Indigenous rugby league pioneer Lionel Morgan dies


Indigenous rugby league pioneer Lionel Morgan has died, aged 85.

The first Indigenous player to represent Australia in rugby league, Morgan scored a double on debut against France in 1960 before playing two more Tests against the nation.

The winger, who died on Saturday night in Brisbane, also played 12 interstate matches for Queensland against NSW between 1960 and 1963, scoring 11 tries.

A player and coach with Wynnum-Manly in the Brisbane Rugby League, Morgan was named in the Australian Indigenous rugby league team of the century in 2008.

"It was a fitting reward and left him proudly alongside the likes of Arthur Beetson, Johnathan Thurston and Steve Renouf," ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys said in a statement.

"Lionel Morgan was a trailblazer.

"The Australian Rugby League Commission and everyone across the game will be very saddened by Lionel's passing, but his legacy will remain forever.

"He was and always will be an inspiration to many of our players."

A minute's silence was observed before Sunday's Queensland Cup grand final for Morgan, and for the Maroons' first State of Origin coach John McDonald, who died last Wednesday.