January 22, 2020

Picking out the greats …or maybe not…

Written by Rach P Fat, Fifty Rugby League Enthusiast .Avid follower of all things League 1 and unfortunate survivor of a 50 year love affair with Keighley RLFC.. FacebookTwitterInstagram...

a So as one of the 125 the RFL has set us our first task and to be frank I’m finding it all a bit difficult …..

A request to complete an online  has dropped into my inbox which according to the accompanying email reads our ‘exclusive  survey, where you’ll be asked to give your opinion on a number of different topics from Rugby League history’,

I click on the link and it’s all standard Q & A stuff  ‘Greatest Rugby League player  ‘ Greatest Rugby League Team (for example: Bradford 2003)Greatest Rugby League Coach ‘  etc , so why why am I struggling to fill it in ?

The E-mail continues ‘We’ll then be shortlisting your responses and releasing polls for Our League members to vote on throughout the year ‘ 

My  dilemma is – do I  complete it truthfully or do I stick with what I think the RFL want to hear ?

I plump for the latter and hope that many more of the 125 have gone the same way if only to demonstrate the diverse experiences of rugby league followers across the country .

I’ve used Mr Hanley as my cover image and I’ve no doubt there will be a fair few votes for him in the Greatest Player category but is it always skill that determines a ‘legend’ ? I’m sure for many supporters of the smaller teams their greats might be guys that have stuck with your club through highs and lows , the fellas you’d watched week in and week out give their all .

For my long -considered  I have to go back to my childhood stood watching on the scratin’ shed side of Lawkholme Lane transfixed by the exploits of one Brian Jefferson . Brian was never the biggest bloke on the field but from full back he could run , score tries and kick goals.As well as sporting  had the most memorable example of outstandingly dodgy 70’s sideburns, he was also Keighleys Captain at the time which crucially  in the eyes of an easily pleased six year old made him the most important player on the field . Apart from some grainy Grandstand second half coverage of  the heartbreaking 1976 Challenge Cup Semi Final defeat  v St Helens there is little footage of Brian actually playing , so comparison with the players of today is difficult but he was the player who cemented my love of RL and for that reason alone he has to be the Greatest Player ever  in my eyes.

Greatest team ? Well again doubtless there will be a string of Wigan , Saints and no doubt the odd GB nominations  but personally for me it would be back to my old playing days and the Wakefield Panthers Ladies team of the early 90’s , with the likes of Brenda Dobek  and Nat Gilmour in their prime . For sheer domination of a sport I’ve never seen anything like it , they were ruthless , way ahead of any other womens team in terms of skill and fitness levels and could turn their hand to a bit of old time brutality should the need arise .  As opposition you were beaten before the game even kicked off … just look at the trophy haul ,  no words needed …


And so our survey goes on  .Some answers prove easier than others . ‘Greatest Challenge Cup Final Moment ‘ – if I’m being  honest , it’s rare the Final nowadays from my perspective  is remembered for the rugby only for the ‘occasion’ so on that note  Lizzie Jones ‘ 70, 000 people simultaneously have something in their eye’ rendition of Abide With Me is the obvious and only only choice …

Anyway its all done and dusted , submit button pressed and completed in my own inimitable fashioned  and  returned to the RFL for their delectation and delight – like I say I hope some more of my fellow ‘125-ers’ have filled it in similar truthful vein .

On that  note I await the the  Our League Members poll with interest : –

Select Your Greatest Ever Rugby League Game 

a) 2002 Super League Grand Final Saints v Bradford Old Trafford

b) 1968 Watersplash Challenge Cup Final Leeds v Wakefield  Wembley Stadium 

c) 1994 GB v Australia 1st Test Wembley Stadium 

d) 1998 Keighley Cougar Cubs U8s v Guiseley Rangers Keighley Cup Final Cougar Park 

My work here is done …



Rach P
Written by Rach P

Fat, Fifty Rugby League Enthusiast .Avid follower of all things League 1 and unfortunate survivor of a 50 year love affair with Keighley RLFC..



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