The Great Number 9 – Darrell Bampton
On the 6th of January 2024, the Rabbitohs community lost one of their very best when Darrell Maxwell Bampton OAM passed away.
In the world of rugby league, some individuals leave an indelible mark that transcends the boundaries of the game. Darrell Bampton, a former Rabbitohs player and administrator, was one such individual whose impact stretched far beyond the footy field. The man we called ‘Number 9’ was indeed a gentleman whose legacy will forever resonate within the rugby league community.
Darrell Bampton was born on the 20th of June 1949 and would go on to dedicate most of his life to the sport he loved. A South Sydney local junior, Darrells’ talents saw him work his way up through the grades at Souths. In 1970 he became first grade player number #559 against Cronulla at Shark Park.
Darrells’ prowess as a forward wearing the number 9 jersey is the reason he earned the nickname that so many knew him as.
Beyond the playing field, Darrell seamlessly transitioned into an administrative role at the Rabbitohs. His leadership qualities and unwavering commitment to the club manifested in various capacities, showcasing a passion that earned him the respect of all who knew him.
I have known Darrell Bampton for as long as I can remember and can only ever think of him being a good bloke. I doubt anyone would ever have had a bad word to say about Number 9, he really was one of the nicest blokes you’d ever meet. Later in life I would bump into Darrell down at Botany Shops and he always made time for a chat. I’m going to miss you mate.
As we mourn the loss of a champion man, let us also celebrate the life of Darrell Bampton, a man whose contributions to the sport and the Rabbitohs will endure as a lasting legacy. His dedication, sportsmanship, and enduring friendships are the threads that weave together the rich tapestry of his life, leaving an inspirational story for generations of rugby league enthusiasts to come.
Darrell Bampton was a true Rabbitohs legend.
“I will always remember Darrell as a great captain, a tough footballer and an even better bloke with a huge heart willing to help others. My sincere condolences to Judy and family. RIP Darrell” – Gary Wright
“A true gentleman who we respected greatly and a man whose company we thoroughly enjoyed. Souths man through and through who we will miss dearly. So very sorry for your loss Judy and family.” – Kristen and Les Davidson
“Darrell was not only a true South Sydney Legend and Administrator but such a nice person as well. I would see Darrell quite often as he lived next door to me and chew the fat on how Souths were going amongst other things. He always had time for you. My condolences go to Judy and the family he will be sorely missed. R.I.P. mate.” – Paul McNicholas
“Darrell was such a tough hard man on the field, but off the field an absolute gentleman. He gave his heart and sole to the Rabbitohs, and was loved and respected by all that were lucky enough to have known him. My sincerest condolences to Judy and family, RIP No9.” – Steve McDermott
“Darrell was the epitome of South Sydney. A true Clubman both on and off the field. He made a wonderful contribution to the Rabbitohs and Rugby League in general over many years. Above all else he was a great fella to be around. My condolences to Judy and the wider Bampton family.” – Sean Garlick
Tributes with thanks to Joseph Metcalf Funerals.
Darrel Bampton Achievements
South Sydney Rabbitohs First Grade Player #559 (1970).
Life Membership of SSDRLFC (1994).
CEO of South Sydney Football Club (1997-1999).
NSW State Of Origin manager (1999-2002).
Tri-series ARL manager (1999).
World Cup manager (2000).
Kangaroo tour manager (2001) and ANZAC Test manager vs New Zealand (2002).
Vice-president of the NSWRFL (2002).
Life Member NSWRL (2006).
Lock – Alexandria Rovers Team of the Century (2008).
Order Of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to Rugby League (2009).
By Steve Mavin for Bunnies TV, also thanks to contributions from Mark Emery.