Bob Fulton

Coaching Career

Vital Statistics

Full Name
Robert Fulton
Sunday, 1st December, 1946
Sunday, 23rd May, 2021 (Aged 74 years and 173 days)
Place Of Birth
Warrington, Cheshire, England

Awards & Accolades

Clive Churchill Medal
RLW Player of the Year
Dally M Coach Of The Year
1981, 1983
International Hall Of Fame
National Rugby League Hall Of Fame
NSWRL Hall Of Fame

Known Family Links

Scott Fulton
Brett Fulton
Zac Fulton


Born in Lancashire England in 1946 Bob Fulton immigrated to Australia as a youngster and settled in the Wollongong area. Signed by Manly from Wollongong Wests in 1966, the brilliant centre/five-eighth was a shock omission from the 1967-68 Kangaroo tour (having already played for NSW) but made his debut for Australia in the World Cup the following year. In 1968, at age 20, Fulton captain-coached City against Country and led Manly in the 13-9 grand final loss to Souths but he had to wait until 1970 to make his Test debut. (Fulton played RU for Combined Services against the visiting NZ ‘All Blacks’ while completing his National Service in 1968 and later returned to England to play for Warrington in the 1969-70 off-season). After taking his place in the deciding Third Test against Great Britain in 1970 he kicked two field goals in Manly's 23-12 grand final loss to Souths and was a member of Australia's victorious World Cup squad at the end of the year. Fulton’s class was integral to Manly winning its first premiership title in 1972 and it was his touch of brilliance in scoring two tries that turned a violent, brawling grand final against Cronulla into victory the following year. A cheeky, tenacious competitor with great anticipation and darting, incisive acceleration Fulton was the season's leading try-scorer in 1972 (19t), 1973 (18t) and 1976 (18t), and scored a club record 129 tries in his career with Manly. He made his first Kangaroo tour in 1973 and, after appearing in 8 successive Test matches, played in the 1975 World Series. In 1976 Fulton captained Manly to its third premiership title but then stunned the rugby league world when he signed with Easts (he was later made a life member of the Manly club while still playing for the Roosters.) Fulton then played in his fourth World Cup competition (1968-70-72-77) and appeared in a record 15 World Cup matches during his career. Fulton achieved his highest honour as a player when he captained Australia against NZ and led the 1978 Kangaroos to Ashes success. Although beaten in two Tests in France, on a personal level he again returned from England and France as the leading try-scorer on a Kangaroo Tour. He took over as captain-coach of Easts on his return in 1979 but his playing career came to an end midway through the season after succumbing to a knee injury. With Fulton as coach, Easts qualified for the 1980 grand final and were minor premiers in 1980-81 but it was no surprise to see him return to Manly in 1983. Fulton brought to the club the type of player required to win the premiership and that achievement came, belatedly, in 1987. The following year he resigned as Manly coach after six seasons (taking on the role of coaching co-ordinator with the Sea Eagles) and was named Australian Test coach. Under his guidance, Australia's international dominance continued with World Cup wins in 1992 and 1995. However, in each subsequent series against Great Britain (1990 Kangaroos, 1992 Ashes series and 1994 Kangaroos) and against NZ in 1991 Australia was stretched to the deciding Third Test of the series. It is a mark of Fulton’s ability as a coach and mental toughness that Australia went on to win every series. He again took up the coaching reins with Manly following the resignation of Graham Lowe in 1993 and took the club to a hat -trick of grand finals in 1995-97. Disappointingly, despite dominating each of the three trouble-plagued seasons, Manly could win only the one title (against St George in 1996.) Fulton, who was awarded the OAM in 1994, placed himself in the forefront of the fight against Super League when he was used as an advocate by the ARL in the counter-signing of young players. At the end of the 1997 season he resigned as Australian Test coach and signalled an end to his coaching career when he stated that 1999 would be his last with the Sea Eagles. Despite resigning after Manly’s poor start to the beginning of the season Bob Fulton's standing as one of the game's post-war 'immortals' remains intact. He retired as the most experienced coach in premiership history (405 matches in 19 seasons, a record since bettered) and Australia’s most-capped national coach (39 Tests in 1988-97 as well as two World Cup victories). More importantly, his single-minded professionalism as a player, captain and coach enriched the game immeasurably over four decades. In 2001 Fulton was appointed to the NSW and Australian Selection Panels and was an automatic inclusion into the RL Hall of Fame when it was formed in 2002.

Additional Notes

Rugby League Project previously had Bob Fulton's year of birth listed as 1947, this was corrected to 1946 on the 25th of May 2021.

Coaching Career Statistics

All statistics shown in this section are based only on data available in the RLP database, and are not necessarily a complete and/or 100% accurate representation of a player's career. This information should be used as a guide only. If you see a question mark (?), it denotes that the figure is not available.

To view a list of corresponding matches, click on the List button.


Competition   Games W L D Win %  
City vs Country Firsts 1 0 1 0 0.00% List
NRL 405 261 133 11 64.44% List
NRL Finals 27 13 14 0 48.15% List
National Panasonic Cup 14 9 5 0 64.29% List
World Club Challenge 1 0 1 0 0.00% List
Tour Matches Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 1 1 0 0 100.00% List
Tour Matches Australia 56 52 4 0 92.86% List
Test Series 20 15 4 1 75.00% List
World Cup 14 13 1 0 92.86% List
The Ashes 9 6 3 0 66.67% List
Anzac Tests 1 0 1 0 0.00% List


Test Matches - By Team

Team Years Games W L D Win %  
Australia 1989-96, 1998 40 33 6 1 82.50% List

International Matches - By Team

Team Years Games W L D Win %  
Australia 1989-1997 1 1 0 0 100.00% List

World Cup Matches - By Team

Team Years Games W L D Win %  
Australia 1989-92, 1995 14 13 1 0 92.86% List


Australia - By Team

Team Years Games W L D Win %  
NSW City Firsts 1967 1 0 1 0 0.00% List

Club Career


Team Season Games W L D Win %  
Eastern Suburbs NSWRFL 1979 22 9 12 1 40.91% List
Eastern Suburbs NSWRFL 1980 25 15 8 2 60.00% List
Eastern Suburbs NSWRFL 1981 24 16 8 0 66.67% List
Eastern Suburbs NSWRFL 1982 29 17 10 2 58.62% List
Manly NSWRFL 1983 28 23 5 0 82.14% List
Manly NSWRL 1984 25 14 11 0 56.00% List
Manly NSWRL 1985 25 13 11 1 52.00% List
Manly NSWRL 1986 25 14 10 1 56.00% List
Manly NSWRL 1987 26 20 5 1 76.92% List
Manly NSWRL 1988 23 15 8 0 65.22% List
Manly NSWRL 1993 23 16 7 0 69.57% List
Manly NSWRL 1994 23 16 6 1 69.57% List
Manly ARL 1995 25 22 3 0 88.00% List
Manly ARL 1996 25 21 4 0 84.00% List
Manly ARL 1997 25 17 6 2 68.00% List
Manly NRL 1998 25 13 12 0 52.00% List
Manly NRL 1999 7 0 7 0 0.00% List


Team Years Games W L D Win %  
Eastern Suburbs 1979-82 100 57 38 5 57.00% List
Manly 1983-88, 1993-99 305 204 95 6 66.89% List
Overall1979-1999 405 261 133 11 64.44% List

Your Say

Steve says: Bob Fulton played 213 games for Manly. (28/10/2009)

Anonymous says: Did Bob ever play lower grades? (15/03/2011)

Anonymous says: bobby fulton was the greatist player he played most
of is games at centre for manly and upset the fans
when playing is final two seasons at eastern suburbs was the most complete player i have seen
played five eight on occassion (04/04/2012)

Karl says: Bob is one of the select few to have never played a lower grade game in his career. (04/04/2012)

Polyhistor says: Although Fulton never played senior rugby union, In 1968 whilst on national service, he represented Australian Combined Forces against the touring All Blacks. (03/05/2012)

Phil Ward says: As a youngster I attended every Manly game at Brookvale during Bob Fultons career..I would dread him having an injury as Manlys fortunes often rested on his shoulders..Put simply, he was the greatest player to play at none. (16/09/2012)

RONNIE says: Bozo was my sole reason my love rugby league, and my love of MANLY RLFC which i have enjoyed for 40 years . thanks bozo . your the best. (12/08/2013)

Dave leech says: Really enjoyed his time at his birthplace Warrington. (26/11/2013)

Anonymous says: A little known fact is that Fulton verbally agreed to captain/coach the North Sydney bears prior to the 1977 season. He even recruited Greg Pierce from Cronulla & John Chapman from St George to join him. He reneged when K Packer came in with a bigger offer for Easts. The others fell over to as they had get out clauses if Fulton was not coach. What might have been for the poor old Bears. (30/01/2014)

Bill Reinholtd says: Bob played intra services rugby union when he served national service at North Head in Sydney as a PT instructor. I played 'beside ' him and never ceased to be amazed at his pace and skills. I was a convert from Australian Rules and thoroughly enjoyed learning about rugby from Bob whose explosive speed, change of pace and fierce tackling made him almost untouchable. (18/10/2014)

John REA says: Bobby was a freak attacking machine,could score a try out of nothing and a great defender,THANKS BOB for all the great football i was lucky enough to see !

bo (19/04/2015)

Steve Phillips says: Why did Bob play for the roosters in 1978 if Ken arthurston said he was the best player to play for manly then manly made him life member I know he was a great player but being called a champion player a big fall (25/06/2015)

Adrian Care says: Bob Fulton has earned his spot as one of the greatest English born players to ever play Rugby League in Australia. His accolades is the exact reason why he is centre in my all time club football dream team. (05/10/2015)

John warrington says: Awesome player played for warrington in1969 (27/01/2016)

ray says: one of the greatest players absolute immortal. (20/11/2017)

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Contributions: Greg Fiveash, Andrew Ferguson, Shawn Dollin, Rugby League Tables, Alan Katzmann, Paul Carter, Bill Bates