BRIAN BEVAN WARRINGTON RUGBY LEAGUE. THE STORY BEHIND RUGBY LEAGUE’S UNLIKELY-LOOKING STAR.
Brian Bevan Warrington Rugby League. The greatest try-scorer in Rugby League history. Bevan was the most unlikely-looking rugby player or athlete. He was bald, thin, and frail in appearance. With spindly legs, heavily protected by bandages. He was said to use a whole roll of elastic bandage to protect his legs and arms from injury. All of Bevan’s teeth were false. And he left them in the dressing room when playing. After running the length of the field to score he would spit out his mouthguard in delight. It was a most unglamorous sight for the cameras.
Brian Bevan Warrington Rugby League trial game
Bevan’s prodigious talents were not spotted by selectors when he tried out for the Eastern Suburbs club as a teenager. Also, when he joined the Navy at the outbreak of the war. He could not get a run in top-grade services rugby. The Leeds club gave him a trial. This was as a result of his uncle, Bill Shankland, a 1929-30 Kangaroo. He had settled in England as a pro golfer but first got Bevan to go to Warrington. Bevan enjoyed a few games in Warrington reserves. And then returned to the club in 1949 after discharge from the RAAF.
Over the next 18 seasons. He scored more tries than any player in the history of league. A phenomenal 834 for the Warrington and Blackpool clubs. For the Other Nationalities representative team. And one in a Sydney charity match for Eastern Suburbs. Harry Bath, who played hundreds of games for Warrington alongside Bevan. Said: ‘No other player ever provided sustained thrills for so many spectators over such a long period. He always gave me the impression he had radar built into the toes of his football boots that steered him around everyone between him and the try line”.
Brian Bevan Warrington Rugby League scores ten tries in one match
The story goes that on the day Bevan’s great rival, fellow Australian, Lionel Cooper. He was also a winger, scored nine tries for Huddersfield against Hull. He stopped the team bus on the way home from the game to buy a paper and see how many tries Bevan had scored that day. Bevan had scored ten. A mark Cooper later achieved against Keighley. Cooper finished his career with 432 tries. He averaged 54 a year. Australians led all-comers in try-scoring in an English league season. Albert Rosenfeld set the record by scoring 80 in 1913-14 for Huddersfield. Bevan scored 72 in 1952-53. And Cooper 71 in 1951-52.
Challenge Cup success at Wembley in 1950
A key part of the Other Nationalities Rugby League team
Bevan was a vital part of the Other Nationalities league team in England. This was the side made up of Australians, Scots, and New Zealanders. The team competed each Winter against English and French league teams. Other Nationalities featured some exceptional players. Bevan and Cooper on the wings. Trevor Allan and Tony Paskins in the centres. Johnny Hunter at fullback. Also, a pack that included Harry Bath, Arthur Clues, Bob McMaster, Ken Kearney, and Rupert Mudge.
Brian Bevan Warrington Rugby League inducted into the Hall of Fame
In 1988 Brian Bevan was inducted into the British Rugby League Hall of Fame. Also, in 2008 he was inducted into the National Rugby League Hall of Fame in Australia. Bevan died in Southport, England in 1991, aged 67. Thousands turned up for his memorial service a month later. It was held on the pitch at Wilderspool the home ground of Warrington at the time.