Geoff Wraith and Gary Cooper, rugby league players

Former R.L. stars attend Rotarian 'Legends Dinner'.'Back row, l-r, Terry Crook, Don Froggett, Geoff Oakes,'Eric Clay, Ian Brooke, Mick Morgan, Ray Spencer, organiser.'Front l-r, John Whiteley, Neil Dodgson, President and organiser,'Jobie Shaw, Neil Fox, Peter Fox, Ken Rollin, Geoff Wraith.
Former R.L. stars attend Rotarian 'Legends Dinner'.'Back row, l-r, Terry Crook, Don Froggett, Geoff Oakes,'Eric Clay, Ian Brooke, Mick Morgan, Ray Spencer, organiser.'Front l-r, John Whiteley, Neil Dodgson, President and organiser,'Jobie Shaw, Neil Fox, Peter Fox, Ken Rollin, Geoff Wraith.
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Geoff Wraith and Gary Cooper, who died within a few days of each other, at 73 and 80 respectively, were two of Yorkshire’s great rugby league full-backs of the 1960s and 70s,

Born in Leeds, Wraith played more than 200 games for Wakefield Trinity, where he also had a short spell as coach, and later Castleford.

Gary Cooper turning out in 1967 for Wakefield Trinity

Gary Cooper turning out in 1967 for Wakefield Trinity

He made his Trinity debut against Castleford at Belle Vue in 1964, but was understudy to Cooper and Don Metcalfe, until finally establishing himself as first-choice in the 1969-70 season.

Four years later, in a move that shocked his Wakefield teammates, he moved to Australia to play for the Northern Suburbs Devils in Brisbane, where he was a team-mate of Trinity’s future coach, Shane McNally.

He returned to England in 1975, making the first of his 216 appearances for Castleford in a BBC Floodlit Trophy defeat by Leeds at Headingley.

Having been a Player’s No 6 and Yorkshire Cup runner-up with Trinity, he gained winners’ medals for Castleford in the Player’s, BBC Floodlit and Yorkshire Cup competitions. He scored 42 tries and played his final game in March, 1983.

He was tempted back to Trinity as team coach for the 1984-85 season, but his spell in charge lasted just 10 games, two of them, at the age of 38, as player-coach.

Gary Cooper had been the full back in Trinity’s two Championship winning sides of 1967 and 1968, gaining man of the match honours and the Harry Sunderland Trophy in 1968.

He began playing at Featherstone Rovers, his home town club, having joined their junior side in 1958.

Over the next eight years, he reached a couple of Challenge Cup semi-finals, a Championship semi-final, and toured Australia and New Zealand with Great Britain – but was often in dispute with Rovers, where a lack of opportunities saw him switch to the centre position.

He was one of four centres selected for the 1962 tour squad, alongside his club teammate, Don Fox. There was no test jersey on tour, but he did play in 16 games, scoring 13 tries, including a hat-trick against West Coast in New Zealand and a South Africa XIII.

On his return he was briefly made Featherstone captain, but he soon went on to join Fox at Trinity, in a squad that also included Neil Fox, Harold Poynton and Bob Haigh.

After 136 appearances and 25 tries, he left to join York, and in 1972 became player-coach there. He revitalised the squad but seven months later he was back at Trinity as part of the coaching staff, before finally returning to York in 1974.