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Standing in the iconic SCG dressing room just minutes before taking the field for the 1980 grand final, Graeme Hughes glanced over at good mate Geoff Robinson and gave a nod.

No words needed to be exchanged between the two forwards who would patrol the left-hand side of the field for Canterbury against Easts in the premiership decider - they were ready for the biggest game of their lives and they knew it.

"Robbo and I got changed not far from each other on grand final day but we had not said a word to each other about the day as we were about to run out," Hughes recalled.

"When we were finally dressed, I just looked at him and he looked at me and we both nodded. No words, no gee-up.

"We had no warm-up. All that had been done during the week at training and with a couple of beers after training at the pub."

Hughes and Robinson would go on to etch their names in Canterbury folklore that afternoon as Ted Glossop's team took down the Roosters 18-4, icing the win with one of the greatest grand final tries of all time to winger Steve Gearin.

One of Canterbury's toughest and most respected players, Robinson passed away on Wednesday at the age off 66. He had battled throat cancer for several years and is believed to have suffered a heart attack.

Robinson was a local junior and played 139 first-grade games for Canterbury between 1977-86, savouring premiership glory in 1980 and '84 in the company of some of the greatest to ever wear the blue and white.

The 1980 team famously featured the three Hughes brothers Graeme, Mark and Garry, and the three Mortimer brothers Steve, Peter and Chris, as well as George Peponis and Greg Brentnall.

Gearin with a take for the ages

Four years later Robinson would line up alongside Paul Langmack, Steve Folkes, Peter Kelly and Peter Tunks in a fearsome forward pack revered as the 'Dogs of War'.

Coached by Warren Ryan, the '84 Bulldogs downed arch-rivals Parramatta 6-4 in a knock-down, drag-out decider that was no place for the faint hearted.

"Robbo's a player that has to be there when a team is under pressure because he’s the guy that can take you forward, and he always took us forward," Hughes said.

"People forget how quick he was, he came out of juniors as a centre and eventually he finished up in the front row playing against blokes like Arthur Beetson at 92kg.

"We use the word 'tough' a lot but it doesn't seem enough for Robbo. He was fearless, he was unique, and we were great mates. It’s heartbreaking."

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.