The South Sydney Rabbitohs are mourning the passing of former Club captain and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Darrell Bampton, OAM, following a long illness today, aged 74.

Darrell Maxwell Bampton, Rabbitohs first grade player number 559, had a distinguished career as a player and administrator. Born on 20 June 1949, he was a junior with the Alexandria Rovers, Waterloo Waratahs and Zetland United clubs, was captain of the President’s Cup premiership winning team in 1969 and a member of the third grade premiership winning team the same year. The Rabbitohs won all three major junior competitions in 1969, they also won the third grade grand final against Canterbury, and lost the first grade grand final in a major upset to the Balmain Tigers.

Mr Bampton, nicknamed ‘Number Nine’, debuted in first grade against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in round nine, 1970, going on to play 116 games for South Sydney in seasons 1969-73 and 1978-79, including 51 in first grade, scoring one try.

He left Souths at the end of 1973 to join Collegians Wollongong as captain-coach, mainly because he was having trouble cementing a place in the back row due to the likes of Paul Sait, Bob McCarthy and Gary Stevens. Ron Coote had departed two years earlier. He was captain of the victorious Illawarra CRL side against Great Britain in 1975.

At the beginning of 1978, new coach Jack Gibson urged Mr Bampton to return home. He had been commuting from Coogee to Wollongong three nights a week for training and jumped at the offer. His form in the pre-season was so good that Gibson made him the club captain.

As a football administrator his talents have been recognised at Club, NSW and Australian levels. He was CEO of South Sydney Football Club (1997-1999), NSW State Of Origin manager (1999-2002), Tri-series ARL manager (1999), World Cup manager (2000), Kangaroo tour manager (2001) and ANZAC Test manager vs New Zealand (2002). He was also appointed vice-president of the NSWRFL (2002).

Mr Bampton was awarded Life Membership of SSDRLFC in 1994, and also, Life Membership of the NSWRL in 2006. Then on Monday, 9 June 2009, his talents were recognised by the Australian Government when he was awarded the Order Of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to Rugby League through a range of executive roles as a player and as a mentor of young athletes.

His nephew Matthew Bampton played lower grades for the Rabbitohs in 1991 and 1993.

On behalf of everyone connected to the Rabbitohs, we offer our deepest and most sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr Darrell Bampton, OAM.

Mr Bampton will be laid to rest on Wednesday 17 January at 10:15am. A live stream of the funeral service will be available by clicking here.

A Celebration of Life for Mr Bampton will follow at 11am at The Juniors Kingsford, 558a Anzac Parade, Kingsford.

In memory of of 'No. 9', please consider making a donation to Family of League.

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