|Born||18 November 1932|
|Died||31 July 2015 (aged 82)|
|Height||6 ft (183 cm)|
|Weight||13 st 7 lb (86 kg)|
|Source: rugbyleagueproject.org englandrl.co.uk|
Derek "Rocky" Turner (18 November 1932 – 31 July 2015) was an English professional Rugby League World Cup winning footballer of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, and coach of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, 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.
Turner played his early rugby league at Cathedral Boys School, Wakefield, then Alverthorpe Youth Club, Balne Lane ARLFC, Ossett ARLFC, and Shaw Cross ARLFC, he began his professional rugby league career at Hull Kingston Rovers. In 1955, Turner 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).
Turner made his début for Oldham against Hunslet on 3 September 1955. He was a member of the Oldham team that found success in the Championship of 1956–57, the Lancashire County Cup Finals of 1956–57, 1957–58 & 1958–59, and the Lancashire County League of 1956–57 & 1957–58. Whilst at Oldham, Turner won 11 of his 24 Great Britain caps, winning the Ashes in 1956. In March 1959, Turner was transferred from Oldham to Wakefield Trinity for £8,000 (based on increases in average earnings, this would be approximately £338,000 in 2009).
At Wakefield Trinity Turner captained Wakefield Trinity in three Challenge Cup victories (1960, 1962 and 1963), played Loose forward/Lock in the 38–5 victory over Hull F.C. in the 1960 Challenge Cup Final during the 1959–60 season at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday 14 May 1960, in front of a crowd of 79,773 presented by HM the Queen, played Loose forward/Lock in the 12–6 victory over Huddersfield in the 1962 Challenge Cup Final during the 1961–62 season at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday 12 May 1962, in front of a crowd of 81,263, presented by Field Marshal Montgomery, and played Right-Second-row, i.e. number 12, in the 25–10 victory over Wigan in the 1963 Challenge Cup Final during the 1962–63 season at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday 11 May 1963, in front of a crowd of 84,492, presented by Field Marshal Alexander.
Turner played Loose forward/Lock in Wakefield Trinity's 16-10 victory over Huddersfield in the 1960 Yorkshire County Cup Final during the 1960–61 season at Headingley Rugby Stadium, Leeds on Saturday 29 October 1960, and played Loose forward/Lock in the 19-9 victory over Leeds in the 1961 Yorkshire County Cup Final during the 1961–62 season at Odsal, Bradford on Saturday 11 November 1961. Turner also captained Wakefield Trinity to victory in the Yorkshire County League during the 1958–59 season, 1959–60 season, 1961–62 season, and 1962–63 season.
Whilst at Wakefield Trinity, Turner 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.
Turner retired in 1964 but returned to play a further 24 matches for Trinity in the 1965–66 season before an injury in the first match of the 1966–67 season brought his playing career to an end.
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Alongside fellow Oldham player, Centre Alan Davies, Turner was selected for the Great Britain squad to play in Australia's 1956 Kangaroo Tour of Great Britain, Turner was rested for the first Test which Great Britain won 21-10 at Central Park, Wigan. Turner played in the second match which Australia won 9-22 at Odsal, Bradford. Turner 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, Turner 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 Rugby Stadium, Leeds; 19-19 Stade Municipal, Toulouse; 29-14 Knowsley Road, St. Helens.
Alongside fellow Oldham players, Centre Alan Davies and Second-row Sid Little, Turner was selected for the Great Britain squad to play in the 1957 Rugby League World Cup in Australia. Turner 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 last 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.
Just after to the 1957 World Cup, Turner 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.
Alongside fellow Oldham players, Centre Alan Davies and Scrum-half/Halfback Frank Pitchford, Turner was selected for the Great Britain squad to play in 1958 tour of Australia, but had to withdraw because of an injury.
Turner was selected for the Great Britain squad to play in Australia's 1959 Kangaroo Tour of Great Britain, Turner played in first of the three matches. Australia won the first Test 22-14 at Station Road, Swinton. Turner 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, Turner 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 Turner on the chin following Turner's tackle on Fages. When the dust settled Turner 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, Turner was selected for the Great Britain squad to play in the 1960 Rugby League World Cup in Great Britain. Turner 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, Turner 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.
Turner was selected for the Great Britain squad to play in New Zealand's 1961 Tour of Great Britain, Turner played in the first of the three matches, the 11-29 defeat to New Zealand at Headingley, Leeds.
In 1962 Turner 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 Turner's prominence.
Alongside fellow Wakefield Trinity players, Neil Fox, Harold Poynton, Gerry Round and Jack Wilkinson, Turner 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, Turner 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), Turner 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 Turner, it resulted in the referee sending both players from the field. As Beattie was being half-carried from the arena by an ambulance man, Turner 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, Turner 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, Turner played his last match for Great Britain in the 17-12 defeat to France at Stade Gilbert Brutus, Perpignan.
Representative career whilst at Oldham
|97||1 December 1956||Odsal, Bradford||23,334||Ashes||Great Britain||9 (7)||Australia||22 (7)|
|98||15 December 1956||Station Road, Swinton||13,515||Ashes||Great Britain||19 (8)||Australia||0 (0)||Turner Scored 1-Try In This Game|
|99||26 January 1957||Headingley Rugby Stadium, Leeds||Test||Great Britain||45 (10)||France||12 (2)||Turner Scored 2-Tries In This Game|
|100||3 March 1957||Stade Municipal, Toulouse||Test||France||19 (12)||Great Britain||19 (2)|
|101||1957||Knowsley Road, St. Helens||Test||Great Britain||29||France||14|
|102||15 June 1957||Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney||World Cup||France||5||Great Britain||23|
|103||17 June 1957||Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney||World Cup||Australia||31 (10)||Great Britain||6 (6)|
|104||25 June 1957||Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney||World Cup||Great Britain||21 (13)||New Zealand||29 (15)|
|105||3 November 1957||Stade Municipal, Toulouse||15,762||Test||France||14 (3)||Great Britain||25 (8)||Turner Scored 1-Try In This Game|
|106||23 November 1957||Central Park, Wigan||19,152||Test||Great Britain||44 (21)||France||15 (<15)||Turner Scored 1-Try In This Game|
|107||2 March 1958||Stade Lesdiguières, Grenoble||20,000||Test||France||9 (7)||Great Britain||23 (10)||Turner Scored 1-Try In this Game|
Representative career whilst at Wakefield Trinity
|115||17 October 1959||Station Road, Swinton||35,224||Ashes||Great Britain||14 (4)||Australia||22 (12)||Turner scored 1 try in this game|
|118||6 March 1960||Stade Municipal, Toulouse||Test||France||20 (12)||Great Britain||18 (11)||Turner was sent off in this game|
|119||26 March 1960||Knowsley Road, St. Helens||Test||Great Britain||17 (7)||France||17 (7)|
|120||24 September 1960||Odsal, Bradford||World Cup||Great Britain||23||New Zealand||8|
|122||8 October 1960||Odsal, Bradford||World Cup||Great Britain||10 (10)||Australia||3 (0)|
|123||11 December 1960||Stade André Moga, Bordeaux||Test||France||10 (7)||Great Britain||21 (5)|
|124||25 January 1961||Knowsley Road, St Helens||Test||Great Britain||27 (20)||France||8 (8)|
|125||30 August 1961||Headingley, Leeds||Test||Great Britain||11 (8)||New Zealand||29 (14)|
|130||9 June 1962||Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney||70,174||Ashes||Australia||12 (7)||Great Britain||31 (9)||Turner scored 1 try in this game|
|132||14 July 1962||Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney||42,104||Ashes||Australia||18 (11)||Great Britain||17 (12)||Turner was sent off in this game|
|133||29 July 1962||Carlaw Park, Auckland||14,976||Test||New Zealand||19 (8)||Great Britain||0 (0)|
|134||11 August 1962||Carlaw Park, Auckland||16,411||Test||New Zealand||27 (8)||Great Britain||8 (0)|
|135||2 December 1962||Stade Gilbert Brutus, Perpignan||Test||France||17 (7)||Great Britain||12 (2)|
After retiring from the field Turner was head coach for Castleford at Wheldon Road from 1966 until 1969, and is regarded as the best Castleford coach of all time. During his period as coach Castleford won the Challenge Cup in 1969 as well as reaching the Yorkshire Cup Final and Premiership Final.
Derek Turner was the coach in Leeds' 7-21 defeat by Leigh in the 1971 Challenge Cup Final during the 1970–71 season at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday 15 May 1971, in front of a crowd of 85,514, and was the coach in he 13-16 defeat by St. Helens in the 1972 Challenge Cup Final during the 1971-72 season at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday 13 May 1972, in front of a crowd of 89,495
Turner appeared in the 1963 film This Sporting Life. The film's director, Lindsay Anderson, instructed Turner 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.
In 2003, BBC Rugby League commentator Ray French was asked to name the six 'hardest' men ever to play Rugby League, he named Turner along with; Vince Karalius, Barrie McDermott, Ray Price, Gorden Tallis & Cliff Watson.
- 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.
- "Wakefield Trinity legend Turner dies". Yorkshire Evening Post. 2 August 2015. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
- "Derek Turner Obituary". Yorkshire Evening Post. 3 August 2015. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- "Measuring Worth - Relative Value of UK Pounds". Measuring Worth. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
- "Rugby League - The Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium". Wembley Stadium. 31 December 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2009.
- Marsden, Lorraine (10 August 2015). "Death of a Rugby League winner". Rugby Leaguer & League Express (2979). p. 36.
- "The Tigers Dream Team". Castleford Tigers. 31 December 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-08-01. Retrieved 1 January 2009.
- "French Lessons - Hardest players". BBC. 23 April 2003. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
- "Phil Jackson Interview". rl1908. 31 December 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2009.
- Statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org
- England Statistics at englandrl.co.uk
- Great Britain Statistics at englandrl.co.uk
- A .ram Audio file of Derek Turner Receiving Challenge Cup from Harold Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis
- French lessons
- The Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust > Hall of Fame
- Shaw Cross Sharks > Hall of Fame
- Vote for rugby league's greatest ever British XIII
- on YouTube
- Coach Profile at thecastlefordtigers.co.uk at the Wayback Machine (archived 13 August 2011)