, Eric's agility and skill on the field were unmistakable, leaving a lasting impression despite the brevity of his tenure.

Post his Rabbitohs era, Eric's prowess saw him through stints with Maitland, Brisbane Wests, and Bourke, including representing Western Division in the 1970 Caltex New South Wales Country Championships. His playing days concluded with a return to his roots at the Redfern All Blacks in the late 1970s.


Despite a first grade record of 42 games, 18 tries and three goals, the statistics barely skim the surface of Eric's influence at the Rabbitohs. His contributions were further recognised when he was inducted as a Life Member of the South Sydney Football Club during their 95th Annual General Meeting in 2003.

Today, Eric remains a cornerstone of the Redfern community as an honorary Elder at the Babana Aboriginal Men’s Group. His enduring nickname, ‘The Legend,’ not only reflects his remarkable career but also his role in paving the way for future Aboriginal sports stars. Eric Robinson’s story is not just one of personal achievement but of a profound legacy that continues to inspire and shape Australian Rugby League.

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