In Profile: Hall of Famers

In Profile: Hall of Famers widnesvikings.co.uk
pic

17th July 2018

Widnes Vikings are delighted that the Club's Official Hall of Fame is to be honoured with an exclusive celebration dinner on Friday 26th October 2018, in association with Money Matters.

Martin Offiah MBE was revealed as the latest inductee alongside the 13 Widnes legends already on the list on Monday morning, joining the likes of Mick Adams, Vince Karalius and Mick Burke.

To celebrate the announcement, we take a look at those currently in the Hall of Fame…


Mick Adams

Widnes born Mick Adams amassed 415 appearances for his home-town club, in a 13-year spell at Naughton Park. The second-rower was equally as comfortable at loose forward and went on to represent England six times and Great Britain on 13 occasions. Adams was part of the 1977-78 Championship winning side, and won the Premiership Final three times with a pair of victories over Hull FC coming after a triumph against Bradford Northern. He also played in seven Challenge Cup Finals for Widnes, winning the competition on four occasions, lifting the trophy twice as captain. He was also part of the side which defeated the touring Australian side 11-10 in 1978, the last English club side to defeat the Kangaroos. A five-time Lancashire Cup winner, who also lifted the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy and John Player Trophy, Adams deservedly became one of the original members of the Hall of Fame.


Mick Burke

Mick Burke racked up 308 appearances for Widnes between 1978 and 1987, scoring 64 tries, kicking 708 goals and knocked over two field-goals in that time. He featured on the wing at the start of his career with the Club, moving to fullback and stand-off. Mick helped his club to win the Lancashire Cup, the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy and the Challenge Cup, as well kicking the winning goal which defeated the touring Australian side 11-10 in 1978 in his first season. That season, Burke not only broke Ray Dutton's goal-scoring record, with 140 goals from his 47 games, but also Harry Dawson's long-standing points record for a season with 316 points. In the 1981 Challenge Cup showpiece he picked up the Lance Todd Trophy, with the 15-cap Great Britain man scoring a try and kicking four goals as Widnes downed cup holders Hull Kingston Rovers 18-9 at Wembley.


Keith Elwell

The current holder of the record for most career appearances for Widnes, hooker Keith Elwell represented the Club between 1970 and 1986. During his 591 outings for the club, he lifted the Challenge Cup four times, the Lancashire Cup four times, the John Player Trophy twice and the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy once. He was also part of the side which defeated the 1978 touring Kangaroo side 11-10, as Widnes remain as the last English club side to beat Australia. Elwell won international honours for England in 1978 when he faced France and Wales, also winning caps for Great Britain against Australia and New Zealand.


Fred Higgins

Fred Higgins played second row for Widnes between 1939 and 1955, and was part of the team which defeated Wigan 7-3 in the 1945 Lancashire Cup Final at Wilderspool. During his time with the Club, he featured four times for England, with three of those appearances coming against Wales and the other against France. A further six caps followed for Great Britain, facing Australia and New Zealand three times. Higgins’ 16-year stint with Widnes saw him give his all for the badge, as he was inducted into the Club’s Hall of Fame.


Jimmy Hoey

Jimmy Hoey was a centre or second rower who featured for Widnes during the 1920s and 1930s, and during that time was one of the biggest stars of the game. He was part of the team who won the Club’s first Challenge Cup trophy back in 1930, defeating St Helens 10-3 at Wembley. Hoey also kicked a conversion in a narrow 4-5 loss to Wigan in the 1928/29 Lancashire Cup Final at Wilderspool. He etched his name in the history books during the 1932/33 season, becoming the first player from any club to play and score in every game of a season. His feat of 40 try-scoring appearances wasn’t matched for 26 years.


Arthur Johnson

Arthur Johnson first represented Widnes in the early 1900s, playing in a number of positions over a two-decade stint with the Club. One of the highlights of his career came during the 1914 Great Britain Lions tour of Australian and New Zealand, in the famous Rorke’s Drift Test. Johnson was a forward playing out of position on the wing, and with 20 minutes remaining in the clash with Australia he decided to dribble the ball from inside his own half, beating the fullback to score. Covering prop, hooker, second-row and loose forward during his time at Widnes, Johnson would go down as a legend of the Club.


Vince Karalius

Following a successful career with St Helens, Vince Karalius signed for his hometown Club Widnes in 1962, bringing long-awaited silverware to Naughton Park. In his first season he helped the team to a third-placed finish, equalling their best ever Championship campaign at the time. Then, the loose forward led the Chemics to Wembley in 1964 as they defeated Hull Kingston Rovers 13-5, with Karalius lifting the trophy and ending the Club’s 18-year wait for silverware. He returned to Widnes as coach in 1972, winning the Lancashire Cup and Challenge Cup during the 1974/75 season to mark the Club’s first ever double trophy win. After his first reign came to an end, he once again returned to lead Widnes to Challenge Cup triumph in 1984, with a 19-6 victory over Wigan. In 2000, he became the first forward inducted into the British Rugby League Hall of Fame, and is remembered every year when Widnes Vikings and St Helens compete for the Karalius Cup, a fitting tribute to his contribution for both sides. 


Doug Laughton

Doug Laughton had unprecedented success as both a player and coach for Widnes, and will always be remembered for leading the Club to their World Club Challenge triumph in 1989. His playing career with his hometown club ran from 1973 until 1980, with the last two years as player-coach. In 1979, he led the Club to Challenge Cup glory and was named Man of Steel, going on to captain Great Britain on their tour of Australia in the same year. Laughton won four times at Wembley, with two coming as player and two coming as head coach. He also played in three Lancashire Cup triumphs and was player-coach in the 1978 BBC2 Floodlit Trophy win over St Helens. His time as head coach at Widnes saw the Club dominate the Championship, leading the Chemics to a number of their Premiership triumphs. As mentioned earlier, Laughton was at the helm for Widnes’ most famous victory, as they defeated Canberra Raiders to become World Club Champions.


Tommy McCue

Widnes born halfback Tommy McCue represented the Club between 1931 and 1949, making 339 appearances and scoring 106 tries during that period. He played at representative level for England and Great Britain, and also featured in Lancashire’s 7-5 win over Australia in the 1937/38 Kangaroos tour of Great Britain and France. McCue was part of the 1937 side which defeated Keighley 18-5 at Wembley to lift the Challenge Cup, and captained Widnes to a 7-3 Lancashire Cup triumph over Wigan in 1946.


Harry Millington

Harry Millington represented Widnes for two decades, making his debut for the Club in 1927 and going on to rack up 460 appearances and 65 tries. He played loose forward in the Chemics’ first ever Challenge Cup triumph, as they defeated St Helens 10-3 in 1930, going on to lift the trophy again in an 18-5 victory over Keighley in 1937. Millington also played a pivotal part in the 1945 Lancashire Cup winning side, beating Wigan 7-3 at Wilderspool. He featured in Lancashire’s 7-5 win over Australia in the 1937/38 Kangaroos tour of Great Britain and France, and won his only England cap against Wales in 1944.


Jim Mills

‘Big Jim’ Mills lived up to his name and became one of the most feared prop forwards during his glittering career, representing Widnes in two spells between 1972 and 1980. In his 188 appearances for the club he won eight trophies, which included a hat-trick of Lancashire Cup triumphs. One of his most memorable Final appearances came in 1975, when Mills scored a try in the 14-7 victory over rivals Warrington Wolves. He also went on to lift the same trophy again in 1979, as Widnes defeated Wakefield 12-3. The sheer size of the front rower meant that he was unstoppable at the height of his powers, going on to represent both Wales and Great Britain with distinction.


Frank Myler

Stand-off Frank Myler became a Club legend at Widnes, guiding his hometown team to silverware both on and off the field. In 369 appearances he scored 144 times, and set a then Club record of 34 tries in the 1958/59 season. Myler was part of the 1964 Challenge Cup winning side which defeated Hull Kingston Rovers 13-5, and remains the last British captain to lift the Ashes on Australian soil. Taking over from Vince Karalius as head coach in 1975, he led Widnes to 1979 Challenge Cup Final, where they defeated Wakefield 12-3, and to their first Rugby League Championship in the 1977/78 season. Such was the influence that Myler had on the town, he was given the Freedom of the Borough by Halton Council in 2004 and is still seen as one of Britain’s best ever stand-offs.


Nat Silcock

Great Britain international forward Nat Silcock played for Widnes from 1922 to 1939, featuring 434 times and scoring 42 tries. He featured at second-row in the Club’s first ever Challenge Cup triumph in 1930, as they defeated St Helens 10-3. Seven years later he made his third Wembley appearance, and lifted the trophy as captain as he scored in an 18-5 win over Keighley. A true leader on the field, Silcock racked up 12 representative appearances for Great Britain and a further three for England, featuring against France, Australia, Wales and New Zealand. He was also part of the Lancashire side which defeated Australia 7-5 in their 1937–38 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France.

 

Stronghold Members can secure their place at the event with an exclusive sale period from Monday 16th July at 11am. Pre-bookings can be made by either emailing enquiries@widnesvikings.co.uk, calling the ticketline on 0151 495 2250, or in store at the Vikings Superstore, located within Tesco Extra, Widnes.

New Hall of Fame inductees will be announced individually over the coming weeks and with limited capacity available, tickets expected to be in high demand for this event.

Book your tickets now to avoid disappointment and join some of the Club's most famous stars as the take their place in Vikings history!

General sale, and the opportunity to book online, will be available from Wednesday 18th July. Click here to read more...

In Profile: Hall of Famers widnesvikings.co.uk