Signed as an 18 year old centre from the Intermediates ahead of the 1959-60 campaign, he made his debut and kicked his sole Leeds goal in the Lazenby Cup clash with Hunslet , a 20-17 Headingley defeat.
The following season was his most prolific, crossing for 16 tries as Leeds headed the table for the first time, including hat tricks at home to York and away against Keighley. In a rich vein of form, Keighley again feeling his finishing prowess as he grabbed a brace in the return at the end of February ’61, he seemed destined to play a major part in up coming glory.
The capricious nature of sport meant that by the time the play offs started, however, a leg injury caused him to be omitted for the semi final at home to St Helens, his place taken by fellow teenager Vince Hattee. A memorable victory and it was impossible for coach Dai Prosser to change the side and, even though he was still suffering, Fred missed out. His value to that side has been illustrated in the 40 and 50 year reunions of it, among whom he has always been deemed a vital part of the successful outfit that captured the title for the club first time around.
Eight tries the next season and a second-highest for the club 11 in 1962-3 maintained his place in a side that was in transition. Nevertheless, there was a measure of surprise when it was announced that he had decided to move to Australia and was released in early January 1964 to sign for Manly, making his Sea Eagles debut at the start of their campaign that March. He crossed for his first try in round two of the competition against Western Suburbs and added another that season, doing likewise the following year when again he posted two touchdowns.
In 1966, he moved to Parramatta, the club that his fellow Leeds centre partner Derek Hallas had joined, becoming the 241st player to pull on the Eels’ shirt. He gained a reputation for perfecting the Cumberland throw in a side that featured ’61 Championship winner Ken Thornett’s brother Dick and another Englishman with a similar tackling technique, former Featherstone half back Ivor Lingard. His initial season with Parramatta proved to be his best and most productive in the ARL, emerging as their leading try scorer with ten for the season out of a club total of 48. That included a brace against his former club, when Manly were beaten 18-11 at Brookvale.
The following season he notched touchdowns against Canterbury and Penrith bringing his tally to 16 in all in the Australian game. He returned to Leeds and began training again at the club, making his second debut in March 1971 at St Helens, an experienced head in a young, injury riven side that was heavily beaten. His role changed the following season, nine of his 19 appearances coming in the second row and seven off the bench. He scored one of two tries as a starting back rower in a home win over Halifax, again integrating as a valuable and now versatile squad member.
Although he was in the number twelve shirt for the Challenge Cup quarter final win over Wakefield at Headingley, he was omitted for the semi final and Wembley when they came around. A week later, though, he was one of five changes made by Derek Turner for the return match with St Helens at Swinton for the Championship decider, named on the bench and finally getting the chance to appear in a major final that had eluded him 11 years previously. He actually came on at prop, deputising for Tony Fisher who had been moved across the front row from hooker, in a lighter but much more mobile pack that successfully withstood the late Saints barrage.
He bowed out at the end of the following campaign and by the time he left Headingley he had made 197 first team appearances and scored 49 tries.