|Full name||Liam Mark Fulton|
8 August 1984 |
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Height||187 cm (6 ft 2 in)|
|Weight||95 kg (14 st 13 lb)|
|Position||Second-row, Lock, Five-eighth, Hooker, Centre|
|Source: NRL Stats RLP League Central|
Liam Mark Fulton (born 8 August 1984) is a retired Australian rugby league footballer of the 2000s and 2010s. He played for the Wests Tigers in the National Rugby League (NRL) competition. Fulton primarily played at lock. Considered to be a jokester, known for making prank phone calls, Fulton is also a noted clubman. Former team-mate Benji Marshall described him as, "not the biggest, he's not the strongest in the gym, he doesn't look athletic with his shirt off. He weighs only 96 kilograms. But he puts that body on the line every week, he makes his tackles and I have never played with a second-rower who runs a better line. He is so talented."
Fulton was born in Westmead, New South Wales and started playing junior rugby league football for Greystanes Devils under-7s when he was four years old. While attending Westfields Sports High School, Fulton played for the Australian Schoolboys team in 2002. He captained the S.G. Ball Cup team to victory in the Grand Final in 2002 while playing for the Western Suburbs Magpies, coming back from 16-0 down to win 18-16. Later in his career, Fulton said, "My father used to film the SG Ball matches and often when I go to his house, we will put on the videos and watch the games again. Those memories will always be with me."
Having recently turned 19, Fulton made his National Rugby League debut for the Wests Tigers from the bench in the last game of the 2003 NRL season. He played three games in 2004, before becoming a regular fixture in first grade in 2005. Fulton again tasted success in 2005 when the Wests Tigers defeated the North Queensland Cowboys in the 2005 NRL grand final to win the club's first NRL premiership. As NRL Premiers Wests faced Super League champions Bradford Bulls in the 2006 World Club Challenge. Fulton played from the interchange bench in the Tigers' 30-10 loss. This early success in his career was tempered by a serious shoulder injury in the opening game of the 2006 season, which sidelined him for the whole season.
Due to salary cap issues Wests Tigers were forced to let Fulton go to English Super League club Huddersfield Giants for the 2009 season, and there he was a member of the team that played in the Challenge Cup final. In October 2009, Fulton signed a two-year contract to return to the Wests Tigers from 2010.
In 2011, Fulton made his representative debut, playing for first NRL All Stars, and later City Origin. Midway through 2011, Fulton was given permission to negotiate with other clubs as Wests Tigers struggled to fit incoming forward Adam Blair under the salary cap. Fulton said of the opportunity, "There's a lot of talk going around signing players and people having to leave but at the end of the day I've got another two years here." He ended up remaining with the club, with former team-mate Mark O'Neill describing his end-of-season form as, "career best."
An injury-disrupted season for the Wests Tigers saw Fulton playing games at hooker and five-eighth in 2012. He still made 778 tackles, placing him in the top 20 for most tackles in the NRL for the regular season. At the end of the year, he received the club's Noel Kelly Medal for the best forward.
Before the beginning of the 2013 NRL season, Fulton signed a new contract to remain with club until the end of the 2016 season, saying, "I'm really pleased with this new contract. To be a one NRL club player means a lot to me." He played in 21 games in 2013, leading the team with 834 tackles. At the end of the season he was awarded the club's Best and Fairest and Player's Player.
Knocked unconscious in the first game of the 2014 season, Fulton was unable to return to the field. Wests Tigers, who were winning at the time, went on to suffer a defeat. Fulton later said, "I've been concussed that many times that I'm probably beyond it now, to be honest. You get paid well and I think everyone knows that there's going to be head knocks involved and if you don't want to cop a head knock you don't play really." Fulton announced his immediate retirement from the game on 10 July 2014, after receiving further concussions which had caused short-term memory loss and confusion. While told that the effects of the head-knocks may reversed, he was also warned he risk permanent damage if he suffered any more. "Rugby league has given me everything, to be honest. It's up there with the best thing that's ever happened to me in my life," he said.
- First Grade Debut: 2003 – Round 26, Wests Tigers v New Zealand Warriors, Ericsson Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand, 6 September.
- Premierships: 2005 – Wests Tigers defeated North Queensland Cowboys 30 - 16 in the Grand Final, Stadium Australia, Sydney, 2 October.
- NSW City Origin Debut: 2011 – NSW City Origin v NSW Country Origin, Lavington Sports Ground, Albury, New South Wales, 6 May.
- NSW City Origin Selection: 2011-2012
- Nick Walshaw (5 December 2009). "Tiger has Kyle in his sights". Daily Telegraph (Sydney). Retrieved 11 December 2009.
- Will Swanton (23 January 2009). "Tigers' Pom fits in with the lunatics". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
- James Phelps (11 June 2011). "Epic prank catches out Wade McKinnon". Daily Telegraph (Sydney). Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- Chris Barrett (10 September 2010). "Dr Jekyll puts Mr Hyde on the backburner for finals preparation". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
- Benji Marshall (11 September 2011). "Great victory smells like team spirit". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- Daniel Lane (2009). Forever Brothers. Lane Cove, New South Wales: Dolphin Press. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-9803578-5-1.
- "SportingPulse Homepage for Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League". SportingPulse. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
- "LIAM FULTON RECALLS HIS SG BALL MEMORIES". weststigers.com.au.
- Pete Barrow. "FULTON'S BIG FAMILY AFFAIR! Liam's lot fly in from far and wide as Huddersfield gear up for Wembley Challenge Cup action.". Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
- "Liam Fulton and Daniel Fitzhenry return to Wests Tigers". Fox Sports News (Australia). Retrieved 16 October 2009.
- Chris Barrett, Glenn Jackson (2 June 2011). "Blair coup not bloodless as Tigers stalwarts consider futures". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
- Andrew Bryan & Amie Lindsell (15 September 2011). "Tigers better than '05: O'Neill". nrl.com. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
- "Fulton replaces Farah for Tigers". Sky News. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
- "Liam Fulton says Benji Marshall will be playing a dual play-making role for the Wests Tigers". Courier Mail. 16 August 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
- "NRL STATISTICS". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
- Wayne Cousins (28 September 2012). "Aaron Woods named Player of the Year". weststigers.com.au. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- "Fulton re-signs with Tigers". ABC News. 22 February 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- "Wests Tigers Player List". nrl.com. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- "Liam Fulton wins 2013 Best & Fairest award". weststigers.com.au. 4 October 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
- Daniel Lane (18 March 2014). "Liam Fulton accepts dementia could be part of playing league". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
- Ben Horne. "Wests Tigers star Liam Fulton calls it quits due to head knocks". Illawarra Mercury.