Derek Turner

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For the Irish journalist, see Derek Turner (journalist).
Derek Turner
Personal information
Nickname Rocky
Born (1932-11-18) 18 November 1932 (age 82)
Playing information
Height 6 ft (183 cm)
Weight 13 st 7 lb (85.7 kg; 189.0 lb)
Position Loose forward/Lock
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1945–50 Ossett RUFC
1950–55 Hull Kingston Rovers 140 27 0 0 81
1955–59 Oldham 134 35 1 0 107
1959–66 Wakefield Trinity 213 45 0 0 135
Total 487 107 1 0 323
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1957 Great Britain & France 1 1 3
19??–?? Yorkshire 10 2 0 0 6
1962 England 1 0 0 0 0
1956–62 Great Britain 24 8 0 0 24
Coaching information
Club
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1966–69 Castleford 51
Leeds
1983–84 Wakefield Trinity
Total 51 0 0 0 0
Source: rugbyleagueproject.org englandrl.co.uk

Derek "Rocky" Turner ( (1932-11-18) 18 November 1932 (age 82)) is an English professional Rugby League World Cup winning footballer of the 1940s, '50s and '60s, and coach of the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, playing at representative level for Great Britain, England, Yorkshire and Great Britain & France, and at club level for Hull Kingston Rovers, Oldham and Wakefield Trinity (captain) (Heritage #654), with whom he won three Challenge Cup finals, as a Second-row, i.e. number 11 or 12, or usually Loose forward/Lock, i.e. number 13.

Club career[edit]

After playing rugby union with Ossett RUFC, Turner began his professional rugby league career at Hull Kingston Rovers. In 1955, Rocky was transferred from Hull Kingston Rovers to Oldham for £2,750 (based on increases in average earnings, this would be approximately £142,000 in 2009).[1]

Rocky played his first match for Oldham against Hunslet on 3 September 1955. Rocky was instrumental in Oldham's success in the Rugby Football League Championship of 1956–57, the Lancashire Cup finals of 1955–56, 1956–57 & 1957–58, and the Lancashire League of 1956–57 & 1957–58. Whilst at Oldham, Rocky won 11 of his 24 Great Britain caps, winning the Ashes in 1956. In March 1959, Rocky was transferred from Oldham to Wakefield Trinity for £8,000 (based on increases in average earnings, this would be approximately £338,000 in 2009).[1]

At Wakefield Trinity, Rocky's leadership qualities instantly recognised, and Rocky captained Wakefield Trinity to victory in three Challenge Cup finals (1960, 1962 and 1963).

Rocky played Loose forward/Lock in Wakefield Trinity's 3-27 defeat to Wigan in the 1959–60 Rugby Football League Championship final at Odsal Stadium, Bradford on Saturday 21 May 1960.[2]

The Challenge Cup Final of 1959–60[3] presented by HM the Queen, the Challenge Cup Final of 1961–62 presented by Field Marshal Montgomery, the Challenge Cup Final of 1962–63 presented by Field Marshal Alexander.

Rocky also captained Wakefield Trinity to victory the Yorkshire Cup finals of 1960–61, 1961–62 & 1964–65, and the Yorkshire League of 1958–59, 1959–60, 1961–62 & 1962–63.

Whilst at Wakefield Trinity, Rocky won the remaining 13 of his 24 Great Britain caps, winning the World Cup in 1960 and the Ashes in 1959 & 1962, he also won his sole England cap.

Representative career[edit]

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Rocky played for Yorkshire against Lancashire in ten Rugby League War of the Roses matches, scoring two tries.

Alongside fellow Oldham player, Centre Alan Davies, Rocky was selected for the Great Britain squad to play in Australia's 1956 Kangaroo Tour of Great Britain, Rocky was rested for the first Test which Great Britain won 21-10 at Central Park, Wigan. Rocky played in the second match which Australia won 9-22 at Odsal, Bradford. Rocky played in the third Test as Great Britain defeated Australia 19-0 at Station Road, Swinton, to take the Ashes series 2-1.

Just prior to the 1957 World Cup, Rocky played in all three of Great Britain's matches against France, alternating between venues in Great Britain and France. Great Britain won two and drew one of the fixtures: 45-12 Headingley, Leeds; 19-19 Stade Municipal, Toulouse; 29-14 Knowsley Road, St Helens.

Alongside fellow Oldham players, Centre Alan Davies and Second-row Sid Little, Rocky was selected for the Great Britain squad to play in the 1957 Rugby League World Cup in Australia. Rocky played in the 23-5 victory over France at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, the 6-31 defeat to Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, and the 29-21 defeat to New Zealand at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney. Australia ran out comfortable World Champions, with victories over New Zealand, Great Britain and France. Despite suffering a heavier defeat to Australia than either New Zealand or France, Great Britain's heavy victory over France in the opening match, France's narrow victory over New Zealand, and Great Britain's narrow defeat to New Zealand in the final match secured Great Britain second place overall. Great Britain had the luxury of playing all their matches at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, whereas New Zealand and France had to play at both the Gabba, Brisbane and Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, which are 575 miles apart.

Rocky played Loose forward/Lock and scored a try in Great Britain & France's 37-31 victory over New Zealand at Carlaw Park, Auckland on 3 July 1957.

Just after to the 1957 World Cup, Rocky played in both of Great Britain's matches against France, alternating between venues in Great Britain and France. Great Britain won both tests; 14-25 at Stade Municipal, Toulouse; 44-15 at Central Park, Wigan.

In 1958, Rocky played for Great Britain in the 23-9 defeat to France at Stade Lesdiguières, Grenoble.

Alongside fellow Oldham players, Centre Alan Davies and Scrum-half/Halfback Frank Pitchford, Rocky was selected for the Great Britain squad to play in 1958 tour of Australia, but had to withdraw because of an injury.

Alongside fellow Wakefield player(s), Rocky was selected for the Great Britain squad to play in Australia's 1959 Kangaroo Tour of Great Britain, Rocky played in first of the three matches. Australia won the first Test 22-14 at Station Road, Swinton. Rocky was rested for the second and third of the three matches, Great Britain won the second 11-10 at Headingley, Leeds. Great Britain won the third 18-12 at Central Park, Wigan to take the Ashes series 2-1.

Just prior to the 1960 World Cup, Rocky played in all three of Great Britain's matches against France, alternating between venues in France and Great Britain. Great Britain won one, drew one and lost one of the fixtures: France won 20-18 at Stade Municipal, Toulouse. On 65 minutes a colossal brawl erupted when Georges Fages kicked Rocky on the chin following Rocky's tackle on Fages. When the dust settled Rocky was ordered off, but five minutes elapsed before he was finally escorted from the field by Bill Fallowfield, secretary of the Rugby Football League. The British players waited for Fages to go, but in vain. There was 17-17 draw at Knowsley Road, St Helens; Great Britain won 21-10 at Stade André Moga, Bordeaux.

Alongside fellow Wakefield Trinity player Prop Jack Wilkinson, Rocky was selected for the Great Britain squad to play in the 1960 Rugby League World Cup in Great Britain. Rocky played in the 23-8 victory over New Zealand at Odsal, Bradford, rested on Saturday 1 October 1960 for the 33-7 victory over France at Station Road, Swinton, Rocky returned for the last match of the series against Australia at Odsal, Bradford. The 1960 Rugby League World Cup was run on a league basis, but with both Great Britain and Australia undefeated, the last match became a virtual World Cup Final. Great Britain become World Champions with the 10-3 victory over Australia at Odsal, Bradford.

In 1961, Rocky played for Great Britain in the 27-8 victory over France at Knowsley Road, St Helens. Unusually, Rocky played as a Second-row, with Vince Karalius playing Loose Forward.

Alongside fellow Wakefield player(s), Rocky was selected for the Great Britain squad to play in New Zealand's 1961 Tour of Great Britain, Rocky played in the first of the three matches, the 11-29 defeat to New Zealand at Headingley, Leeds.

In 1962 Rocky played his sole England international against France, an 18-6 victory at Headingley, Leeds. This was also England's sole international between 10 May 1956 and 7 November 1968. Great Britain being the primary incarnation of international representation during this period, a period that matched Rocky's prominence.

Alongside fellow Wakefield Trinity players, Neil Fox, Harold Poynton, Gerry Round and Jack Wilkinson, Rocky was selected for the Great Britain squad to play in 1962 tour of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. This Great Britain team would be the nearest to achieving a 3-0 Ashes whitewash of the Kangaroos on Australian turf to date.

In Australia, Rocky scored a try in the 31-12 victory in the first Test at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, rested for the 17-10 victory in the second Test in the Gabba, Brisbane (Attendance 34,786), Rocky returned for the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney. In the third Test of the 1962 Ashes series, Australia's Dud Beattie suffered a broken collarbone, and knowing he would have to leave the field anyway (Substitutions not being permitted until 1964), Beattie ignited a fight with Rocky, it resulted in the referee sending both players from the field. As Beattie was being half-carried from the arena by an ambulance man, Rocky prodded and remonstrated with Beattie for his actions. A controversial last-minute Ken Irvine try against the weakened defence, Mick Sullivan having already been sent off, and the subsequent touchline goal resulted in a 17-18 defeat, although a whitewash was denied, Great Britain won the Ashes series 2-1.

After the Australia Ashes Tests, With Eric Ashton (Captain), Alex Murphy and Don Fox injured, Rocky took over the captaincy for the two tests in New Zealand. However, these and other injuries depleted the squad to such an extent that both tests in Carlaw Park, Auckland were lost 0-19 and 8-27.

After the New Zealand Tests, only fourteen players from the original squad of twenty-five were uninjured, thirteen of whom went on to play three exhibition matches in South Africa. Despite being top try scorer, with 22 tries in the tests, Billy Boston could not be considered for selection purely due to the colour of his skin, as this was apartheid-era South Africa. Consequently, coach Colin Hutton became a stand-in reserve. The squad for the South African exhibition matches was; Eric Fraser (Warrington); Ike Southward (Workington Town), Peter Small (Castleford), Neil Fox (Wakefield Trinity), Mick Sullivan (St Helens); Dave Bolton (Wigan), Harold Poynton (Wakefield Trinity); Jack Wilkinson (Wakefield Trinity), John Shaw (Halifax), Ken Noble (Huddersfield), Laurie Gilfedder (Warrington), Dick Huddart (St Helens), Derek Turner (Wakefield Trinity); Reserve: Colin Hutton (Hull Kingston Rovers).

In 1962, Rocky played his final match for Great Britain in the 17-12 defeat to France at Stade Gilbert Brutus, Perpignan.

Coaching career[edit]

Rocky was head coach for Castleford at Wheldon Road from ? until ?, and is regarded as the best Castleford coach of all time.[4]

Rocky was Head Coach for Wakefield Trinity at Belle Vue from July 1983 until February 1984.

Film career[edit]

Rocky appeared in the 1963 film This Sporting Life. The film's director, Lindsay Anderson, instructed Rocky to make a scene where the main character Frank Machin loses seven teeth, following a scrum, look realistic. Richard Harris who was playing Frank Machin was knocked out and filming for the day was abandoned.

Peer accolades[edit]

In 2003, BBC Rugby League commentator Ray French was asked to name the six 'hardest' men ever to play Rugby League, he named Rocky along with; Vince Karalius, Barrie McDermott, Ray Price, Gorden Tallis & Cliff Watson.[5]

According to Lion Phil Jackson "Vince Karalius was much lauded here as one of the best loose forwards to go (to Australia) and I reckon Derek Turner was [sic] a better player".[6]

Personal life[edit]

For a number of years, Rocky and his son Darren have run a removals business, Derek Turner Ltd, based in Ossett near Wakefield.

Representative career whilst at Oldham[edit]

Test No. Date Location Attendance Tournament Home Away Notes
97 1 December 1956 Odsal, Bradford 23,334 Ashes United Kingdom Great Britain 9 (7) Australia Australia 22 (7)
98 15 December 1956 Station Road, Swinton 13,515 Ashes United Kingdom Great Britain 19 (8) Australia Australia 0 (0) Rocky Scored 1-Try In This Game
99 26 January 1957 Headingley, Leeds Test United Kingdom Great Britain 45 (10) France France 12 (2) Rocky Scored 2-Tries In This Game
100 3 March 1957 Stade Municipal, Toulouse Test France France 19 (12) United Kingdom Great Britain 19 (2)
101 1957 Knowsley Road, St. Helens Test United Kingdom Great Britain 29 France France 14
102 15 June 1957 Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney World Cup France France 5 United Kingdom Great Britain 23
103 17 June 1957 Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney World Cup Australia Australia 31 (10) United Kingdom Great Britain 6 (6)
104 25 June 1957 Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney World Cup United Kingdom Great Britain 21 (13) New Zealand New Zealand 29 (15)
105 3 November 1957 Stade Municipal, Toulouse 15,762 Test France France 14 (3) United Kingdom Great Britain 25 (8) Rocky Scored 1-Try In This Game
106 23 November 1957 Central Park, Wigan 19,152 Test United Kingdom Great Britain 44 (21) France France 15 (<15) Rocky Scored 1-Try In This Game
107 2 March 1958 Stade Lesdiguières, Grenoble 20,000 Test France France 9 (7) United Kingdom Great Britain 23 (10) Rocky Scored 1-Try In this Game

Representative career whilst at Wakefield Trinity[edit]

Test No. Date Location Attendance Tournament Home Away Notes
115 17 October 1959 Station Road, Swinton 35,224 Ashes United Kingdom Great Britain 14 (4) Australia Australia 22 (12) Rocky scored 1 try in this game
118 6 March 1960 Stade Municipal, Toulouse Test France France 20 (12) United Kingdom Great Britain 18 (11) Rocky was sent off in this game
119 26 March 1960 Knowsley Road, St. Helens Test United Kingdom Great Britain 17 (7) France France 17 (7)
120 24 September 1960 Odsal, Bradford World Cup United Kingdom Great Britain 23 New Zealand New Zealand 8
122 8 October 1960 Odsal, Bradford World Cup United Kingdom Great Britain 10 (10) Australia Australia 3 (0)
123 11 December 1960 Stade André Moga, Bordeaux Test France France 10 (7) United Kingdom Great Britain 21 (5)
124 25 January 1961 Knowsley Road, St Helens Test United Kingdom Great Britain 27 (20) France France 8 (8)
125 30 August 1961 Headingley, Leeds Test United Kingdom Great Britain 11 (8) New Zealand New Zealand 29 (14)
130 9 June 1962 Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney 70,174 Ashes Australia Australia 12 (7) United Kingdom Great Britain 31 (9) Rocky scored 1 try in this game
132 14 July 1962 Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney 42,104 Ashes Australia Australia 18 (11) United Kingdom Great Britain 17 (12) Rocky was sent off in this game
133 29 July 1962 Carlaw Park, Auckland 14,976 Test New Zealand New Zealand 19 (8) United Kingdom Great Britain 0 (0)
134 11 August 1962 Carlaw Park, Auckland 16,411 Test New Zealand New Zealand 27 (8) United Kingdom Great Britain 8 (0)
135 2 December 1962 Stade Gilbert Brutus, Perpignan Test France France 17 (7) United Kingdom Great Britain 12 (2)

Derek "Rocky" Turner, came to Oldham from Hull K.R., playing his first match against Hunslet on 3 September 1955. A loose forward of immense power and fearless determination, Derek was seen by many as the last piece required to complete the puzzle that became the great team of the 1950s. A born leader, with never a backward step, Rocky demonstrated a terrific work rate on both attack and defence, giving everything in the eighty minutes while inspiring others to do the same and was always a thorn in the side of the opposition. Although it is interesting to note that Rocky was never captain while at Watersheddings.

An integral part of the mid to late 1950s success of Oldham, his big regret was that the club never reached Wembley. Still history remembers Derek as one of the great Wembley captains after Rocky led Wakefield Trinity to success at the famous London stadium in 1960 (v Hull), 1962 (v Huddersfield) and 1963 (v Wigan).

References[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Bamford, Maurice (8 July 2005). Play to Win: Rugby League Heroes. London League Publications Ltd. ISBN 1-903659-21-3. 
  • Gate, Robert (10 May 2008). Rugby League Lions: 100 Years of Test Matches. Vertical Editions. ISBN 1-904091-25-3. 

Internet[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Measuring Worth - Relative Value of UK Pounds". Measuring Worth. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "1959–1960 Championship Final". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Rugby League - The Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium". Wembley Stadium. 31 December 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 
  4. ^ "The Tigers Dream Team". Castleford Tigers. 31 December 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-08-01. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 
  5. ^ "French Lessons - Hardest players". BBC. 23 April 2003. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  6. ^ "Phil Jackson Interview". rl1908. 31 December 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 

External links[edit]