Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield Trinity in mourning after death of Don Robinson

Don Robinson, in action for Wakefield 1952.
Don Robinson, in action for Wakefield 1952.
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LEEDS RHINOS and Wakefield Trinity are mourning former player Don Robinson, who has died aged 84.

Robinson was a Trinity Hall of Fame member and the first Leeds forward to win both the Challenge Cup and Championship.

Don Robinson, scoring the winning try for Leeds against Barrow in the Challenge Cup Final. .

Don Robinson, scoring the winning try for Leeds against Barrow in the Challenge Cup Final. .

Initially a centre or loose-forward, he made his name in the professional game as a strong-running and brave second-row and later prop.

Born in Castleford, Robinson was signed by Wakefield from local amateur club Newmarket in 1949, having also played for St Joseph’s School, Airedale Youth Club and Kippax Juniors.

He made his debut in a Challenge Cup replay against Dewsbury at Crown Flatt on March 1, 1950, aged just 17.

He was a Yorkshire Cup winner in 1951-52, scoring a try in a 17-3 win over Keighley at Fartown and starred for Great Britain when they won the first World Cup in 1954. In total he earned 10 Great Britain caps from 1954-60.

Becoming captain of Trinity in 1955-56, he had scored 76 tries in 199 appearances by the time he signed for Leeds in January, 1956. Trinity received a £3,000 free and winger Fred Smith in part-exchange and Robinson made his Leeds debut against York on February 4.

That was the first of 296 games for the Loiners during which he scored 63 tries, including one on his debut.

Robinson scored Leeds’ third try in the 9-7 Challenge Cup final win over Barrow at Wembley in 1957, playing the whole match with a fractured wrist suffered in the previous week’s Championship semi-final loss to Oldham.

He was also a try scorer for Leeds in that season’s win over the touring Australians.

Robinson was a Yorkshire Cup winner against Wakefield in 1958 and his finest hour came three years later when Leeds beat Warrington at Odsal to win the Championship for the first time in their history.

The following season he became the first Leeds player to complete an ever-present campaign in the post-war period, playing in all the club’s 43 league and cup matches.

The last of the 1957 side to leave Headingley, he joined Doncaster in the summer of 1964 as player-coach.