When I first started thinking about custodians of the Dewsbury number six shirt I immediately thought of a father and son duo who played a major part in two of our greatest periods.
Alan Agar and Richard Agar left an indelible mark on the history of our club.
Alan wore the shirt on what many would say was our greatest day – the 1973 Championship final victory over Leeds at Odsal.
He made 153 appearances in Red, Amber and Black, scoring 34 tries, 39 goals plus one drop-goal.
Alan also wore the shirt in our 1972 Yorkshire Cup Final defeat to the Loiners.
After leaving Crown Flatt he went on to pick up another Championship winners medal with Hull Kingston Rovers.
He was also a Challenge Cup winner for the Robins in the iconic Wembley win over city rivals Hull in 1980.
After retiring as a player, Alan enjoyed various coaching positions, but his undoubted highlight was leading hometown Featherstone Rovers to a shock Wembley victory over Hull in 1983.
He also took unfancied Rochdale Hornets to the 1991 Lancashire Cup Final where they were defeated by St Helens.
On to son Richard, who kicked my favourite ever drop goal – the 79th minute winner for the Rams against Leigh Centurions in the Northern Ford Premiership Grand Final at a sun-drenched Gigg Lane in Bury in 2000 – what a joyous moment!
Richard had two spells at Dewsbury and was a massive part of the Neil Kelly coached squad who were undoubtedly the best team outside Super League.
Richard has followed the same path as his dad and has gained respect in the coaching world. He currently has the high-profile role of head coach of Leeds Rhinos.
I recall several years ago that Richard ran out to play for Dewsbury at The Tetley’s Stadium when the 1973 Championship winners, including Alan, were having a reunion and formed a guard of honour to applaud the team onto the pitch.
Richard once told me what an awesome moment that was!
Alan and Richard Agar – two of the wisest and deepest thinkers in the game.
Another father and son duo to wear the shirt were John and Francis Maloney, although John was a renowned centre rather than a stand-off.
Francis is a local lad who played for several clubs and also played for Yorkshire & England.
He also played for Dewsbury and Batley schoolboys in the iconic under-11s Challenge Cup Final curtain-raiser at Wembley.
Another local product who came up through the prolific St John Fisher junior club was Chris Vasey.
Sometimes at junior level a player stands out because he is bigger and stronger than other lads of his age, but Chris stood out because of his rugby brain right through from his teens.
He also played for Leeds and Sheffield Eagles. Gary Hetherington signed him for the eagles as a replacement for Darryl Powell who had suffered a long-term injury – a true testament to the respect that Chris had in the game.
Back to the days when I made my first steps to Crown Flatt we had an Aussie at number in Garth Budge, who came to us from Bradford Northern.
There were very few overseas players in the English game back then, so he stood out in my boyhood mind!
He came from Rockhampton in Queensland and arrived at Dewsbury in a swap deal that took Peter Mullins to Odsal.
He played in our 1967 Cup run that took us to within one game of Wembley.
He also went on to spend many years as a coach at various levels of the game but sadly passed away recently.
I really have to mention Johnny Wolford who was the epitome of the brains of the team in a number six shirt.
No Dewsbury fan who saw him will forget him, but his greatest moments came elsewhere.
He was a Premiership Final and Yorkshire Cup winner with Bradford and a vital part of that incredible Bramley team who the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy in 1973.
On to two local lads both called Paul!
Paul Delaney started his professional career with Leeds but had some great moments in a Dewsbury shirt. Him and all his family are inextricably linked to the Dewsbury Moor club.
Paul Shuttleworth starred in his junior days across the valley for Batley Boys amd was so typical of the fleet-footed quick thinkers who play in the position.
Another local lad who recently retired was Pat Walker, an absolutely metronomic goal kicker in addition to his other skills.
Pat also played for Batley Bulldogs and Sheffield Eagles.
Going back in time to the World War Two era, we had one of the greatest players ever to lace a pair of boots at number six in Alan Edwards.
Welshman Alan was a legendary figure at Salford after starring in rugby union in his native Wales.
He played for Dewsbury in our 1944 Championship final defeat at the hands of Wigan.
That was a two-legged War Time Emergency Final, when we were beaten 13-9 in the first leg at Central Park and lost the second leg 12-5 at Crown Flatt.
Now time for the current number six, Paul Sykes, and what a distinguished career he has had.
I remember being at Headingley watching his international debut against France with mixed emotions.
Pride that a fellow Thornhiller was playing international Rugby League, but frustration that he wasn’t playing his club rugby for home-town Dewsbury!
Whilst most lads want nothing more than to play for their home town, the advent of Super League obviously means that anybody wanting a full-time career in the game has to join a club in the elite competition.
Paul has played for Bradford, Wakefield and London at the top level, then heading to Featherstone for a single season before his return home.
He has appeared five times for England and once for Great Britain.
Finally, one thing about Paul Sykes you may not know – in his days at Bradford Bulls he played one game on loan for Wakefield Rugby Union club!