22nd March 2021, 17:55 | great_britain

The RFL pays tribute to Jeff Grayshon MBE

The RFL pays tribute to Jeff Grayshon MBE

The Rugby Football League pays tribute to Jeff Grayshon MBE, the record-breaking former Great Britain forward who has died at the age of 72.

Jeff Grayshon had an astoundingly long playing career, spanning well over two decades from his debut for Dewsbury in 1970 to his last appearance for Batley at the age of 45.

He became the oldest player to have represented Great Britain having been recalled for the last two of his 24 international appearances in the 1985 home series against New Zealand. The controversial decision of the coach Maurice Bamford to select Grayshon for the second Test at Wigan, after GB had lost the opener at Headingley, was justified by a 25-8 win in which Garry Schofield scored four tries to level the series.

Grayshon retained his place for the series decider at Elland Road, a famously fiery encounter in which he was sent to the sin bin once, and his New Zealand counterpart Kurt Sorensen twice, before Lee Crooks kicked a dramatic late penalty to secure a 6-6 draw for Great Britain.

Jeff also achieved the rare distinction of playing professionally against his son, Paul, in April 1990, at the age of 41 – for Featherstone Rovers, the fourth of the fifth Yorkshire clubs he represented, against Bradford Northern, where he had enjoyed considerable success in two spells under the coaching of Peter Fox.

Grayshon was also proud to represent Yorkshire on 14 occasions from 1973-85, again linking up effectively with Fox.

He had won the first of his three Championship medals as a young second-row with Dewsbury in 1972-3, and also played a season in Sydney with Cronulla Sharks.

He was awarded the MBE by the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 1992 – before his retirement – for his services to Rugby League.

Ralph Rimmer, the RFL Chief Executive, said: “Jeff Grayshon became an iconic figure in the game through a career which was hugely successful, as well as incredibly long – as was reflected by the award of the MBE for services to the sport. He gave great service to each of the five clubs he represented in this country, and also to Yorkshire, England and Great Britain, and I know this news will deeply sadden his many former team-mates. On behalf of the RFL, we celebrate his achievements, and send condolences to his family and friends.”