24 Apr 2024

Former Australian NRL player Terry Hill dies aged 52

8:01 pm on 24 April 2024

By Michael Doyle, ABC News

Terry Hill during the NRL Rugby League match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Manly Sea Eagles at Ericsson Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand on Sunday 13th March, 2005. EDITORIAL USE ONLY: Photo: Hannah Johnston/Photosport


Terry Hill during the NRL Rugby League match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Manly Sea Eagles in Auckland on 13 March 2005. Photo: Photosport / Hannah Johnston

Former Australian rugby league centre Terry Hill has died aged 52.

The former Manly, Wests Tigers, Wests, Souths and Eastern Suburbs player is believed to have died from a heart attack in the Philippines.

Hill's death was confirmed to ABC Sport by the Manly Sea Eagles club via email.

Hill, 52, was an accomplished player in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V'landys described Hill as someone "universally loved" by the rugby league community.

"Terry was a prodigiously talented footballer who burst onto the scene in first grade as a teenager and went on to represent Australia in nine Test matches as well as playing 14 State of Origin matches for New South Wales," V'landys said.

"As well as being one of the game's great centres he was also one of its most popular characters, a giant personality who was universally loved by the players he played alongside over his long career in the top grade."

He played 246 first grade games in Australia, represented New South Wales 14 times in State of Origin, and played for Australia nine times.

Hill made his first grade debut in 1990 for Souths, but played the majority of his career with Manly.

He was part of the Sea Eagles 1996 ARL premiership-winning side.

He made his State of Origin debut for the Blues in Game III of the 1993 series, before becoming a regular in the side in the second half of the 1990s.

Hill was involved in one of Australian rugby league's most iconic photographs when he squared off Queensland Maroons rival Gorden Tallis during Game II of the 1999 series.

Manly CEO Tony Mestrov paid tribute to Hill, saying he will be fondly remembered by the Sea Eagles.

"Terry was a much loved and respected figure at not only the Sea Eagles, but across rugby league, where he played for several clubs,'' Mestrov said.

"On behalf of everyone at the Sea Eagles, we offer our deepest and sincere condolences to Terry's family and friends during this difficult time."

Hill's premiership captain Geoff Toovey also offered his condolences.

"Terry was a great player for Manly,'' Toovey said.

"He was a good friend. He did a lot of good things for his teammates."

Hill's influence was not confined to rugby league.

He was an advocate for greyhound racing, using his profile to promote the sport during his playing days.

"Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW), and in fact the entire greyhound racing community, is deeply saddened today by this tragic news of the passing of Terry Hill," GRNSW chief executive Rob Macaulay said.

"Terry was one of the great assets of the greyhound industry. He has been a lifelong supporter of greyhound racing, has owned some wonderful champion greyhounds along the way, and more importantly, his passion for the sport was infectious."