Dean's tribute to 'a great pal' Stan Kielty

HALF back partner Ken Dean has led the tributes to Halifax's legendary number seven Stan Kielty, who died on New Year's Eve, aged 83.

The Castleford-born player, who had been ill for some time, holds Fax's record for senior appearances, playing a staggering 482 matches between 1946 and 1958, scoring 73 tries and kicking seven goals.

"Stan was a great pal and a great teammate," said Dean, whose name has become inextricably linked with Kielty's over the years.

"He was a marvellous player, but I felt he never really got the credit that he should have done.

"He was a hard little devil who never gave way and to play the number of games he did, at a time when you played the full 80 minutes every week, was a great achievement.

"He made me as a player, we spent all that time together and I always knew what he was going to do next.

"He was always thinking, always one step ahead of the opposition.

"The game has changed completely over the years, but I don't think the club has had a scrum half like him since."

Kielty began his professional career with Wakefield before moving to Fax, where he represented Yorkshire and England as the Thrum Hallers enjoyed the most sustained period of success in their history.

During his tenure, Fax won the Yorkshire Cup twice, the Yorkshire League four times and were Championship runners up three times.

Kielty also played in three Wembley finals, including the famous 1954 meeting with Warrington, which went to a replay at Odsal attended by more than 100,000 people.

He was controversially overlooked for that summer's tour to Australia, despite being widely regarded as the best number seven in the game.

The selectors opted to take Hunslet's Alf Burwell instead, a decision influenced heavily by the presence of Hunslet stand off Dickie Williams as captain and Hector Rawson, another Hunslet representative, as tour manager.

Kielty remained on Halifax's coaching staff after his retirement and spent two seasons as head coach after taking over from Albert Fearnley in 1966.

Later, he coached Bradford Northern before returning to Fax as a club scout.

Kielty, who lived at Highroad Well, leaves a widow, Maisie, two sons, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.