Warren Lockwood, who had an enormous influence on rugby league as an administrator over four decades, has been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
Mr Lockwood, of Miranda, was appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia for significant service to Rugby League as an Administrator and to the Community.
It started when he was appointed to the St George Rugby League Football Club board in 1988.
He served a total of 28 years, including seven years as president and a delegate to NSW Rugby League.
In 1997, he was elected chairman of the NSW Rugby League and deputy chairman of the Australian Rugby League in the middle of the Super League war.
Mr Lockwood became part of a three member Australian Rugby League group charged with negotiating a settlement between the warring parties.
"It was a formidable task," he recalled. "Relationships were toxic. You were dealing with News Ltd, Channel 9, Optus, Telstra ...
"Everyone had their own agenda in what they wanted to achieve."
A resolution was achieved in December, 1997, which brought the game back together and the National Rugby League (NRL) was established.
Mr Lockwood became the inaugural chairman of the NRL in 1998.
He was then elected to the board of St George Illawarra from 2001 to 2018, including 16 years as chairman.
Mr Lockwood and his wife Janice have been married for 56 years and lived in Sutherland Shire for 54 years.
"Janice and our children Sandra and Gary have been involved with everything I have done, so I see this award as an honour for the whole family. I could not have done it without them," he said
Mr Lockwood, an accountant and Bachelor of Health Administration, found his way into rugby league administration while working at St George Hospital from 1967-1987, including seven years as chief executive officer.
There were already strong links between the hospital and St George Leagues Club, a major benefactor, and in 1983 he was invited to join the leagues club board, which he served on for 35 years, including 22 years as chairman.
Mr Lockwood presided over a major growth of facilities at the hospital, which enhanced services and its role as a major teaching hospital.
He resigned after 19 years to take up a similar position at Hurstville Community Hospital (now Hurstville Private).
During his 11 years at Hurstville, the facility developed into a boutique private hospital with 90 beds including a 30-bed maternity unit and new medical services.
Mr Lockwood, overall, has served the St George district for 30 years in the health system and 35 years in community service through the St George Leagues Club.