Leeds to pay tribute to legendary scrum-half ‘Shanks’ Watson

Frank 'Shanks' Watson.
Frank 'Shanks' Watson.
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LEEDS RHINOS will pay tribute to one of the club’s greatest scrum-halves, Frank ‘Shanks’ Watson when they face Batley Bulldogs at Headingley on September 9, chief executive Gary Hetherington has confirmed.

Watson, who was believed to be Leeds’ oldest surviving former player, died on Tuesday, aged 93.

A product of Hunslet Schools rugby league, Watson signed for the south Leeds team as a 17-year-old in September, 1940.

He spent 10 years with Hunslet, scoring 57 tries and one goal in 246 appearances, before a shock move across the river to Leeds on September 29, 1949.

His debut in blue and amber came just three days later, when he helped Leeds to a 21-13 win over Hunslet at Parkside.

Watson played 122 times for Leeds from 1949-55, scoring 18 tries and one goal.

He also had a spell as the Loiners’ ‘A’ team player-coach, when his side included future ‘This Sporting Life’ author David Storey.

He later had two years at Batley, combining a playing role with coaching the reserves.

He played his final match in 1959.

Watson earned Yorkshire honours during his time at Hunslet and was selected for a Great Britain tour trial in 1946.

Then a conductor on Leeds’ all-night buses, he worked a full duty, travelled to Central Park, Wigan, for the game and then returned straight to Leeds for another all-night shift.

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