It is with a very heavy heart that I write that Reg Gasnier has passed away.
Words can’t explain what an amazing player Gasnier was. That his impact on the game spans generations, and yet he retired at the age of 28, shows how brightly his star shone on the game of Rugby League and why he is one of the games immortals.
I am way too young to have seen Reg Gasnier play and yet he has always been one of those legends that has stood tall over the game.
I remember when I first got the chance to see footage of Gasnier play, I was blown away. A lot of times you see old footage of great players and you have to remember that they were playing in a very different era than the one you are use to watching
Gasnier wasn’t like that.
You could see that he was a player that you could have been dropped right into the modern day game and he would have been dominant. The acceleration, the footwork, it was almost unfair that a player of such ability was playing against opponents that didn’t get the chance to view footage of him, scouting his strengths and weaknesses, and maybe then standing a chance of stopping him if they could denied him the ball in the first place.
Reg Gasnier of course was part of St George’s record run of 11 straight premierships. That he played in a team with so many other legends seems once again like it was unfair to everyone else in the era.
At international level Gasnier was a legend in his own time. The type of player people on the other side of the world wanted to make sure they got a chance to see with their own eyes.
Gasnier’s career ended on a football field in France in what should have been the prime of his career. That is probably the most unfair thing of all.
One of the games true gentlemen, and someone that always treated his place in the game with so much respect, Gasnier’s passing is a sad day for the game, but a moment in which we should all stand back and admire what he achieved on the field, and the way he carried himself off the field.
Younger fans will probably think of Reg Gasnier as Mark Gasnier’s uncle. Throughout his career Mark would often refer to “Uncle Reg”, something that always gave me a smile.
Reg always was aware of the pressure that his nephew carried with such a famous name, and he made sure he never added to that pressure. It is a true mark of the man I believe.
Reg Gasnier’s name will forever be remembered by fans of the sport. Like Dally Messenger, Dave Brown, Clive Churchill and other greats of the game, Reg Gasnier will be a name spoken with great pride by anyone that loved the sport.
My thoughts are with Reg’s family and friends.