Peter Tunks (born 30 August 1958 in Sydney, New South Wales) is an Australian former rugby league player for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Penrith Panthers, New South Wales and the Australian national side. After that he played with a number of clubs in England.
Tunks finished in the top 8 at the Rothmans Medal 6 times in his career. Tunks was also voted the best prop in world rugby league twice in the 80s.
Tunks is a product of Marcellin College Randwick, regarded as one of the best rugby league players to come out of this school, Tunks also represented NSW at rugby union as a schoolboy in 1976.
Graded with Souths in 1977, Tunks made his debut that year as a prop forward at 18 years of age. Tunks narrowly missed selection for the 1978 Kangaroo tour when he was voted one of the top rookies of the year. In the off season Tunks contracted glandular fever, hepatitis and a kidney disease and missed part of the 1979 season.
Tunks made his State of Origin debut in 1981, the same year he led South Sydney to victory in the Panasonic cup scoring the winning try. In 1982 Tunks was told he would be touring with the Kangaroos but was not taken due to off field indiscretions.
In 1984 Tunks left Souths and went to the Bulldogs where Warren Ryan built a team around Tunks and Peter Kelly to win Premierships,which they did.Tunks played 10 origin games but was selected in 16 but missed some games due to injury. Tunks played origin in 1985 when NSW won it for the first time and then played all 3 games in 1986 when NSW won the series 3 nil for the first time in Origin history.
Tunks played Left-Prop, i.e. number 8, in Leeds' 14-15 defeat by St. Helens in the 1987–88 John Player Special Trophy final during the 1987–88 season at Central Park, Wigan on Saturday 9 January 1988.
Tunks played in 4 grand finals in 5 years for the bulldogs winning 3. He toured NZ IN 1985 with the Kangaroos and was voted player of the tour ahead of Wally Lewis, Mal Meninga, Peter Sterling and others. In 1986, Tunks refused to tour with the Kangaroos and he also refused to make himself available for the 1988 world cup final against New Zealand the week after he captained the Bulldogs to the premiership.
In 1990, Tunks followed Phil Gould to Penrith but caught glandular fever and retired half-way through the season. He went to England where he had a successful coaching stint for 3 years with Oldham was then appointed Chief Executive at Wakefield Trinity and then Managing Director at Hull FC.
In 2011/12 Tunks was implicated in the ICAC Operation Jasper inquiry into the alleged illegal awarding of a coal mine to an entity associated with Edward Obeid and his associates. Physical written evidence presented to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) indicated that Tunks attempted to blackmail investment banker Gardner Brook, as part of an elaborate collusion with Arlo Selby and others to extort money from the banker. Tunks denied his involvement under oath.
- Australia 1985-87:10 games including 6 Tests (0pts)
- New South Wales 1981-87:10 games 1 try (3pts)
- South Sydney Rabbitohs 1977-83: 98 games - 31t (86pts)
- Canterbury Bulldogs 1984-89: 125 games - 17t (56pts)
- Penrith Panthers 1990: 12 games (0pts)
- Leeds RLFC 1987-88: 24 games 7 tries
- Salford RLFC 1990-91: 14 games 4 tries
- Sheffield Eagles RLFC 1991: 16 games 4 tries
Source: Encyclopedia of Rugby League Players, Canterbury-Bankstown edition by Alan Whiticker & Glen Hudson