Tommy Raudonikis is involved in the fight of his life with a surgeon giving the rugby league legend only a one in three chance of survival following his latest cancer battle.
The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that Raudonikis, 67, was operated on at Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital last week for cancer of the neck.
It is third time Raudonikis has battled cancer, after the former Australian halfback was operated on for testicular cancer 30 years ago and treated for throat cancer in 2014. He has also undergone surgery for a quadruple heart bypass in 2006.
Raudonikis is one of the game’s most lovable characters, a larrikin who has never been afraid to tell it like it is as seen often by his appearances on The Footy Show for The Raudonikis Report.
Tommy slams Hayne
He tackled a vast array of subjects and no subject was spared the truth, from James Maloney’s lack of discipline costing Cronulla against North Queensland in the finals, to calling out NRL superstar Jarryd Hayne for not having a go at the Gold Coast Titans.
Raudonikis carved a career as a tough-as-teak halfback at Western Suburbs before finishing off his career with Newtown. He also played 24 games for NSW and 20 games for the Kangaroos, and later coached both the Magpies and the Blues.
The series win over Queensland in 1997 is best remembered for the ‘Cattledog’ call that Raudonikis told his players to use to spark an all-in brawl with Queensland.
After being diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014 and told he would require six weeks of radiation therapy, Raudonikis said he was drawing inspiration from former Newcastle forward Alex McKinnon, who was rendered a quadriplegic in the same year during a match against Melbourne.
“Look, it’s part of life really,” Raudonikis told 2GB’s Continuous Call team.
“These things happen. You talk to Alex McKinnon and his beautiful girl and look at the mishap that happened to him and it’s awful … damn awful.
“I am going to survive. I’ve got a bit of a hard road coming up.
“I’m just concerned about my partner Trish, but I just carry on … I’ve got all the diseases and I’m still alive.
“They’ve said it’s very curable.”