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The St George Illawarra Dragons wish to send their condolences to the family and friends of Max Ninness who sadly past away late last week.

The Dragons will pay special tribute to the life and legacy of Ninness at tonight's game against the Parramatta Eels at WIN Stadium, Wollongong.

The NRL team will also wear black arm bands in tribute to a man who wore many hats during his time in rugby league.

At the Dragons alone his roles including first grade assistant coach, lower grade coach, recruitment manager, video analyst and game strategist. These roles extended to his time spent at the Sharks, South Sydney and Illawarra Steelers.

He played assistant to the likes past coaches such as Tommy Bishop, Bill Anderson, Brian Smith, David Waite, Andrew Farrar and Nathan Brown.

He also played one first grade for the Dragons and was a member of the club's third grade premiership wins of 1965 and 1966 – the latter of which he captained.

His affiliation with the Helensburgh Tigers saw Ninness nurture young talent at a grass roots level all the way to first grade.

At an international level, Ninness was the team manager and assistant coach to the Fiji Bati in their miraculous run to the semi-finals at the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.  

Tributes flooded in following the news of his passing, which will play part in tonight's tribute to the life and times of Ninness.

"Max changed the game of rugby league," Brian Smith said.
He was without doubt the greatest fountain of knowledge I've met."

Rugby league historian and journalist Ian Heads said: "Max was a shrewd advisor who epitomized the sort of high quality in the 'backroom' that good football clubs must have."

Former Dragons, New South Wales and Australian centre Mark Coyne labelled Ninness the "mad professor" in tribute of his tactical and analytical rugby league mind.

"Max was a brilliant tactician. He was able to pull a game apart, and more importantly, upcoming opponents apart," Coyne said.

"Max could always find a chink in the armour of all the best teams."

The Max Ninness tribute will occur at 7:30pm, just prior to the Dragons v Eels clash tonight at WIN Stadium, Wollongong.


Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour 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 Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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