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The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs would like to express their sincere condolences and pay their respect to the family of John McDonald, who peacefully passed away in Toowoomba yesterday.

Affectionately known as 'Cracker', John McDonald made an immense contribution to the game of Rugby League, as a player, captain, coach and administrator.

As a player, he made ten interstate appearances for Queensland, played 13 Test matches for Australia and 62 matches for the Sea Eagles.

He was the first coach of the QLD State of Origin, and guided the team to a historic win in the inaugural State of Origin match at Lang Park.

Post his coaching career, he took up administrative roles and was equally adept in those roles, making an enormous contribution at all levels of the game including at a local, state, national and international level.

Between 1992 and 2012, John Chaired the QRL. A charismatic leader, he was also an Australian Rugby League Chairman, International Federation boss, long-serving NRL administrator and Chairman of the Toowoomba Rugby League.

After nearly 50-years service to the game, John was awarded Life Membership of the QRL in 2007 and later inducted into the Queensland Sport hall of Fame in 2016.

John was fiercely proud to have maintained his ties to grass roots rugby league in his home city of Toowoomba.

The Bulldogs are proud to have worked with John and members of his family whilst establishing a satellite Academy in the Toowoomba region, and in forging an affiliation with the Western Clydesdales. 

Above all else, John was a devoted family man, raising six children with his wife, Joan. 

Joan has worked tirelessly in recent years as a volunteer with the Family of League Foundation (formerly Men of League), in which John was an 'Honouree'.

The Bulldogs would like to send their deepest condolences to Joan, and family and friends of John at this sad time. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and cherished member of the community.

Source: David Middleton, League Information Services;

Acknowledgement of Country

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs respect and honour the Darug and Eora nations, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.