20th May 2020, 09:10 | therfl

The Rugby Football League pays tribute to lost loved ones

The Rugby Football League pays tribute to lost loved ones

Throughout the current public health crisis, the RFL has paid tribute to a wide range of figures who have contributed to the sport in a wide range of ways – and have lost their lives, either as a direct result of the pandemic, or through other causes during these difficult times. For each of the men below, we send our condolences to their families and friends – and our appreciation of their lives.


Jack Addy

(pictured on the left of the group at the 2009 Co-operative Championship Awards in Manchester, where Dewsbury were named Club of the Year)

Few if any in the long history of the Dewsbury club can have made a more significant contribution than Jack Addy, who has died at the age of 81 after suffering from dementia and other health conditions.

His association with the Crown Flatt club began as a player many decades ago, and in recent years he had continued to serve as President.

But it was in coaching and management that his contribution will be best remembered.

He was appointed in the 1984-85 season, in which Dewsbury secured promotion to the First Division, following some canny recruitment including Nigel Stephenson, a member of the club’s famous 1972-73 Championship-winning team.

They were unable to survive in the top flight, and in January 1987 Jack moved on to Huddersfield. But he returned to Dewsbury in 1990 – in their final season at the old Crown Flatt ground, and again assisted by Norman Smith, who took over for the 1993-94 season.

Those years are fondly remembered by Dewsbury supporters, with a future coach Neil Kelly influential on the field, and Eddie Rombo and Dennis Bailey a formidable pair of wingers in the red, amber and black.

Kelly paid tribute this week to Addy’s continued contribution to the club behind the scenes in the years when his splendid Dewsbury team including Richard Agar and Barry Eaton at half-back, and Damian Ball at loose forward, won the Northern Ford Premiership with such style.

“I’d first met Jack when I was playing and he succeeded Tommy Smailes as coach, and I don’t think anybody who witnessed our early exchanges would have expected us to end up as such good friends,” reflected Kelly, to whom the RFL also sends condolences after he lost his wife Maureen to cancer shortly before the national lockdown.

“He could be quite a volatile man – he certainly wore his heart on his sleeve. But having taken over a good Dewsbury side he made it better, as we got promoted. He was somewhere between an old-fashioned brimstone and treacle coach and the more modern coaches, and for Dewsbury that made him a very effective bridge between the two – in modernising their coaching, if you like, with Norman Smith playing a big part in that as well.

“By the time I became coach Jack was President, and I found him a massive help. To have somebody who was not just a friend, but an ally at that level of the club, in the boardroom, made my life much easier. They were enjoyable times, and good times for the club.”

In paying tribute to Jack, the Dewsbury club also referred to his love of cricket and golf, and the RFL adds condolences on behalf of the game to Pat, his partner. He will be dearly missed.


Joe Egan (Jr)

The son of a player widely regarded as one of the greatest hookers in Wigan and Great Britain history, Joe Egan was a fine forward in his own right – good enough to make 42 appearances for St Helens, including a Lancashire Cup Final win against Warrington in 1967, and then to lead Blackpool Borough on a famous cup run almost a decade later.

Joe junior, who had joined Borough from Saints for a £500 fee in 1969, captained a team who reached the final of the Players’ No6 Trophy as Second Division minnows, and scored a try and kicked three goals in their highly creditable 15-25 defeat against a formidable Castleford team including Malcolm Reilly.


Will Forsyth

In addition to Jack Addy, Dewsbury are also mourning the loss of Will Forsyth, a popular player who has died at the age of 24, having been diagnosed with cancer.

Forsyth, from Halifax, had initially signed for Bradford, and was a regular in Dewsbury’s reserve team in a successful campaign in 2015 – also making two senior Challenge Cup appearances that season.

Jonathan Schofield, who coached Dewsbury’s reserve team that season, told the club’s website: “Will played a big part in the team. He went about his business in a quiet way and was always professional. Will was a good lad to coach and he had the respect of us all, especially his team mates. He was great to have around the dressing room and he will be sadly missed by everyone.”


Arthur Summons

Australian Rugby League is mourning the loss of Arthur Summons, a dual code international who achieved the rare distinction of touring Great Britain with both the Wallabies and the Kangaroos – but will be better-remembered as one of “The Gladiators” who formed the sculpture for the iconic Winfield Cup trophy, which was first awarded in 1982 and is still presented to the NRL Grand Final winners, having been renamed the Provan-Summons Trophy in 2013.

Summons grew up in Sydney, and played in all four Tests of Australia’s rugby union tour of the British Isles in 1957-58. He switched codes to play for the Western Suburbs club in 1960, and appeared in their three consecutive Grand Final defeats against the great St George team from 1961-63.

It was after the third of those defeats, played in a torrential downpour at the Sydney Cricket Ground, that he was photographed by John O’Gready of the Sun Herald newspaper embracing the St George captain Norm Provan, a much taller man – producing the image which would become the Winfield Cup.

Summons had played in all three Tests of Australia’s home Ashes series against Great Britain in 1962, a series which the Lions won 2-1. He gained revenge having been appointed captain-coach of the 1963 Kangaroo tour, as Australia claimed their first Ashes series win on foreign soil – with Summons credited with a key off-field role despite not playing in any of the Tests. He then captained the Kangaroos to two wins in France, which were his last caps.