|Born||29 December 1945|
Dennis Tutty is an Australian former professional rugby league player and coach in the
New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) competition who also represented for Australia. He was also a champion rower. In the 1970s, Tutty won a landmark court case which removed trade restraints on rugby league players. Tutty primarily played at lock.
The youngest son and second youngest child of a motor mechanic, Tutty was raised in the inner-western suburbs of Sydney. His secondary education was at Ibrox Park Boys High School and he left school after obtaining his Intermediate Certificate at the end of Year 9. At school he played a number of sports including Rugby League representing the school and the school's sports zone at various levels including in a curtain raiser to an international match in 1962.
Tutty was graded to Balmain in 1964 at the age of seventeen. He became the youngest player to ever appear in a grand final when Balmain met St. George at the end of that season. He played ostensibly as an amateur so that he could continue to compete in what was then the strictly non-professional sport of rowing.
In March, 1968, citing unhappiness with the terms of his contract, Tutty applied to the Tigers for a clearance to play with another club. At the time, clubs were able to prevent any professional player who had played in one of its teams from playing with any other club, even if the player no longer played for the retaining club. The request was refused and Tutty then lodged an appeal with the New South Wales Rugby League. In May, he withdrew the appeal before it was heard and agreed to play for Balmain for the 1968 season for an increased remuneration. At the end of the 1968 season, Tutty applied once more to be placed on the transfer list but he was again refused and his name was placed on the 'retain' list. Tutty did not appeal the second refusal but sat out the 1969 season, not playing for any team.
Tutty commenced legal action in May, 1969. He fought for over two years for the right for players to transfer to another club. The New South Wales Equity Court granted Tutty's application to have the League's transfer system declared invalid, deeming it an 'unreasonable restraint of trade'. The League appealed to the High Court of Australia but on 13 December 1971, the High Court's judgement upheld the Equity Court's decision. The implications of Tutty's successful legal action were quickly felt throughout the game. In the first two months, South Sydney lost three internationals, John O'Neill, Ray Branighan and Ron Coote.
After two years sitting out of the game, and while still waiting for a legal decision, Tutty returned to play for Balmain during 1971. He played seventeen games but did not receive any remuneration from the club. Tutty was free to play for the Penrith Panthers in 1972 and he remained with the club for three seasons.
In 1975, Tutty moved to Eastern Suburbs. A broken arm during the season prevented him from participating in Easts' 38–0 win over St. George in the grand final.
Tutty spent his final year in first-grade, 1976, back at Balmain.
Tutty spent one season as a first-grade coach, with Balmain in 1980. The season was not successful for the team or for Tutty, winning only seven games from twenty-two. He stood down at the end of the 1980 season and was succeeded by Frank Stanton.
Post Career Recognition
In 2008 the Rugby League Players Association instituted the "Dennis Tutty Clubman of the Year" award presented to the person who has "demonstrated the same qualities of self-sacrifice and courage as Dennis Tutty to achieve a better working environment for his fellow Rugby League Players". The inaugural recipient of the award was Jason King. In 2013 the award went to Clint Newton.
- James Hooper (2008-04-13). "All should hail King Tutty". The Daily Telegraph (Sydney). Retrieved 2008-06-01.
- Dabscheck, Braham (2009). "Righting a wrong: Dennis Tutty and his struggle against the New South Wales Rugby League". Australian and New Zealand Sports Law Journal: 145–55. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
- Guerin, Andrew. "History of Australian Rowing". Retrieved 2014-02-19.
- Alan Whiticker & Glen Hudson (2007). The Encyclopedia of Rugby League Players. Wetherill Park, New South Wales: Gary Allen Pty Ltd. p. 560. ISBN 978-1-877082-93-1.
- Graham McNeice & Ian Collis (1996). That's Rugby League. Sydney, New South Wales: Pan Macmillan Australia. pp. 252–255. ISBN 978-0-330-35848-4.
- Bob Stewart (2007). The Games are Not the Same: The Political Economy of Football in Australia. Melbourne University Publishing. p. 117. ISBN 0-522-85367-6.
- Dennis Tutty at the Rugby League Project
- Dennis Tutty at NRL Stats
- All should hail King Tutty - article by James Hooper, The Sunday Telegraph, 2008