Parramatta Eels player number 183, Paul ‘Pappy’ Pyers, has passed away after a short illness.
Pyers played for Eastern Suburbs before moving to Parramatta for two seasons in 1960 and 1961 in the NSWRL, and represented Queensland 11 times between 1957 and 1959.
He also had stints in Brisbane with Easts and Wynnum-Manly, and played and coached in Grafton, Murwillumbah, Mackay, Cairns, Gunnedah and Newcastle.
A nippy halfback who became a top-line winger, Pyers was able to slot into any position in the backline, and even captained the Eels on occasion.
A notorious character, Pyers tells the Courier Mail of an infamous occasion where he snuck a fake snake into the Queensland team to prank his teammates:
Pyers had purchased a five-foot rubber snake while in Sydney with the Queensland team, but had told nobody. "It looked so real, I thought I'd have a bit of fun with it," he said. "We were playing Townsville and I stuffed the snake up my jersey before the game and told our halfback to go to the wing for the first scrum because I was going to feed the ball. When the first scrum went down, I threw the bloody snake in the middle of the tunnel.
"Somebody screamed 'snake' and everyone bolted except the Mackay hooker who was a real bushie. He slammed his boot on the snake's head as everyone else bolted. When they realised what was happening, they all died laughing."
The Parramatta Eels extend sincere condolences to Paul’s family.