Obituary: Colin Bagnall remembered as a ‘rare sporting talent’

A dedicated loving family man, who was an outstanding sporting talent is how the late Colin Bagnall has been remembered.

Mr Bagnall, aged 67, was farewelled at a special service at the Nowra Golf Club on August 11.

The gathering heard Col was a humble, no fuss kind of guy, who loved the simple things in life such as spending time with his family, going for a bike ride, sharing a thermos of coffee by the river or beach, bushwalks and swimming.

He supported, not smothered, laughed often and  always felt lucky with his lot in life.

Like many within his family, he was affectionately known simply as Baggy.

Born and raised in Nowra, he was one of six children of Daisy and Arthur Bagnall.

He completed his apprenticeship as an electrician with Shoalhaven Shire Council and worked with his brother Bob before moving to the Paper Mill where he worked for 20 plus years.

In 1976 he married local girl Donna Bridge and they had three children Carly, Elise and Sam.

A keen and loyal member of the Nowra Warriors Rugby League Club he achieved great heights in the game as an extremely talented five-eighth and centre.

In 1969, aged just 19, he represented NSW Country Seconds against John Raper and Bob Fulton who would later become “Immortals” as well as the likes of Billy Smith, John O’Neill, Fred Jones, John Brass and another Nowra product Tony Branson.

In 1970 he was a Southern Division representative and in 1974 he was part of the Southern Division team which beat the touring Great Britain side 16-10.

The only provincial side to inflict a loss on the touring Lions, with Bagnall scoring a try and named man of the match.

He also played in the Southern side that performed well in the National Panasonic Amco Cup competition that year and was also selected in the Country Seconds.

In 1975 he again represented Southern Division.

Back in the late 1960s and early ’70s the local league rivalry, particularly between the Nowra Warriors and Bomaderry Swamprats/Tigers was fierce, with write ups in the papers going into great depth.

Even a positional change for a player made big news.

Also around this time Gerringong’s Mick Cronin, then known as Michael, was making a name for himself and in another Group 7 clash big emphasis was placed on the fact Bagnall would move from five-eighth to centre to mark the Lions’ star.

Reporter “Milo” even predicted the clash of the two “brilliant centres” would “ensure a bumper gate”.

Longtime friend John Bracher and Swamprat stalwart, said Colin was a rare sporting talent.

“He was an extremely talented footballer,” he said “I rate him in the same league as Branno [Nowra-born Australian representative Tony Branson] and Gerringong’s Mick Cronin,” Mr Bracher said.

“Col could have done anything. He had offers to go further but was happy to stay locally and play.

“He was a happy go lucky kind of guy. He loved his football but was content to play locally, loved surfing and hanging out with mates.”

He was also a talented surf lifesaver and a keen member of the Nowra-Culburra Surf Lifesaving Club.

Col is survived by his wife Donna, was the father and father-in-law of Carly and Trent, Elise and Mark, Sam and Demi and devoted Pop to Ella, Aliza, Avery and Isabelle.

In lieu of flowers, donations were accepted at the service for the Shoalhaven Cancer Care Centre in Nowra for the benefit of other local residents.

More than $1350 was collected on the day and with other family fundraising $4500 was donated to the centre this week.