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Honor James

Rugby League mourns death of Joe Egan

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he RFL has paid tribute to former Wigan and Great Britain hooker Joe Egan who has died aged 93.

Egan made 362 appearances for Wigan and represented Great Britain 14 times, including on the 1946 Great Britain Lions tour of Australasia.

"On behalf of everyone involved in Rugby League I would like to express my sympathies to the family of Joe Egan," said RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood.

"Joe was a great character who enhanced Rugby League immensely with his efforts as both coach and player at Wigan.

"As the last surviving member of the famous Indomitable tour of 1946, Joe's death closes a significant chapter in the sport's history."

-ends-

John Ledger

Communications Manager

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Leigh Centurions are saddened to hear of the passing of Joe Egan. Not only was he a huge part of Wigan's history, he also forms a big part of Leigh history too.

Egan joined Leigh for a record £5000 fee in October 1950 and succeeded Emlyn Jenkins as team coach. His Leigh debut came on October 21st at Watersheddings Oldham when as one of two try scorers, he helped Leigh to a 12-4 win. He played 20 games in his first season, scoring three tries and presided over 32 games in charge, winning 20 and drawing two. Leigh finished 4th in the league that season and Egan's arrival also co-incided with the club's daring capture of Australian Rugby Union centre and skipper Trevor Allan and he later handed a debut to another rugby union convert in Rex Mossop in addition to a number of other key figures in Leigh's playing history such as Peter Foster, Stan Owen, Bill Robinson, Mick Martyn and Brian Fallon.

His second season with Leigh saw him play in 40 of 47 games for the club, scoring two tries but guiding the team to a Lancashire Cup Final and a Challenge Cup semi-final. Leigh finished 7th and repeated that league placing twelve months later, this time helping the Centurions win the Lancashire Cup in front of a crowd of 34,785 at Swinton. These were certainly boom times for the club and 14th March 1953 brought the biggest recorded crowd at Hilton Park when 31,326 crammed in to see St Helens win 12-3, to make up for their Lancashire Cup defeat.

Sadly for Egan, injury saw him sit out the entire 1953-54 season and his absence hit hard with Leigh finishing well down the table in 13th and interest in cup competitions also finished early. Joe tried to make a playing comeback the following season but had to retire after a further nine games, although once more the club enjoyed runs in the cup competitions, losing to Barrow in the Lancashire Cup semi-final and then getting knocked out of the Challenge Cup by Featherstone.

Egan remained with the club purely as coach and the team was once again a highly competitive unit in his final season, finishing 11th but winning the Lancashire Cup for a second time with a resounding 26-9 success over Widnes.

In total Egan played 104 games, scoring six tries and kicking a goal. His coaching career with the club was far more noteworthy. He was in charge at Leigh from October 1950 to April 1956 and presided over a total of 210 games. This included 134 wins, 9 draws and 67 defeats, a win ratio of 64%. The club also enjoyed three of its most prolific point scoring seasons with Egan at the helm.

All at the club would like to pass on our best thoughts and sincere condolences to his friends and family at this sad time.

Leigh Centurions

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A great player, and at 93 a good score.

The last of the Indomitables - another link with history finally broken.

Condolences to the family.

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Indeed - the book of the Indomitables' tour is an interesting (if short) read, too.

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