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Tears and triumph as Daley honoured

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August 21, 2019 by admin

IN 1975, Laurie Daley stepped onto Willow Park as a junior Junee Diesel, last Friday, he walked onto the ground having captained the nation’s team, the state team and as a member of the 1986 premiership winning Diesels.
Nanjing Night Net

An official ceremony marked the renaming of Willow Park to Laurie Daley Oval.

PICTURES AND VIDEO: Laurie Daley Oval opening

“It’s just a great honour and a tremendous feeling given that you don’t play footy for these things and you don’t expect these type of honours,” Daley said.

“When they told me it was going to be done, I thought ‘that would be great’ but I don’t think it hit me until today, I was overwhelmed with emotions I think.”

Moved to tears by the honour, Daley signed autographs and greeted supporters with a huge smile on the very ground where he fell in love with rugby league.

It was the perfect 70th birthday celebration for Frances Daley, as Junee honoured her only boy as the town’s favourite son.

Growing up with seven older sisters, Daley learnt a thing or two about remembering his humble roots in Junee and the proud mother of eight admitted how important it was her son had stayed so grounded despite his success.

“It was lovely, so emotional, so beautiful,” she said. “But, he has seven sisters and I’m proud of them all the same.

“I don’t like to single any one of them out for their achievements.

“They kept him in line when he was growing up – that’s for sure.”

In front of hundreds of supporters and well-wishers, NSW Rugby League chief Geoff Carr described Daley as a “tremendous sportsperson” and credited his humble attitude to growing up in Junee.

One of Daley’s first coaches, Terry Sykes, said it was a “magic day”.

Sykes, who spearheaded a renewed push with Terry Seton to rename Willow Park, said he was glad the oval now bore Laurie’s name.

Last Friday also marked the official opening of the new broadcast box and canteen.

Daley said he hoped the refurbished grounds would go a long way to inspiring the next generation of rugby league stars to sprout in Junee.

“I know there’s young players like I used to be out there, with dreams like I did to play for the Diesels, and then go on to the NRL and play for NSW and Australia,” he said.

“I’ll be the first one to congratulate that kid.

Laurie Daley and his mother Frances look out over the field named after one of Junee’s most famous exports. Picture: Oscar Colman

“I was lucky enough to do what I was able to do, I hope this ground gives kids some hope that it doesn’t matter if you come from a country town, you can achieve anything.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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