Leeds RL legends reunited

From left Barry Simms, Wilf Rosenberg, Joe Warham, Lewis Jones, Fred Pickup, Derek Hallas, Ken Thornett and Don Robinson.
From left Barry Simms, Wilf Rosenberg, Joe Warham, Lewis Jones, Fred Pickup, Derek Hallas, Ken Thornett and Don Robinson.
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Rugby league legends from the 1960s were re-united at Headingley stadium to mark the 50th anniversary of the club winning its first Championship.

The surviving members of the Leeds squad, many in their 70s and 80s, recalled their glory days of success.

They were also gathered to pay respects to former team mate Dennis Goodwin, who died three weeks ago. The ex-players were due to attend a memorial service in York, in his memory.

In 1961, under the guidance of Dai Prosser and Joe Warham, the club finally won their first ever rugby league Championship with a 25-10 victory over Warrington.

The final was played in front of 52,177 fans at Bradford’s Odsal stadium and Leeds dominated from start to finish.

Led by the legendary Welshman Lewis Jones, the Loiners opened the scoring through a Jack Fairbank try which was subsequently converted by Jones.

Derek Hallas then added a further two tries to put Leeds 18-0 up before Warrington hit back.

For yesterday’s re-union some ex-players had travelled from around the world including Ken Thornett, who came from his homeland of Australia, and Wilf Rosenberg, from his home in Israel.

Ken Thornett said: “I recall a marvellous time during the early days, I have lots of good memories.

“I loved living in Leeds and enjoyed the pub culture, visiting the Yorkshire Dales and of course the Leeds people are great. The camaraderie is unbeatable.”

He played in the 1960-61 season and from 62-63, coming back as a guest at later dates.

Former captain, and cross-code legend, Lewis Jones said: “It is great to be here, absolutely. So nice to see everyone again.”

Barry Simms, who played second row, added: “It’s nice to see the old faces again.”

Other people attending included Don Robinson and Joe Warham.

Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “It is a real honour to have them all here. It’s marvellous to have this type of re-union.

“In 1961 it was the first time any team from the city had won the championship. It took them 70 years to achieve this. It is a significant day for the club to have them here.”