Leeds Rhinos Nostalgia: Why Kevin Dick was a firm fans’ favourite

AS RUGBY league players’ nicknames go ‘The Iron Teddy Bear’ takes some beating.

Monday, 10th January 2022, 6:00 am

Scorer of two tries and two goals in a 16-7 home win over Barrow 40 years ago today, Kevin Dick was a Leeds fans’ favourite in the 1970s and 80s.

Son of former Leeds forward Alec Dick, who played 46 times for the club in the 1950s, Kevin was signed from the Loiners’ Colts side and scored a try and goal on his debut in a win at Warrington on October 10, 1975.

That was the first of 259 appearances for the club and Dick is the 12th-highest points scorer in Leeds’ history, with 1,054 from 85 tries, 392 goals and two drop goals.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Kevin Dick leads the celebrations after Leeds' 1978 Challenge Cup final victory over St Helens. Picture: Steve Riding.

A tough, skilful and fiercely competitive scrum-half, Dick made his Challenge Cup debut at Wembley in 1977, scoring a try – from a huge dummy in front of the posts – as well as three goals and a one-pointer in a 16-7 win over Widnes.

His next Cup tie was also at Wembley, the following year, when he was a substitute in a classic 14-12 defeat of St Helens.

Known as a big-game player, Dick was man of the match – receiving the Harry Sunderland Trophy – a year later following a brilliant performance, particularly his kicking in general play, when Leeds hammered Bradford Northern 24-2 in the 1979 Premiership Final at Fartown, in Huddersfield.

Later that year, he scored three goals in a 15-6 win over Halifax in the Yorkshire Cup final, played at Headingley.

Kevin Dick shows off his medal as David Ward lifts the Challenge Cup trophy in 1978. Picture: Steve Riding.

Leeds retained the trophy 12 months later, Dick being voted most valuable player in a tense 8-7 success against Hull KR at Fartown.

Leeds went into the game as underdogs, but the scrum-half’s long-range drop goal was the difference between the teams.

He went into that game highly motivated, having been dropped by Great Britain the previous day.

Despite his talent, Dick won only two Test caps – both against New Zealand in 1980.

Former Leeds scrum-half Kevin Dick. Picture: Simon Hulme.

Dick’s final honour came in 1984 when his try helped Leeds to victory over Widnes in the JP Trophy showpiece.

Dick’s only defeat from seven major finals was in January, 1983, when he scored all Leeds’ points, from two penalty goals, in a 15-4 JP Trophy loss to Wigan.

In 1986 he was transferred to Hull in exchange for Trevor Skerrett and Andy Gasgoigne.

Dick scored five tries in 26 games for the Black and Whites during 1986-87, two of them coming against Leeds as his team were beaten at the Boulevard and Headingley.

The win over Barrow 40 years ago was Leeds’ fourth successive league victory and also featured tries by Mark Massa and Keith Rayne, in front of a crowd of 5,304.

Leeds won at home to Hull the following weekend before the rematch in Barrow, who won 14-10 despite a try and two goals from Dick and a Dave Heselwood touchdown.

The teams met yet again, just over a month later, when Dick was again on the scoresheet, with a drop goal, in Leeds’ 9-1 Challenge Cup second round win at Craven Park.

John Atkinson scored two tries that afternoon and John Holmes landed a brace of drop goals.

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. You’ll enjoy unlimited access to the latest on Leeds United, Leeds Rhinos, Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity, as well as other West Yorkshire rugby league clubs. With our sports digital subscription, you’ll also see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times and get exclusive content. Click here to subscribe.