A gentleman, an inspiration and a friend to all who knew him.
Tributes have flowed for a goliath of Western Division rugby league, long-time Cowra, Group 10, Western and Country League administrator Peter 'Ace' McDonald losing his battle with illness on Monday, four days short of his 66th birthday.
The Cowra Magpies Rugby League club led the tributes, McDonald a pillar of the black and white club for the better part of a half a century.
"The Magpies and the entire rugby league community have lost one of the true patrons of the game," the club said.
"Peter McDonald, or Ace as we all knew him, was undeniably one of Country Rugby League's most respected administrators and was the life blood of the Cowra Magpies, Group 10, Western Rams and the CRL/NSWRL organisations
"Ace was a gentleman, an inspiration and a friend to all who knew him. Our game in the bush was better for his tireless work and we are all better people for having him in our lives."
Fellow Group 10 life member Royce George followed.
"Ace was not one of the best, he was the best; a great administrator and true friend will be sadly missed," George added.
While former Group 10 player of the year and Cowra player Dean Corrigan said McDonald was "one of the genuine great blokes I've had the pleasure of knowing".
Five-time Group 10 champion Mick Sullivan said the game would be poorer for McDonald's passing.
"The Cowra club and family should be honoured to have had such a great man involved with the club and in their lives," the former Orange CYMS coach said.
Remembered and cherished as a loving husband, father, brother, dear grandfather, loyal friend and mentor for generations of rugby league administrators, the NSW Rugby League penned a detailed history of McDonald's work in the region..
McDonald served as an administrator for the better part of half a century, having begun as secretary for the Cowra Magpies in the late 1970s.
He took on the role as Group 10 secretary in 1996 and filled the same role continuously until early this year.
McDonald, who also had a passion for greyhound racing, is the longest-serving Western Rams chairman, he was elected for a 13th straight term at the Rams annual general meeting in December 2020.
Peter was probably one of the best committee board members that's ever been on a Group 10 committee.- Group 10 chairman Linore Zamparini
His pride and passion for the famous green and white of Western Division was unmatched. Western enjoyed great success under his watch, particularly their Junior Representatives programs with the Under 16s and Under 18s both winning Championship Finals. Held in high esteem throughout Rugby League circles "Ace" was also a Country Rugby League Director.
He was fittingly bestowed with life membership at Cowra, Group 10, Western Division, Country Rugby League and New South Wales Rugby League.
Group 10 chair Linore Zamparini said McDonald was irreplaceable.
"Peter was probably one of the best committee board members that's ever been on a Group 10 committee," Zamparini said.
"He knew it all, he did it with ease and he was probably one of the fairest as well. He just never stopped.
"He was a great mentor, a great friend and a great bloke."
Group 11 Chair and NSWRL Director Bob Walsh said McDonald would be sorely missed.
"He did a lot of work for Group 10 and for Western Rams and he also managed numerous touring Country Rugby League sides," Walsh said.
"He was a great bloke, a true country bloke.
"He was committed to whatever he put his mind to and was a great mate to many."
McDonald was also a respected accountant in the area, beginning his career with Reg Cassidy's Accountants in 1983 before joining Steel Walsh & Murphy in 2001.
He retired in July last year but remained involved with one of his great loves, Rugby League.
"I'm very proud to represent the Western Division," McDonald said in 2018.
"We're held in high esteem throughout Country Rugby League and it's a privilege to be involved."
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