RUGBY league players across Calderdale and Yorkshire have been left reeling by the sudden death of one of the district’s most accomplished sportsmen.
Mick Shaw, who played for Siddal Rugby League and Leeds Rugby League clubs, has died aged 36.
Eddie Golding-Smith, president of Siddal Rugby League Club, said Mick, of Boothtown, was one of the best players they have ever had.
“He was well-liked and he was passionate in training. He would have trained eight days a week,” he said.
Mr Golding-Smith said Mick had been coming to games even after he left the club.
“He will be missed – greatly missed,” he said. Mr Shaw, an Elland junior, signed for Leeds as a schoolboy in 1993 and made his first team debut at hooker the following season in a Regal Trophy second-round tie at Headingley Carnegie against Swinton in the same team as current Leeds assistant coach James Lowes.
The following season he went on to make 20 appearances in the centenary season, 10 of which were in the starting line-up. He missed only six games over the course of the season.
In the first Super League season in 1996, he was established as Leeds’s first-choice hooker and started all but two of his 18 appearances that season.
In total, he made 34 appearances for the Headingley club, scoring 13 tries.
He had one spell with his hometown club, drafted in by player-coach Gary Mercer - a former Leeds team mate - during the 1999 Super League season. He made five appearances, scoring one try.
He also played professionally for Bramley and Rochdale Hornets, before returning to Siddal, where he had a successful spell as first team player-coach.
Eighteen months ago, he was the decisive figure as the club’s second team won the Fee Cup final at Woodhead.
Chief Executive of Leeds Rhinos Gary Hetherington said, “This is tragic news and another sad day for the sport of rugby league. Our thoughts and prayers go to Mick’s family and friends at this time.”
Head of youth development at the club Barrie McDermott, who was a team mate of Mick Shaw, said: “Mick was a really nice lad and one of those players who loved playing the game.
“After his professional career finished, he went back to the amateur game and gave great service to his local club at Siddal.
“He always had a smile on his face and loved playing the game. I have spoken to a number of former team mates and everyone is shocked at the news.”