Nothing was too much trouble for Barry Ross when it came to helping a friend in need or contributing to sporting good causes.
He held a special place in his heart for rugby league, and had a legion of friends from the code because of his willingness to help out and to be involved, whether at an official level or in the background.
Barry contributed countless articles to the Family of League Magazine over many years, and was involved in a host of welfare activities associated with the Foundation. In recent years, for instance, he gave his time to assist former Test halfback, Steve ‘Turvey’ Mortimer, who is battling ill-health.
A product of Wollongong High, Barry played under-18s in Wollongong with future Immortal, Graeme Langlands. Barry continued playing league in the seniors, in the Parramatta District, and also played first grade cricket. He became a teacher, and the expertise he gained from that profession, plus his love and knowledge of sport, helped him land a job as television commentator: Rex Mossop’s right hand man for match broadcasts… with the duo covering 30 Grand Finals, a host of inter-state games and tests. Barry covered the 1978 and 1982 Kangaroo tours of Britain and France, and also accompanied Rex to the Olympic Games.
When the Broncos burst on the scene in 1988, Barry became their Sydney stats man. In 1990, he even drove Broncos’ legend, Wally Lewis, to Sutherland Hospital after Wally broke his arm playing against St George.
The affection Barry had for the game is illustrated by the fact he took it on himself to show French players around the Sutherland Shire in 1981, when he sensed the touring side was not being looked after by the League administration of the time.
Manly players, Englishman, John Gray, and dashing winger, Tom Mooney, were best man and groomsman respectively on Barry’s wedding day.
One of the stories Barry wrote for the magazine was the result of a reunion he arranged between Englishman, Bob Blackwood, and legendary Australian Test forward, Bob McCarthy, who had been combatants on the 1973 Kangaroo tour. They had not seen each other since that tour, and Barry got them together during Blackwood’s visit to Australia in 2019.
Barry, a keen historian, wrote several books on a variety of topics. One that he took great pride in was detailing the history of the Gerringong Rugby League Club on the South Coast of New South Wales.
A noted public speaker and MC, he was always in demand and had friends across all sporting codes… especially rugby league and rugby union.
He and Susan had been married for 47 wonderful years and were blessed with sons David and Nathan. It goes without saying, he loved to watch his grandchildren play sport.
A wonderful life fulfilled, but taken from us too soon. We will always remember Barry… especially for his very amusing sayings.