Saying goodbye to Siro at Leichhardt.

Saying goodbye to Siro at Leichhardt.
Saying goodbye to Siro at Leichhardt.

Not only is he one of the most recognizable figures in rugby league, but he’s also quite popular.

Danny Stapleton, the chair at Balmain, and Siro with his wife Lee Anne

At Leichhardt Oval on Friday, the huge man known as “Siro,” who played 248 games for his beloved Balmain Tigers, received an emotional farewell.

Last month, Sironen announced his resignation as Wests Tigers Pathways Manager (Balmain), preparing for the next phase of his life—a sea shift, if you will—on the NSW North Coast.

And just as Siro would have wanted it to happen—a Friday afternoon at Leichhardt with a couple chilled beers and no pomp or extravagant drinks.

Sironen remarked, “This is really nice, and I couldn’t think of a better way to say farewell.”

“This is exactly what I wanted as a farewell gift, and the club asked what I might like.”

It’s time for a change, even if it’s played a significant role in my family’s lives and in my own.

“We are excitedly anticipating the next stage of our lives and are moving to the NSW North Coast.

READ MORE:A young Wests Tigers player relocates to Queensland

“I’ll try to attend as many games as I can, and the Tigers will undoubtedly always hold a special place in my heart.”

In the Chairman’s Lounge at Leichhardt, almost a hundred of Siro’s friends, former teammates, and coworkers convened to exchange stories and reminisce.

A number of current and former players were present, including Steve Blocker Roach, one of his “besties,” and the 2024 NRL team.

Roach and Sironen were Tigers teammates for eight seasons, both playing in the back-to-back grand final losses in 1988 and 1989.

They also packed down together on countless occasions for the Kangaroos and in Origin for NSW.

As Siro explained earlier this year on Wests Tigers official podcast, Behind The Roar, not winning a grand final is his greatest disappointment in a decorated career.

Up 12-2 at half time against the Raiders in the ’89 decider, after the big fella found himself on the end of a wonderful team try, he admits he thought the title was theirs for the taking. Sadly, it was not to be.

A man-mountain of Finnish descent, Sironen has given plenty to the game since those heady days in the 80’s when he was one of the chosen few to star in the ARL’s Simply The Best campaign.

He’s also dedicated much of his life to the Tigers, both the Balmain and Wests variety.  In fact, the 58-year-old bit-part Lowes Menswear actor has been tied to the club for more than half his life.

Siro played more games than any other in the history of Balmain Tigers before filling various roles over two decades at Wests Tigers, including board member and pathways manager.

Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe paid tribute Sironen at Leichhardt Oval on Friday afternoon saying his contribution to the club has been invaluable.

“Paul’s transition from a stellar playing career to nurturing young talent has been a testament to his commitment to our sport and this club,” Pasco said.

We send our best wishes for happiness to Paul and his family as they embark on their next chapter of life.”

I’m grateful, Sirro.Not farewell. Simply say goodbye.










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