The long and rich history of Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Football Club

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Jeff Grayshon

When he arrived at Post Office Road, Jeff Grayshon, whose career had begun in 1968, was popularly believed to be ‘past it’ at 39 years old. If there was one coach in the league who would know how to get the best out of him, it was Peter Fox. Grayshon’s career had started as a centre, but he quickly made the move into the pack, and starred for Dewsbury in their Championship winning side of 1973 at second-row. He duly received international recognition, playing for England in the 1975 World Cup. It was, however, as captain and prop forward at Bradford Northern (under Peter Fox) that Jeff really made his name. Bradford won back to back Championships with a team that included Grayshon in the front-row alongside Jimmy Thompson and Keith Bridges. His form was strong enough for him to win Great Britain caps on the tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1979. 
Grayshon then had a spell at Leeds (with Peter Fox again) where he became the oldest ever GB international at 36, winning the last of his 13 caps. When he broke his leg in October 1987, it appeared that retirement beckoned. But by the following September he had made his Featherstone debut. Showing remarkable durability and commitment, Grayshon played 34 of 35 games that year alongside Karl Harrison and Trevor Clark in Rovers’ front-row. His vast experience and ability to inspire others allowed him to slot naturally into the role of pack leader. The following year he played all 36 games with Glenn Bell and Alan Dakin as his regular front-row companions. The following year he managed 30 games from 33 alongside new boy Leo Casey. Three terrific seasons where he had clocked up 100 appearances. His understandable lack of the full 80 minute match fitness was compensated by his general nous about how the game works, offering ball handling options to Deryck Fox’s distribution, regularly off-loading and putting his team-mates into gaps. In April 1990, he enjoyed a historical game when Rovers faced Bradford and Jeff lined up against his own son Paul. 

In the summer of 1991 now aged 41 Grayshon was allowed to leave, a move which apparently annoyed Peter Fox enough for him to quit the club later that year. Grayshon’s remarkable career continued at Batley until 1995 when he was 45 years old. His astonishing total of 776 professional games has been bettered by only three players in the history of rugby league. He became the second former Rovers player after Laurie Gant to be awarded the MBE.

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