Clive Bernard Churchill – “We shall never see his equal.”

Clive Churchill, Rabbitoh #365 also known as the ‘Little Master’ is a rugby league immortal.

Clive passed away in 1985. The following is his eulogy written by his wife Joyce.

Clive Churchill – . By Joyce Churchill

It is not often in a person’s lifetime that we can say we have been honoured to have known the ‘Little Master’.

I doubt that there is anything I can say about Clive Bernard that has not already been said.

Said by his contemporaries, said by journalists, television and radio commentators, by members of the public who would flock to watch the elusive brilliance of this football genius on cold wet Saturday afternoons long before the advent of television.

His deeds on the football field are legendary throughout the sporting world. Whenever a yardstick is required to measure the worth of a footballer past or present, Clive Bernard Churchill is the medium.

A man who was gifted with characteristics most of us only dream of; with intelligence, tenacity and courage that we read of in the history books when alluding to great warriors of the past; of courageous heroes in days of old and men of great and outstanding achievements.

Clive Churchill was all of these things and more. As a husband he was loving, hardworking, loyal and honest. He was a devoted father; guiding, caring, patient and affectionate. After his football career had finished, his whole life was his family. Their comfort, welfare and security.

Off the football field, most of the qualities that made Clive the great champion he was also carried him through his business, social and family life.

The same determined attitude, the ‘never say die’ approach to any obstacle that beset him (on or off the field) was taken front on, as many of his adversaries would attest. No challenge was too great; no task was too hard; no problem was too tough.

His personality, his wit and his logic were all hallmarks of this great man. His waggish smile was contagious and none of us forgot his sharp mind, his repartee and his sense of humour.

Many of us were honoured to have been present when 500 of his friends gathered at the A.J.C. Centre for his benefit night. The emotion of the evening’s proceedings will live vividly in our minds forever. As will the tremendous joy and pride that was reflected on the Little Masters face as the audience stood as one to applaud his paragon of sporting history. The most loved and most respected man to ever represent his country, wearing the cherished green and gold and playing the greatest game of all.

We shall never see his equal. But we are fortunate that in our own lifetime we were honoured to have been witness to his great achievements. Being close to such a wonderful human being will remain paramount in our memories forever.

We will always remember Clive for his great sporting prowess, for his humility, his humour, his love of country, of family and friends.

Let us today remember his approach to life. His positive mental attitude in times of adversity, his astute assessment of a situation and his brilliant perception to act accordingly.

His warmth and sincerity, his compassion in others’ times of need, his ready advice and guidance, his wit and humour and his cheeky smile which was the Clive Churchill trade mark.

The world today is a much sadder place and we are much poorer – we have lost a great man. But knowing Clive Bernard as we all did he would not want us to be sad, but rather he would want us to be joyful in the knowledge that his suffering has passed and he is finally at rest.

As was the case on so many momentous occasions throughout his illustrious career, the crowd would rise to acknowledge his brilliance, his talent and his class. Just as the ‘Little Master’ brought his adoring public to its feet in recognition of his outstanding deeds, can we now rise as a final salute to the “greatest man” of all.

Farewell Clive Churchill

Joyce Churchill, ANZ Stadium Sydney, Sunday The 5th of October 2014. Digital Image Jon Ng

The Clive Churchill Medal is awarded to the best player in the NRL Grand Final every year.

Sam Burgess won the Clive Churchill medal in 2014. Digital Image by Robb Cox.