Mick Crane RIP

It was with much sadness that the club has learned of the passing of 1978 Challenge Cup winner Mick Crane on Saturday morning.

Crane, heritage number 1088, joined Leeds from Hull FC for a then record fee of £12,000 in December 1977. A former centre, he switched effectively to loose forward and appeared there for Hull FC in the Players Final in 1976. In that Final he was narrowly beaten to the Man of the Match award after scoring two magnificent tries, one a 50-year interception. His transfer to Leeds in December 1977 for £12,000 came after 18 months continual persuasion by Leeds. He immediately fitted in at Headingley, appearing at Wembley in the 1978 Challenge Cup Final at loose forward. His cover tackling and tremendous work rate made him a big Headingley favourite until he stayed away in May 1979, causing him to miss the Premiership victory by Leeds later that year.

A Hall of Fame member at Hull FC, Crane is widely regarded as one of the greatest British forwards to ever pull on the Black & White jersey, and was a firm favourite of the Boulevard faithful in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Hull born star was one of the stand-out players in the iconic era of success for the Black & Whites, making a phenomenal 359 appearances across two spells at the club, and scoring 98 tries.

One of only 19 players in club history to surpass 350 appearances, Crane, who was a loose-forward by trade, was equally capable of operating at second-row and centre, such were his skill and capabilities with ball in hand.

Crane originally joined Hull FC in 1970, spending some eight seasons at the club; in his initial spell, Crane was a regular feature in the side and undoubtedly one of the stand-out players in what was a challenging decade for the club, scoring twice in the 1975-76 League Cup Final defeat to Widnes. 

After Leeds, he returned to East Yorkshire with Hull FC before more silverware would come in his second spell at the Airlie Birds when the Great Britain international rejoined his boyhood side in 1981, where he would spend another seven seasons and write his name into the history books as a member of the iconic team of the era that claimed numerous trophies, under the stewardship of coach Arthur Bunting.

Crane started at second-row in the 1982 Challenge Cup Final clash against Widnes at Wembley, before coming off the bench in the iconic replay victory three weeks later at Elland Road – one of the finest nights in club history.

As well as being a key cog in the side that won the 1983 Rugby League Championship title, making some 40 appearances throughout the season, Crane claimed winners medals in the 1982 Yorkshire Cup Final win over Bradford Northern, and once again in the same tournament against Castleford a year later in 1983, with a Man of the Match award to add to his collection in the latter after scoring a try and kicking a drop-goal.

Mick sadly passed away on Saturday morning.

On behalf of everyone at Leeds Rhinos, we would like to pass on our deepest sympathies to Mick’s family and friends at this sad time.