Hunslet R.L.F.C.

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Hunslet R.L.F.C.
Hunslet RLFC logo.png
Club information
Full nameHunslet Rugby League Football Club
Current details
CompetitionLeague 1
2018 season7th
Rugby football current event.png Current season
Home colours
Away colours

Hunslet R.L.F.C. is a professional rugby league club in Hunslet, South Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, which plays in Betfred League 1. The club was founded in 1973 as New Hunslet, they became Hunslet in 1979 and the club were the Hunslet Hawks between 1995 and 2016.


1973-1996: New club[edit]

In July 1973, the original Hunslet club was wound up because no suitable new location could be found that was financially viable. The £300,000 proceeds of the sale of Parkside were distributed to shareholders.

Due to the efforts of their former Great Britain forward Geoff Gunney (MBE), local businessmen and supporters the club managed to reform as New Hunslet for the 1973–74 season and moved to the Leeds Greyhound Stadium and erected iron American football posts. The resurrected club had a new badge depicting a rising phoenix to symbolise their rebirth. In 1974, New Hunslet adopted green and white as team colours because the traditional myrtle, white and flame colours were still registered to the former Parkside-based club, and they would not release them. The stay at the greyhound stadium was cut short when the owners closed the ground and arranged to demolish everything on the site.

In 1978, coach Bill Ramsey put a lot of pressure on the RFL and finally got permission to use the traditional colours. The club reverted to Hunslet for the 1979–80 season. With the closure of the Greyhound stadium, the next ground to host Hunslet was Mount Pleasant, Batley, for two seasons, before Hunslet moved to Leeds United's Elland Road football stadium then owned by Leeds City Council. After leaving Elland Road, Hunslet had a brief spell at Bramley.

On 19 November 1995, the club, now known as Hunslet Hawks, moved to the South Leeds Stadium, only about half a mile from Parkside. On that day, Leigh were the guests at Hunslet's first home game for twenty-two years. They then narrowly missed out on promotion from Division Two in 1996.[1] Coach Steve Ferres left to join Huddersfield and David Plange took over as player-coach.

1996-2009: Summer era[edit]

In 1997 the Hawks played in the first (and last) Challenge Cup Plate Final losing 60-14 to Hull Kingston Rovers. It was the Hawks first appearance at Wembley Stadium since 1965. Also in 1997, the Hawks were promoted to the First Division as champions.[1]

In 1999 as a possible merger between Hunslet and Bramley was debated.[2] In 1999 Hunslet won the Northern Ford Premiership Grand Final against Dewsbury, 12–11, at Headingley.[1] After that game the Hawks were denied entry to Super League by the Rugby Football League who cited a document called Framing the Future as justification. This caused a number of players to leave the club and for the average attendance to fall by more than 1,200 to 800. A link-up with Leeds Rhinos saw Plange go to Headingley as Academy coach.

2004 saw the re-establishment the annual friendly against Leeds Rhinos for the Lazenby Cup, a trophy that had previously been contested between Hunslet F.C. and Leeds since 1912.[3]

Paul March was the player/coach at Hunslet, joining midway through the 2009 season following the resignation of Graeme Hallas. March guided Hunslet to a 6th-place finish and a play-off spot in Championship 1. Hunslet travelled to Blackpool in the first week of the play-offs winning, 18–21, to set up an elimination semi-final against Oldham in which Hunslet were comfortably beaten, 54–30.

2010-present: Promotions and silverware[edit]

In 2010 Paul March led Hunslet to their first silverware for over 11 years by securing the Co-operative Championship 1 title, and subsequent survival in 2011.

In 2012, Barry Eaton took over as coach. In 2014 Hunslet won the Grand Final after extra time against Oldham, thus gaining promotion to the Championship. Barry Eaton left in late January 2016 to join Leeds Rhinos and was replaced by his assistant coach and former Hunslet Hawks player Matt Bramald. Bramald left the club at the end of the 2016 season having completed his contract. He was replaced by former Hunslet player James Coyle.

Hunslet Hawks returned to their original name of Hunslet RLFC for the 2017 season following an overwhelming fan vote in favour of their original name. Fans were then asked to choose between the clubs' original 'Rampant Lion' crest and the 'Phoenix Rising' crest adopted by the club in 1973 when the club was reformed. Fans voted 54% to 46% in favour of the lion.[citation needed]

Colours and crest[edit]

Old crest

Hunslet play in mertyle, flame and white, with away colours mainly being white. The club's original crest was a 'Rampant Lion' but as part of a rebrand at the start of the summer era was the introduction of the Hunslet Hawks. In 2017, the club's fans voted to drop Hawks from their name and reinstate the 'Rampant Lion' crest.


1883-1888 Woodhouse Hill[edit]

Hunslet played their first match on 6 October 1883 against Hull 'A'. A stand was built in 1884.

1888-1973: Parkside[edit]

Hunslet purchased at little cost of waste land at Hunslet Carr from the Low Moor Iron and Coal Company and had to shift 2,000 tons of rubbish to create what would become Parkside, which they moved to in 1888. Parkside's stand was burned down by vandals in 1971. Parkside was sold off to an industrial developer for around £300,000 in 1972. The last game at Parkside was on 21 April 1973 against York. Parkside was demolished and Hunslet became tenants at the Elland Road greyhound stadium.

1973-1980: Leeds Greyhound Stadium[edit]

The new Hunslet club's first ground was the Elland Road Greyhound Stadium in Beeston after they were told they could not play at Parkside. American football posts were erected to be used as goal posts.

1980-1982: Mount Pleasant[edit]

In 1982, the greyhound stadium closed and Hunslet were left homeless. For two seasons they ground-shared with Batley while they searched for a permanent home in Leeds.

1983-1995: Elland Road[edit]

In 1983, after leaving Batley, Hunslet negotiated a deal with Leeds City Council to play at Leeds United's Elland Road, which the council owned at the time.

1995-present: South Leeds Stadium[edit]

Grandstand at the South Leeds Stadium

Hunslet moved into the South Leeds Stadium, Beeston, Leeds after it was built in 1995. The stadium is used to host athletics and also has a swimming pool and other facilities the club can use. The stadium has one main stand that accommodates the grounds 5,000 capacity.

Past coaches[edit]

2019 squad[edit]

Hunslet RLFC 2019 Squad
First team squad Coaching staff

Head coach

Assistant coaches

  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice captain(s)

Updated: 22 February 2019
Source(s): 2019 Squad Numbers

2019 transfers[edit]


Player Club Contract length Date
England Richard Moore Featherstone Rovers 2 years September 2018
England Mike Emmett Keighley Cougars N/A November 2018
England Dale Bloomfield North Wales Crusaders N/A October 2018
England Dan Hawksworth York City Knights 1 Year October 2018[4]
England Adam Robinson York City Knights 1 Year October 2018[5]
England Ben Heaton Halifax R.L.F.C. 1 Year October 2018
England Vila Halafihi Bradford Bulls N/A November 2018
England Reece Dean N/A 1 Year November 2018


Player Club Contract length Date
England Daley Williams Swinton Lions 1 Year October 2018[6]
England Jack Coventry Keighley Cougars 1 Year October 2018
England Brad Foster Doncaster R.L.F.C. 1 Year October 2018
England Matt Nicholson Dewsbury Rams 1 Year November 2018[7]

Players earning international caps while at Hunslet[edit]

  • Frank Davies won a cap for Wales while at Hunslet in 1978 against England
  • Robert 'Iain' Higgins won caps for Scotland while at London Broncos, and Hunslet 1997…2001 1-cap + 1-cap (sub)
  • Charlie Wabo won caps for Papua New Guinea while at Hunslet
  • Michael Mark won caps for Papua New Guinea while at Hunslet
  • Neil Lowe won caps for Scotland while at Hunslet
  • Lee Hanlan won caps for Ireland while at Hunslet
  • Arthur Clues won caps for Australia while at Wests, and won caps for Other Nationalities while at Leeds, and Hunslet
  • Charlie Wabo won caps for Papua New Guinea while at Hunslet
  • Neil Lowe won caps for Scotland while at Hunslet
  • Lee Hanlan won caps for Ireland while at Hunslet


Winners (1): 1999
Winners (2): 2010, 2014
Winners: 2017



  1. ^ a b c "History". Hunslet RFLC. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  2. ^ "Sport: Rugby League: News Historic name disappears from league". BBC News. 6 October 1999. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Hunslet v Leeds Rhinos: Traditional derby renamed in honour of stalwart Harry Jepson OBE". Yorkshire Evening Post. 18 November 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Hunslet free nine as prop Hawksworth signs for club". Yorkshire Evening Post. 4 October 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  5. ^ "York City Knights prop Adam Robinson joins arch-rivals Hunslet". York Press. 15 October 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Swinton sign Daley Williams for 2019". Love Rugby League. 23 October 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Nicholson excited by return to Rams". Dewsbury Reporter. 28 November 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2018.

External links[edit]