One of the Maitland Blacks most capped players Chris Lynch will be remembered as a hard man on the field and a gentle man off it.
Lynch's funeral will be held at Morpeth tomorrow. He died, aged 60, on hursday following a long battle with cancer.
"He was tough," younger brother and long-time teammate Jack said.
"He didn't take a backward step.
"He took on the bigger blokes even though they were always a lot bigger than him."
But regardless of the countless battles with opponents between 1972 and 1989, rivalries were always left on the field, highlighted by correspondence received from another club in the wake of Lynch's death.
"We had an email from Hamilton during the week," Jack said.
"It said he was tough as nails on the field but would always talk to the opposition afterwards."
Lynch's eldest son Pat reinforced his father's character in a recent post on Facebook.
"Rest in peace dad," Pat said.
"You're the best bloke I know."
Lynch was a father of five and grandfather of seven.
The son of Aileen and Jack, now deceased, Lynch was born on May 20, 1954, and raised on a Morpeth farm.
He started playing rugby union while at school at Maitland Marist Brothers and with Marcellin juniors, which included Passmore Cup competition and selection in the under-16 Australian Schoolboys merit squad.
Lynch, more commonly known as Spider, joined the senior rugby club aged 17 and ran out 266 times for Maitland.
This included 216 top grade games for the 137-year-old club, one of the oldest in Australia, which puts him second on the Blacks all-time list for first XV appearances behind only younger brother Jack (267).
The siblings started playing in the second-row together in 1973 before Lynch shifted to prop the following year.
They played together for Maitland in minor-major premiership campaigns of 1974, 1976, 1977 and 1983.
In 1986 Lynch was named as a co-winner of the Blacks first grade best and fairest.
During his career Lynch played 50 representative matches for Newcastle and earned a NSW Country jersey against the touring Italians.
He went on to coach Maitland junior teams for many years, which included future Wallaby Luke Burgess, and more recently assisted Wallaroo Mollie Gray before playing in the women's World Cup in France in August.
Lynch, an engineer in a mine up the valley, was diagnosed with bowel cancer three years ago but despite fighting the disease his health deteriorated quickly in the last three weeks.
Lynch's funeral will be held at 10.30am tomorow at the Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception at Morpeth.
In lieu of flowers donations to the Cancer Council can be left at the church.
A private burial will follow with family and friends gathering at Marcellin Park after the service.
Lynch is survived by mother Aileen and his five children Amy, Bec, Pat, Drew and Tom.