Can it be over 30 years since one of Hunslet’s finest Australian servants steered the side to the top flight of English Rugby League?
The answer is `yes’ – but memories still remain fresh of how Terry Webb captained an exciting and, under coaches Peter Jarvis and David Ward, well-drilled team to the Division Two title in 1986-87; and of how a number of narrow defeats, and injuries to his fellow Aussies Mark Hohn and Trevor Benson, contributed to Hunslet being relegated the following season.
Terry has never forgotten his two enjoyable years at Hunslet – and he was delighted to accept South of the River’s invitation to reflect on those happy days and the rest of his impressive career. Over to Webbo…..
“My family has been involved with Redcliffe RL since its inception in 1947, and I started in the Under 6s team. I was also a mascot/ball boy, worked the score board and would help clear the ground on a Monday.
“I played junior representative footy most years and transitioned to the senior ranks when I was 16 in 1977, making my first grade debut in 1979 and also making the Brisbane rep team that same year.”
“I was very excited when I was offered a one-year contract with Leeds – and then, after about two months, I was offered a three-year extension which I happily agreed to as I was enjoying the footy there, and also the lifestyle.
“The players there made me feel very welcome and wanted and I have forged lifelong friendships with quite a few of them. We were always, in my time there, very competitive and near the top of the ladder and won the John Player Trophy in my first season at Headingley.
“Unfortunately we were beaten twice in Challenge Cup semi-finals, which was so disappointing. But that’s footy I guess.”
“My good mate David Ward had just retired at Leeds and was appointed coach at Hunslet, with Peter Jarvis. I had actually decided that I was heading home to Australia, and had made arrangements to do so, when Wardy contacted me and wanted me to consider a year at Hunslet, and offering the captaincy as well.
“I gave it a lot of thought and decided to have one more year in the UK. The only reason I was there
“Wow, what a year! I think Hunslet had finished about 16th on the ladder the year before, and we went on to win the championship. We had a great party. My worst memory is breaking down in the last ten minutes of the Premiership semi-final and missing the final at Old Trafford. I tried everything to get right for that game, even having painkilling injections on the morning of the game, but I just couldn’t run and had to pull out. I was devastated. I believe I could have made a difference to the result (a 27-10 defeat by Swinton).
“The people and players at Hunslet made me feel as welcome as they did at Leeds, and they showed that when about 20 of the boys from both clubs came and had an afternoon on the grog with me when I was last there in October 2019. I had a wonderful time and as we drank more and more we all became better players.
“It was a pretty special afternoon for me and I have to say a big thank you to my big prop mate Crusher Mason for organising the day (and night as it turned into).”
BACK IN OZ
“I’ve always been heavily involved in footy and coached for a bit, both seniors and juniors, on my return to Australia after retiring from playing. I have been on the board of Redcliffe Rugby League since 1994 and the Board of the Redcliffe Leagues club which is our Licenced club since 2006. Our football club has been the most successful club since the introduction of the Queensland State League, winning three times more premierships than any other club and, over time, amassed assets of about 100 million dollars and are now one of the front runners for the next NRL licence.”
A MESSAGE OF THANKS
“I would love to thank all the people involved with Hunslet, and all the supporters, for the hospitality and kindness I was afforded. The five years I was in the city of Leeds I still rate as the best five years of my life and I can’t thank all you Pommies enough for making it happen.
“Any time you guys come to Australia please give me a call as I would love to repay your kindness. I would also like to say keep safe and strong through this Covid disaster. I can’t believe what you guys are going through as we have been pretty lucky how it’s been handled in Australia.”