29th November 2019, 13:48 | StHelens

Tony Karalius – a tribute

Tony Karalius – a tribute

The Rugby Football League today pays tribute to Tony Karalius, the former St Helens and Great Britain hooker who has sadly passed away at the age of 75.

The younger brother of Great Britain legend Vince, Karalius joined St Helens from hometown club Widnes in 1967 and went on two make 355 appearances in a Saints’ career spanning 11 years before he joined rivals Wigan in 1978.

Karalius would also go on to play for Fulham, most notably in their famous defeat of relegated Wigan in the London club’s first ever game, and for Cardiff Blue Dragons alongside former Saints George Nicholls and John Mantle.

His best years were at St Helens where he won Championship, Floodlit Trophy, Premiership and Challenge Cup winners medals. Both clever and skilful in equal measure, Karalius won more than his fair share of possession from keenly contested scrums, and won five Great Britain caps as a result. One of those caps came in the 1972 Rugby League World Cup against New Zealand, while he was also a member of the 1975 World Cup squad.

Tony Karalius’s finest hour was perhaps the 1976 Challenge Cup Final, when he inspired Saints’ ‘Dads Army’ side to an unlikely victory over the more youthful and highly fancied Widnes.


Another former Saint, Frank Ward, has also passed away at the age of 83. Front-rower Frank was a member of St Helens’ famous four-trophy squad of 1965-66 and made eight appearances for the club. The RFL extends condolences to Frank’s wife, Beryl.

*Photo Credit: St Helens Star