Don Froggett

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WHEN the finest points scorer in rugby league history labels you as a “great mentor”, you know you have achieved something rich in the sport.

Those were the words of the imperious Neil Fox when describing his former Wakefield Trinity team-mate Donald “Don” Froggett earlier this week after his death at the age of 81.

While Fox will always be remembered as the prince of Trinity centres, his predecessor was, in his own right, a formidable three-quarter.

He signed for the West Yorkshire club from the Armed Forces, joining in 1948, to begin a memorable career at Belle Vue.

Froggett went on to play 219 games for Trinity, spanning 11 years, and scoring 284 points.

His consistent form, based on strong defence and fine attacking quality which made life so easy for his numerous wingmen, won him deserved representative honours.

Froggett, who hailed from Wakefield, pulled on the cherished Yorkshire jersey in four successive seasons between 1953-54 and 1956-57, featuring for his county with esteem on 12 separate occasions.

During this period, he also earned his solitary England cap against France in 1953 although many would argue he should have won more.

The player himself was particularly aggrieved not to have gained selection for the 1954 tour having impressed in the international trials.

After a career of wholehearted endeavour and dedication, Froggett completed his time with Trinity in 1959 having enjoyed a richly-warranted testimonial against Huddersfield.

During that career he helped develop Fox, taking the prodigious talent under his wing and teaching him the art of centre play.

“When I came down in 55-56, Don was there and I played my first game with him as a 16-year-old,” he recalled.

“Don was a great mentor for me. He was a good, hard centre and intelligent as well.

“He helped me tremendously in those early years, telling me where to go, who to take and we never used to get mixed up.

“He was always talking to me. Don had great courage as well and got quite a few injuries because of that, especially his shoulders, but he would simply never go half-hearted.

“I don’t suppose I knew how good he was until I played with him and I remember he was unlucky not to go on that 54 tour.

“But he was a gentleman off the pitch as much as on it. I don’t think he ever got sent off. It was just a shame he retired before we won at Wembley in ‘59-’60 but he’ll always be remembered for being a fine Trinity player.

“I remained friends with him and his family and he will be sorely missed.”