Tributes to Dewsbury and Batley rugby league legend, Jeff Grayshon

Rugby league is mourning former Dewsbury, Batley and Great Britain forward Jeff Grayshon MBE, who has died, aged 72.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 3:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 3:44 pm
Jeff Grayshon (left) at 36 was the oldest player ever to play for Great Britain, and Shaun Edwards, who was 18 when he became Britain’s youngest ever player, pictured in 1985.

Charity Rugby League Cares said Grayshon - whose clubs also included Leeds Featherstone Rovers and Bradford - had been diagnosed with Covid-19 before his death on Sunday, March 21.

Batley-born Grayshon signed for Dewsbury in 1968 and made his debut against Oldham at Watersheddings on September 26, 1970.

That was the first of 776 professional appearances and his career went on so long, he actually found himself playing against his son during his time at Featherstone.

Originally a centre, he was in the second row when Dewsbury stunned hot favourites Leeds to win the Championship in 1973, having finished eighth on the table.

Grayshon had a spell playing in Australia for Cronulla in 1977 before moving to Bradford, after eight years and more than 200 games for Dewsbury.

Having switched from second row to prop, he captained Northern to back-to-back Division One titles, under coach Peter Fox, and again reached a double century of appearances.

He was signed by Fox at Leeds in 1985, for a £12,000 transfer fee, and made his debut in a 32-18 defeat by Warrington at Wilderspool on November 3.

His 33 games for Leeds included the classic 24-24 draw with Hull KR in a 1986 Challenge Cup semi-final, watched by a 23,866 crowd at Elland Road, and the replay on the same ground, which Leeds lost 17-0 in front of 32,485.

After Fox was sacked, Grayshon returned to Bradford for a season and then signed for Featherstone, again under Fox, where he went on to make more than 100 appearances.

In April, 1990, he packed down for Rovers against his 22-year-old son Paul, who was playing for Bradford.

The two had played together in Northern’s ‘A’ team four years earlier.

In 1991, aged 41, he left Rovers for Batley where he had a spell as player-coach before finally hanging up his boots in 1995, aged 45.

Only Jim Sullivan (928), Gus Risman (873) and Neil Fox (856) have played more professional games.

Grayshon also coached at Mount Pleasant during the first summer season, in 1996.

He was awarded an MBE in June, 1992.