Legendary Rugby League player Geoff Gunney’s outstanding contribution to Hunslet and to the sport as a whole will be celebrated on Sunday (3 April 2022) when the main stand at the South Leeds Stadium will be officially opened in his name prior to the Betfred League 1 fixture with Oldham.
Great Britain international Gunney, who played for no other club during an illustrious career spanning 1951 to 1973, is a member of the Parksiders’ Hall of Fame and is recognised as being one of the finest players, and one of the most loyal, in the south Leeds outfit’s long and proud history.
Gunney, who operated mainly in the second row but who also made significant contributions at loose forward, centre and fullback, was also hailed as being among the most sporting of players, and was sent off only once.
He was instrumental, following the sale of the famous Parkside ground in 1973 by the then-directors (when he was the last man to leave the pitch after the final game, against York) in launching New Hunslet, with whom he brought the curtain down on his long career later in the same year. He totalled 579 appearances for the club, in both its guises, scoring 125 tries and kicking 73 goals.
Geoff Gunney, who was capped eleven times by Great Britain, featured in the classic Championship Final of 1958-59 when 52,560 packed Odsal to witness a 44-22 win by St Helens. He was also in the second row when Hunslet were pipped 20-16 by Wigan in another of Rugby League’s greatest games, the 1964-1965 Challenge Cup Final.
He picked up a Yorkshire Cup winners medal in 1962-63 when the Parksiders, who lifted the Division Two championship that season, beat Division One opposition in every round, including Hull KR in the decider. Hunslet, who had lost the 1956-57 Yorkshire Cup Final to Wakefield Trinity, in front of 30,942 at Headingley, suffered a shock defeat at the hands of recently reformed Bradford Northern in the 1965-66 final.
Gunney, who was awarded an MBE in 1970, passed away in 2018 at the age of 84.
Sunday’s Geoff Gunney Celebration Day is being sponsored by the Hunslet Rugby Foundation.
This post is based on a press release issued by Hunslet RLFC