THE Rugby league community is mourning the loss of league legend Nevyl Hand.
Mr Hand will long be remembered as one of the Riverina’s best.
Mr Hand passed away in Cootamundra, where he and his late wife, Joan resided.
Born in Sydney in 1924, Hand was a North Sydney Bears prop and captain, who played for NSW in 1947-48.
Mr Hand took his place in the Australian side on the eve of the Second Test against NZ in 1948.
That match earned Hand a place on the 1948-49 Kangaroo Tour and the vigorous forward played in thirteen matches including the Second Test against Great Britain.
He was the last surviving team member of this tour, which also saw him play along side great mate the late Fred De Belin also of Cootamundra.
On his return from international duties, Mr Hand successfully negotiated a release from Norths (which had finished last in 1948) to captain-coach the Gundagai Tigers.
He was also a first grade referee in the Riverina and Maher Cup competitions.
The enormous impact he made on the Tigers saw him recognised by being named Gundagai’s forward of the century in 2008.
Mr Hand led his Gundagai Tigers to 23 consecutive Maher Cup wins – a then record.
Group nine paid tribute to the league legend saying that “the death of Nevyl Hand will sadden many Rugby League fans who remember the big front rower during his playing days.”
Mr Hand’s funeral will be held from noon today at the Uniting Church Cootamundra.