Garry Schofield among latest Leeds Rhinos' legends to earn Hall of Fame status

HALL OF FAMER: Former Leeds Rhinos' star, Garry SchofieldHALL OF FAMER: Former Leeds Rhinos' star, Garry Schofield
HALL OF FAMER: Former Leeds Rhinos' star, Garry Schofield
GREAT BRITAIN legend Garry Schofield has become the eighth former player inducted into Leeds Rhinos' Hall of Fame.

The 52-year-old Leeds-born former centre/stand-off received the honour at a celebration dinner at Emerald Headingley last night.

The other new members are Joe Thompson, Bev Risman and Jeff Stevenson.

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The Hall of Fame was introduced last year when John Holmes, David Ward, Keith McLellan and Lewis Jones became the first inductees.

Holmes died in 2009, but the other three attended last night’s celebration.

Only around nine per cent of the 1,437 men who have played for Leeds are eligible for the Hall of Fame.

To qualify candidates must have played a minimum of 150 first-team games for the club, made an exceptional contribution to rugby in Leeds, achieved representative honours during their playing career and been retired for a minimum of five years.

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The criteria were devised by the Leeds Rugby League Heritage Committee, which is part of the Leeds Rhinos Foundation.

Leeds Rhinos' legend Jeff StevensonLeeds Rhinos' legend Jeff Stevenson
Leeds Rhinos' legend Jeff Stevenson

The heritage committee each year nominates four candidates to Rhinos’ board of directors, who will make the final decision.

Thompson, the fifth inductee, played 390 times from 1923 to 1933, scoring 53 tries and 862 goals.

Born in Bristol, Thompson, a prop-forward, played rugby union for Wales before joining Leeds.

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The first Leeds player to kick 100 goals in a season, only Holmes played more times for the club. His grand-daughter Glenys Toft collected an engraved salver, provided by Berry’s Jewellers and framed certificate from Jones at last night’s ceremony.

Sixth inductee Risman made 164 appearances from 1966-70, scoring 611 goals and 20 tries.

The former England and British Lions rugby union star was one of the finest kickers in the club’s history and played a crucial role in Leeds’ 1969 Championship triumph.

He received his salver and certificate from Ward.

Stevenson, a scrum-half, scored 67 tries and four drop goals – including one which sent Leeds to Wembley in 1957 – in 228 games from 1952 to 1958.

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He was capped 19 times by Great Britain and is still the last man to captain them to a home Ashes series win.

Stevenson died in 2007 and the salver and certificate were presented by former team-mate McLellan to his daughter Bev O’Donell.

Schofield, like Risman an OBE, made 250 appearances from 1987-96, scoring 147 tries in the process.

Though he won only one major honour with Leeds, he is regarded as one of the finest players born in the city.

He received his award from fellow centre/stand-off Jones.

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Friday will be the 50th anniversary of Leeds’ 11-10 win over Wakefield Trinity in the famous ‘Watersplash’ Challenge Cup final at Wembley, when Risman was at full-back. Members of both squads were at last night’s dinner.

The event also celebrated this Sunday’s 40th anniversary of Leeds’ 14-12 Challenge Cup final victory against St Helens and 30 years since Schofield inspired the club’s record 17th Yorkshire Cup triumph, against Castleford at Elland Road.