Last time out, we discussed the number seven shirt and acknowledged that the shirt was generally worn by the most diminutive but crafty player in the team.
This week features number eight – usually the physically biggest player in the team.
Open side prop forwards are the enforcers who give the smaller playmakers the platform to ply their trade.
Big men who are often the heroes of their own fans but are classified as ‘dirty so-and-sos’ by opposition supporters!
When talking about players who have worn number eight at Dewsbury, it seems that everyone remembers Harry Beverley, and by everyone I don’t just mean Dewsbury fans!
I was talking to a guy from North Wales recently who had lived in Dewsbury in the 70s and had ventured up to games at Crown Flatt.
The first player he mentioned was Harry Beverley!
Harry was one our 1973 Championship final heroes – he also played in our 1975 BBC2 Floodlit Trophy final against St Helens.
In the same year, he played for England against Australia in the World Cup.
He was born in Leeds but after leaving Dewsbury he played in the far north west for Workington Town.
He featured in two Lancashire cup finals for the Cumbrians, but on both occasions ended up with a runners-up medal, as Town were defeated by Widnes.
Harry then became part of the revolution by the Thames, as Fulham joined the Rugby League, before going back briefly to Derwent Park to finish his career.
The distinguishing feature that probably makes Harry so well remembered was his knees up running style – something that often upset opposition fans!
Now on to another feisty lad – Ryan MacDonald!
Ginger-haired and large in stature, he never took a backward step in a Dewsbury team that dominated the Northern Ford Premiership around the turn of the century.
He left some great memories of titanic battles at The Tetley’s Stadium.
I remember crossing the Pennines on the Dewsbury supporters’ coach to Rochdale when the Hornets had Danny Sculthorpe in their ranks. All the talk on the bus was about the impending battle between Ryan & Danny!
Then there was the day that Castleford Tigers came to Owl Lane in the Challenge Cup.
They were coached by Stuart Raper, who selected a full strength tigers team – not something that generally happens when a Super League team meets a Championship team – but at that time we were comfortably the best team outside the top flight and Cas rested nobody!
One of the sub-plots was the battle between Ryan and Dean Sampson – nobody got the better of Ryan, but that day he was up against a powerhouse who had seen off the biggest and best in Super League!
With ten minutes remaining, Dewsbury only trailed 6-4, but we creaked in the closing stages to concede two tries to succumb 18-4.
As for Ryan, he took Sampson on as we all expected and I can only recall one instance when the Tigers prop sent him hurtling backwards.
Ryan was one of the players who followed Neil Kelly to Widnes.
He earned international recognition for Scotland during a long career and after retiring from playing set up a vocational learning centre in Workington.
How can I not mention Frank Watene?!
An absolute crowd favourite much loved by everyone – older Rams fans called him Frank the Tank, whilst some younger fans dubbed him Shrek!
Frank played for Tonga, the Junior Kiwis and New Zealand Maori.
He lives in Halifax and nowadays is a training team manager for St John Ambulance.
I really must mention Mick Clark. He captained Leeds in the iconic 1968 ‘watersplash’ Challenge Cup Final but played for Dewsbury in the early sixties.
He also played for Great Britain in the 1968 World Cup.
Another guy from the 90s is Darren Fleary. He enjoyed a fine career at club and representative level.
He went to Keighley Cougars and was part of their team when they were controversially denied promotion to Super League, and, like several other Cougars from that watershed moment, he went to Leeds.
Another 90s prop was Glen Bell, a popular figure who earned international recognition for Scotland.
If we are talking about physical enforcers, you have to mention Gary Rose!
Gary played for Leeds-based amateur club Yew Tree, before enjoying a fine professional career.
A fierce looking guy – you would feel safe walking down any dark alley if Gary Rose was with you!
Another 90s prop was Danny McKelvie, who also earned caps with Scotland.
In more recent times, we have enjoyed the services of two lads who subsequently became team-mates at Wakefield Trinity – Keegan Hirst and Anthony England.
The duo being part of a self-styled Trinity pack that became the physically biggest in Super League.
We have not had too many Papua New Guinea players in Red, Amber and Black, so let us give a shout for Makali Aizue.
I seem to recall him making his UK debut for Hull Kingston Rovers against us at Craven Park.
I often used to spot Makali on trains when he was travelling to and from his home in Hull to games.
Indeed, one Sunday evening I saw him in Yates’ Bar in Leeds whilst he was awaiting the next connection to Hull!
But my first number eight hero was Jim Naylor!
I will never forget seeing Big Jim come down the tunnel at Crown Flatt smothered in vaseline and ligament – what a compelling aroma and what a player he was.
I also need to mention the powerhouse from the 60s that was Trevor ‘Tank’ Walker – unstoppable when a taking a short ball near the opposition line.
Our current number eight? Frazer Morris.
I really enjoy watching his whole-hearted style of play.
He has played for Wakefield Trinity, Halifax and Newcastle Thunder, and hopefully he will now have a successful long career at Dewsbury.