Charlie Pawsey dies

Rugby league in mourning as legend of the game Pawsey passes away

Rugby league was on Wednesday mourning one of the game's great characters after former Great Britain international Charlie Pawsey died at the age of 88 after a long illness.

A fiery second-row forward, Pawsey was regarded as one of the toughest men ever to have played the game he went into by accident, according to his son, also called Charlie.

'No matter what my dad turned his hand to, he seemed to do well,' he said.

'He was a footballer and on Manchester United's books but when his match was called off one day he went to watch two of his work-mates play rugby league and they were short of players.

Legend: Pawsey (left) plays against France

Legend: Pawsey (left) plays against France

'So he turned out for them and never kicked a football again. He really enjoyed it and it suited him.'

Salford-born Pawsey signed for Belle Vue Rangers and went on to make 216 appearances for Leigh, with whom he won the Lancashire Cup in 1952.

He was then transferred to Huddersfield for a 12,000 fee but played only eight times for the Yorkshire club before retiring.

Pawsey represented England eight times in addition to winning seven caps for Great Britain, captaining them in an infamous game against New South Wales in 1954 which was abandoned for brawling.

Charlie Pawsey (right)

'Stories abound about my dad but he always maintained that, if half the things people said he had done were true, he would have been hanged,' his son added.

'He did admit to “roughing up” the Aussies back in 1954 and was asked to apologise, which he did.

'But he always resented the fact that none of the New South Wales team were asked to apologise for their part in the fisticuffs.

'He was a real character, a gentleman off the field, but something happened to him once he pulled a shirt on.'