164 appearances between 1966-70
Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2018
Sometimes it is a change in position that can make all the difference.
As a replacement effectively for Ken Thornett, and a measure of Roy Francis’s unique vision – a converted stand-off signing from Leigh Bev Risman had all the necessary distributive and decision making skills to be an instant success in the custodian’s role.
He joined a young, enthusiastic Leeds side that just needed guidance from the back, and his ability to size up a situation on attack to best release two of the finest wingers in the game under the new limited tackle rules was a revelation.
It was never better seen than in the dramatic, match-winning climax to the 1969 Championship final at Odsal, when his run from the back and precision kick freed John Atkinson for the decisive score.
Salford-born but Cumbrian raised, he had a wonderful feel and appreciation for the game, being steeped in its tradition through his exceptional Hall of Fame father, Gus Risman.
A standout student player in rugby union in the 1950s, he gained eight caps for England over three years, leading to a call up to play on the 1959 British Lions tour to New Zealand, the on-field highlight of which was a sensational try in the Fourth Test.
On his return the league scouts were out in force, and in 1961 he joined the Leythers, coming to Headingley five years later.
An intelligent strategist, with Leeds he won every major medal and fitted in perfectly to the entertainment principle, ironically missing few games until his playing career was ended by a chronic knee injury at Warrington in February 1970.
His input to success at the start of the second Leeds golden era was key, not least with his exceptional goal kicking – the leading exponent in the game from 1967-69, with a high of 165.
Selected as skipper of the 1968 GB World Cup party, he appeared five times for his country and once for England.
A school teacher, after he finished playing, he devoted himself to the sport, not least as the first development officer in the south, helping set up student rugby league, managing Fulham and as a director at London Broncos.
At the cutting edge of fitness and training, he worked with the Lawn Tennis Association and was also technical director of David Storey’s rugby league play ‘The Changing Room’ in the West End.
Chairman of Carlisle Centurions when moving back home and of the Leeds ex-players association, a former trustee of the Rugby League Foundation and President of the RFL – redefining that role – he was awarded of an OBE in 2012 for his services to the sport.