Garry Schofield

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Garry Schofield
Personal information
Full name Garry E. Schofield
Born (1965-07-01) 1 July 1965 (age 49)
Belle Isle, Leeds, England
Playing information
Position Centre, Stand-off/Five-eighth
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1983–87 Hull 122 107 199 2 824
1985–87 Balmain Tigers 46 28 9 4 84
1987–96 Leeds 251 147 64 30 746
1989 Western Suburbs 9 5 1 1 23
1996–98 Huddersfield 2 0 0 0 0
Total 430 287 273 37 1677
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1984–95 England 3 1 0 0 4
1984–94 Great Britain 46 31 9 7 149
Coaching information
Club
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1998 Huddersfield Giants 13 2 0 11 15
2011 Barrow Raiders 5 2 0 3 40
Total 18 4 0 14 22
Source: RLP England RL Stats GB RL Stats

Garry E. Schofield OBE (born 1 July 1965 in Hunslet, Leeds) is an English retired professional rugby league footballer of the 1980s and 1990s and is a member of the British Rugby League Hall of Fame, which comprises the greatest 21 Rugby League players this country has ever seen, having been inducted in November 2013.

At the time of his retirement he was the most-capped Great Britain player of all time along with Mick Sullivan, with 46 appearances. He also won three England caps. He won the 1990 Rugby League World Golden Boot Award as the greatest player on the planet, largely due to his exceptional performances in Great Britain's backs-against-the-wall Test-series win in New Zealand and his remarkable display as Great Britain beat Australia at Wembley 19–12. The award to Schofield was made retrospectively in 2011 by Rugby League World magazine. Schofield has since coached Barrow Raiders in Rugby League's Championship.

He is also an often-controversial media pundit. He is a regular columnist for the weekly League Express newspaper as well as for the Sunday version of the national newspaper the Daily Star.

Playing career[edit]

Hull[edit]

During his début season Schofield was first selected to represent Great Britain against France in February 1984. He went on to be the 1983–84 Rugby Football League season's top try-scorer. After that he was selected as an 18-year-old to go on the 1984 Great Britain Lions tour of Australia.

Schofield played for Hull in the 1985 Challenge Cup final against Wigan. Also in 1985, he re-wrote the record books by scoring four tries for Great Britain as they beat New Zealand in the second Test series at Central Park, Wigan. The series ended 1–1, with the third game drawn.

Sydney[edit]

Moving to Sydney, Schofield spent the 1985, 1986 and 1987 NSWRL seasons with the Balmain Tigers club and gained the rare distinction for a British footballer of becoming the season's top try-scorer in 1986. A year earlier, the Tigers won the National Panasonic Cup - Schofield's only major winner's medal at club level (not including the Yorkshire Cup which he won at Leeds in 1988).

In his three seasons with Balmain, he scored 28 tries, nine goals and four drop-goals in just 45 appearances.

He didn't play in the 1988 Winfield Cup as he was touring with the Lions, but returned in 1989 to play for lowly Western Suburbs Magpies. Ellery Hanley, Schofield's international teammate, recommended him to the club. Schofield scored five tries in eight starts for the club.

In 2012, Schofield and Hanley were inducted into the Wests Tigers Hall of Fame.

Leeds[edit]

Schofield moved from Hull to his home town club Leeds in 1987 for a world record fee of £155,000.[1] In 1988 Schofield was named the costliest player in world rugby league.[2] He was selected to go on the 1988 Great Britain Lions tour. In 1990, as vice-captain, Schofield was outstanding in Great Britain's series triumph in New Zealand and then in the victory over Australia at Wembley.

In 1991 Schofield won the Man of Steel Award for player of the season.

He experienced possibly his finest hour when captaining the 1992 Great Britain Lions tour of Australia and New Zealand with a magnificent 33–10 win over Australia in the second test at Princes Park in Melbourne, with Schofield a clear choice as man of the match. But the Ashes were once again lost by two games to one. Later that year Schofield retained the captaincy over Ellery Hanley for the World Cup Final against Australia played at Wembley Stadium (Hanley was the 1992 Lions tour captain but only played 15 minutes on tour due to injury). In front of an international rugby league world record crowd of 73,631 Australia prevailed over their British rivals, winning 10-6 thanks to a late Steve Renouf try.

A year later, Schofield captained Great Britain to a superb 3–0 series whitewash over New Zealand before ending his Test career with two appearances in the 1994 Ashes series. He controversially missed out on selection for England's 1995 World Cup squad. But he did enough in the Test arena to win the respect of the usually hard-to-please Australians. When asked in 2010 by Rugby League World who was the best British player he faced, the Australian legend Brett Kenny replied, "Garry Schofield – he was a great player and a real thorn in the side of anyone he came across. He could score tries from nothing when he was a young centre and then he went on to become a very good stand-off and a very good leader."

He made over 250 appearances for Leeds, scoring 147 tries and 746 points.[3]

Huddersfield[edit]

Schofield finally left Leeds in 1996, joining Huddersfield for a six-figure sum. After helping the Giants into Super League, he took over the coaching reins but was dismissed after 13 games, having picked up two wins. He later successfully sued the club for unfair dismissal. Interestingly, it took Huddersfield's next three coaches – Mal Reilly, John Kear and Tony Smith – more than 13 games to register two wins, with the club so far off the pace in their early Super League years. It was only after relegation and promotion under Smith that they became competitive.

After playing[edit]

Schofield briefly assisted the South Africans in 2010 and 2011 after impressing their management with his coaching of the British Amateur Rugby League Association Young Lions (Under 19s) in May & June 2010. He led the Lions to five wins from five and players such as Tom Spencer (Wigan Warriors), Daniel Rooney (Workington Town) and Alex Walmsley (Batley Bulldogs) have since graced the professional ranks. Later in 2010, Schofield was appointed to coach high-flying, big-spending Barrow Raiders in the Championship, although he was fired after only 5 games in 2011 after a personality clash with the club's chairman Des Johnston, who was later that year banned from the sport for eight years by the Rugby Football League.

Tries the limit garry schofield autobiography.jpg

Schofield is also a high-profile media pundit. In March 2001, Schofield's Autobiography, Tries the Limit was published.

Arriva Yorkshire honoured 13 rugby league footballers on Thursday 20 August 2009, at a ceremony at The Jungle, the home of the Castleford Tigers. A fleet of new buses were named after the 'Arriva Yorkshire Rugby League Dream Team'. Members of the public nominated the best ever rugby league footballers to have played in West Yorkshire, supported by local rugby league journalists; James Deighton from BBC Leeds, and Tim Butcher, managing director of League Publications Ltd, who publish League Express and Rugby League World. The 'Arriva Yorkshire Rugby League Dream Team' included Schofield.[4]

In 2011, Schofield was awarded the Rugby League World Golden Boot retrospectively for the 1990 season in which he was adjudged to have been the world's best rugby league player.

In 2013, he was named as the eight best player worldwide to have played rugby league since 1980, in a book entitled 'Rugby League: A Critical History, 1980-2013' which was written by the League Express journalist Richard de la Riviere.

Later that year, he was inducted into the British Rugby League Hall of Fame, one of the highest honours possible for a player.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Four living legends inducted into RL Hall of Fame". Super League. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "Schofield too hot for PNG". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Digital). 1988-05-22. p. 62. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  3. ^ "Garry Schofield". Leeds Rhinos. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "Arriva Yorkshire Rugby League Dream Team". Arriva Yorkshire. 2009-08-20. Retrieved 2009-08-20. 

External links[edit]

Achievements
Preceded by
Lee Crooks
Rugby League Transfer Record
Hull to Leeds

1987-89
Succeeded by
Graham Steadman