Debut: vs Leigh (H) 18th December 1971
Honours: Championship (Winners: 1972, Finalists: 1973), Challenge Cup (Finalist: 1972), Regal Trophy (1972-73)
The story of Terry Clawson on one particular week in 1972 says everything about sport and the character of those who play it, particularly rugby league. The phrase had not been coined in those pre-European union days but ‘zero to hero’ could not have been more apt.
An international, who arrived at Leeds from Hull K.R. – where he impressed the great Arthur Beetson, the formidable pair being Craven Park team mates for a short while – he signed in at Headingley in December 71.
Born in Normanton as the Allies were on the back foot at the beginning of the Second World War, in April 1940, he signed for Featherstone in the late 50s despite, initially, being a Castleford fan. He debuted for the first team against Bramley in December ’57 and although initially a centre, found fame and recognition as a goal kicking second rower.
Yorkshire honours followed and he was selected for Great Britain against France in 1962 alongside team mate and school boy friend Malcolm Dixon, the first time two Rovers’ had won international selection in the same team. Just missing out on being picked for the 1962 Kangaroo tour, he fought off severe tuberculosis which looked as though it would end his aspirations. Somewhat ironically given their current plight, he returned to prominence with Bradford Northern, recently re-formed after their financial collapse and was there for five seasons.
Now a prop, he joined Leeds with two long-standing goals unfilled, to get to a Challenge Cup final and to face the Southern hemisphere’s best, both of which he did when joining Leeds.
Amid the desolation, he not only picked himself up but put in a Harry Sunderland award winning performance at Swinton before the dust had settled. On the back of that success, his shots at goal the ultimate difference, came World Cup selection and two successful kicks in the Final as GB lifted the trophy.
Some even remember him signing in the scrum at the height of battle. Back at Leeds, however, he knew his days were numbered. His final game for the Loiners was in the Championship final as Leeds sought to retain their crown but this time Mike Stephenson and his Dewsbury posse stood in the way of glory and caused an upset.
He joined Oldham, played in all three Kangaroo Tests in ‘73 and went on tour the next season, returning to join York and have very successful and fondly remembered spells as player/coach at South Newcastle in Australia, where he won a divisional Grand Final. Another stint back at Bradford, under Roy Francis and alongside Barry Seabourne and Bob Haigh, was followed by his 23 year career winding down as it had begun, back at Featherstone, and with short spells at Wakefield, Huddersfield and helping out Arthur Bunting’s emerging side at Hull as his career crept into a fourth decade.
He ended having played 640 games and registering over 2,500 points, also bagging a John Player winner’s medal while at Leeds.