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Title: ... p102 - Keith Holman Orbituary by Roy Masters SMH Oct 2011

League legend Keith Holman dead
By Roy Masters SMH, October 12, 2011

One of rugby league’s most loved characters, Keith ‘‘Yappy’’ Holman, died of a massive heart attack on Tuesday night.

Holman achieved a rare trifecta, being a player and referee at international level, as well as a first grade coach.

He represented Australia as halfback in 32 Tests, played exactly 200 first grade games for Western Suburbs, coached the Magpies in 1977, winning the mid week Amco Cup and refereed two international matches in 1972

He played his last game - the 1961 grand final between Western Suburbs and St George - probably at age 36. Being an orphan, his age was never certain.

Only two weeks ago, his beloved wife Hazel, found records which suggested Keith was two years older than previously believed.

‘‘No wonder he won all those 14 year old sprint races he used to boast about,’’ one of his former teammates said.

NSWRL records cite his birth year as 1927 but it is now believed to be 1925, certainly young enough for him to enlist in the RAAF during World War II.

Holman was the only rugby league player to have a junior club named after him, with the Enfield based Holman club being a proud member of the Western Suburbs junior league.

When the Magpies moved to Campbelltown, the club folded rather than produce internationals who would wear the jumper of another district club.

‘‘Yappy’’ earned his nickname from his continuous chatter.

Once, on a long road run, he was excitedly talking about an ancient tackle and unintentionally elbowed me off the top of a levee bank, unaware I had tumbled into a creek.

He was still chatting two kilometres later, assuming I was running beside him.

Many of today’s coaches received their accreditation from courses run by Holman and the NSWRL Coaching Panel and recall being heavily tackled by him when he was aged 60.

He was awarded the MBE and life membership of the NSWRL.

Keith suffered Alzeimiers disease over the past few years and while no-one at Wests reunions could be certain he recognised them, everyone knew and adored Yappy.




Appears in the following pages ....P102_Keith HOLMAN
Date of posting ... 09-May-2012
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