In the recent Derby issue (which you have read hopefully) I dedicated my entire page to Roger, but in this issue I took a look at some of the mere mortals who tried valiantly to fill the boots of the GOD.
After the great man had retired from playing a man who had waited patiently to fill the six shirt after playing in the centres was Steve Hartley. Steve wasn’t extravagant but he had a good turn of pace, could pass and was a more than capable defender. He was part of the Champion winning side at six, won the cup in 80 in the left centre and played a few times for Great Britain.
John Dorahy was a great overseas signing who was equally adept in the centres or as a five-eighth who was also a brilliant goal kicker and a fantastic organiser. He was like a general on the pitch and was a master at putting people through gaps that didn’t seem to be there. He was a big game player and during his time with the Robins we had plenty of big games, including winning the Harry Sunderland trophy when we beat Cas in the 83 Premiership final.
Another decent overseas signing we had, but only for one season at the beginning of the 90’s was the Moari, Dave Watson. In one season with us Watto scored about 15 tries. He only looked slightly built but he had a great turn of pace and a hip swivel that made defenders feel dizzy, unfortunately for us we were a bit skint and Watson went on to Halifax and Bradford to have a decent Northern Hemisphere career.
One half back I have to mention is my good mate, Mike Crane. Affectionately known as the Judge (because he spent most of his time on the bench) Craney gave his all for the Robins and scored a few decent tries, though his claim to fame as he always tells me is the day he caught and tackled Jason Robinson and Rovers beat the mighty Wigan. I’ve seen it on Youtube and to be fair to Mike it was a decent tackle.
I couldn’t write a piece about stand-offs of my time without mentioning the mercurial Stanley Gene. After a storming 1995 World Cup, Rovers snapped Gene and John Okul up as relative unknowns. Craney regales the story of Gene and Okul living in a flat above a shop on Holderness road and permanently had the electric fire on and every stitch of clothing they owned because they had lived in the jungle.
On the pitch Stanley was the one on fire. As small as Jimmy Krankie with the strength of a baby elephant and the speed of a gazelle, he became a massive fans favourite from the minute he put on a Rovers shirt. His hero status was cemented fairly early on when he scored a hat trick at Wembley in the 60-14 win over Hunslet in the one and only Plate final. His first spell over four years Stanley scored nearly 100 tries in just over 100 games before chasing his Super League dream and signed for Gateshead only for them to sell their soul and identity to the Dullers. Fortunately for the sake of his sanity, Stan moved onto Huddersfield after one year then Bratfurd before making his homecoming in ’07 for another 50 odd appearances and 10 tries.
Stan is still loved at Craven Park and always will be but in his homeland of PNG he is seen as a God.
I’ve rambled on too much so until the next issue, I’ll leave it there.
This article is from FanaticHullKR Issue 6 (V Widnes) You can still secure a copy from our online shop…