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Len Haley

Len Haley began his Rugby League career playing as an amateur in the Dewsbury area just after the end of the Second World War. In 1947 he reached the Dewsbury Reporter cup final whilst captaining the works team of his employers, Wormolds and Walker Ltd.

However, following his call up for National Service towards the end of the 1940s he was introduced to Rugby Union, the only code of the sport to be played in the Armed Forces at that time. Despite his background in Rugby League, and interest from Bradford Northern, Len continued to play Rugby Union after being demobbed in 1950. But, although successful, his time in the sport was brief and after being selected to play for Yorkshire details of Len’s Rugby League background found their way to the Rugby Football Union who suspended him before he could make his representative debut. So Len signed for Bradford Northern instead and went on to spend an eventful, and hugely enjoyable, career at Odsal which lasted for over a decade.

In his early years at Bradford, Len was fortunate to play alongside some of the sports great players such as Ernest Ward, Trevor Foster and Ken Trail, who had all been members of the club’s successful side in the previous decade. He was joined, at the start of the 1950s, by a number of high profile New Zealanders from Rugby Union, including Jack McLean and Joe Phillips who were both successful and highly popular during their spell with the club.

Unfortunately, the successes of the 1940s were not repeated during Len’s time at Bradford. But he still played in number of high profile matches including the 1952 Championship final, which took place at Huddersfield Town’s Leeds Road ground in front of over 48,000 spectators, and a series of groundbreaking floodlit matches that were staged at Odsal in the early 1950s.

Hear Len Haley on:

  • Rugby Union and playing in the armed forces
  • Rugby Union and signing for Bradford
  • Early Years at Bradford