TERRY Clawson, who has died aged 73, was one of the great characters of rugby league.
At Leeds, Clawson is best remembered for two finals he played in just seven days apart in 1972.
The front-rower blamed himself for Leeds’s 16-13 loss to St Helens in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley, after missing three straight-forward shots at goal – despite landing five successful kicks.
But the following weekend he was voted the Harry Sunderland man of the match in the Championship decider against the same opposition at Station Road, Swinton, when he kicked three crucial goals, including two from the touchline, in a 9-5 win.
Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington was a team-mate of Mr Clawson at York in the 1970s.
“He was one of the game’s great characters,” said Mr Hetherington.
“He played until he was 40, he played in the 1950s and 60s and finished at the end of the 70s.
“He was a terrific player and a great personality.
“He played with many clubs and was one of the original full-time professionals, who made a living from rugby league.”
Born in Normanton, Mr Clawson overcame a childhood bout of tuberculosis and turned professional with Featherstone Rovers in 1957.
As well as Leeds, his 640-game career also saw him turn out for Bradford Northern, Hull KR, Oldham, York, Featherstone again, Wakefield Trinity, Huddersfield and Hull.
His final match for Featherstone – where he was player-coach in his second spell – came 20 years and 11 months after his debut, a record span between first and final games for the club.
He made 14 Test appearances and was a member of Great Britain’s World Cup-winning side in 1972.
RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said: “Our thoughts are with Terry’s family at this very sad time.
“It is particularly sad and poignant that Terry’s passing has come in this, a World Cup year.
“Terry will not just be remembered as a great rugby league player, he will be remembered as one of the game’s great characters.”
A funeral service will take place at Pontefract Crematorium on Thursday, September 12, at 11.20am.