“Bob Fulton was a gentle, kind man”.
The death of Rugby League immortal, Bob “Bozo” Fulton, has left me stunned. In another life during my radio career, we grew incredibly close. Given he was such a private man, I get a bit uncomfortable telling even just a slice of limitless stories about him. To me he was a walking legend. However, I’ve decided to share a little about what I experienced, and in doing so, I think it’s a cathartic process for me.
A Very Funny, Generous Man
When you are surrounded by high profile people, you do tend to feel like you only exist in their shadows. Yet this “Immortal” man often made me feel 10-foot tall at times.
I’d get bombarded by calls from him; often over ten times a day. Overnight I’ve read dozens of his text messages; they will go to the grave with me! They’re a riot but unprintable!
Bozo would rarely ring about work. He’d much rather send me a picture of some bloke with a hairpiece at the shops. He’d ring at night and almost scream “ARE YOU WATCHING THIS S##T”. He’d be talking about a show like Master Chef and was put off by one of the contestants.
In many ways Bob was following the social media style mantra of “ABC” – “Always Be Contenting”.
When my hair departed, he gave me some special machine that promotes hair growth. It was this weird box that would zap your head via a glass wand. Yes, that’s right, a bald bloke gave me a product that he said might help. This machine looked like something made by Thomas Edison. Long story short, it tripped the circuit breakers at our then Ashfield rental every single time.
When I married Gillian, he gave us the keys to his Port Douglas home where we stayed for a few days. Just a totally out of the blue gesture.
He understood the corporate world too, with contacts that were or are at the very top of the business world. In fact, based on my observations, he was a very astute businessman.
The Farm Trips
I’ve been to Bozo’s farm five times, spanning about a 10-year period. On one occasion I went there by myself. Fulton was flying into Dubbo and needed a lift back to the famous Quambone. I was very anxious about that, and I remember thinking “What are we going to talk about, it’s a two- and a-bit hour trip”.
That drive showcased to me a couple of things. Bob was an expert when it came to the media. He knew how to use it very effectively. Bozo picked my brain constantly during the same trip, asking me who I thought should be on air, what talents were coming through the ranks and so on.
There were two distinct chapters when it came to hitting up the “Bone”. In the mid-2000’s myself, Trevor Long, John (Bravo) Redman and “The One Iron” Gavin Pitchford.
Later, I introduced Mark Levy and James Willis for a trip; both are now broadcasters on 2GB. Looking back, it was incredible to witness Bozo virtually run the game from the enclosed verandah surrounding part of his homestead, while we all fell into a barrel of Vat 69; a line I’ve stolen from another League great, the late Peter Frilingos.
In The Studio
For years I did his NRL round tips for the Daily Telegraph and Big League. During the 90’s I was a huge Raiders fan, but my passion slowly waned when it became my job to actually make sure the coverage went to air. Dealing with three or four ex-league players felt like Romper Room at times.
Bozo eventually got sick of me ringing every Wednesday to get his tips for the next round. So basically, I just randomly selected teams from Big League and sent them in. On Monday or Tuesday, he’d usually ring asking me what planet I was on, after he/me tipped eight losses.
Then there was the great seafood rort. Each Saturday one of 2GB’s sponsors supplied us with an esky full of seafood. Oysters, prawns, and sashimi. He would divvy it up and conceal it in another fridge. He’d then come back to the studio and tell me what he authorised me to take home; I ate a lot of bloody prawns during the NRL season.
Bozo loved merchandise. In fact, I scored so much gear from him I had to offload it to the Smith Family.
Back in the studio it was not uncommon for this scenario to occur. I’d hold his phone while he was on air, Bob would literally be selecting a representative team during ad breaks. Often, I’d be the middleman, passing messages to whatever coach or fellow selector was on the phone.
There are simply hundreds of stories, I hope that gives you a snapshot. I pulled the pin on 2GB in 2017, I didn’t want to but for various reasons I had to. Bob sent me some lovely messages after that, wishing me the best.
Bob Fulton was a gentle, kind man. He was fiercely loyal with someone I worked with. I was fully prepared for the fact that leaving meant I’d never get a text or phone call again. That may sound harsh but there were various dynamics going on that I 100 per cent understand.
So that’s my little story about a giant of the game
I can hear the famous Bozo retort right now.