Wednesday 12th June 2013
Story in brief:
Castleford Tigers would like to pass its condolences to the family and friends of former player, John Burke who passed away last weekend.
Burke made a total of 12 appearances for the Club in 1978 scoring two tries with his last appearance being away to St Helens where he was sent off before moving to his hometown team, Wakefield.
He also played for Leeds, Keighley and Wakefield for whom he played for at Wembley versus Widnes in 1979.
The Pontefract and Castleford Express reported that Burke, of Durkar, was only at Wakefield for a year in the late 1970s, but the strong number eight became a fan's favourite and was affectionately called 'Big John'.
The former St Austin's School pupil began his career as a youngster at Normanton and joined Leeds in 1964, age 16.
He moved to Trinity in the 1978 too, but had to miss his first two games after being sent off.
Friend and former teammate Les Sheard said: "John arrived at Belle Vue with something of a reputation. Indeed he had already been sent off on 20 occasions and, in the public eye, vied with Jim Mills of Widnes as the ‘baddest man in Rugby League'.
"Sure enough on his debut at Hull K.R he received his marching orders in the first half. I still remember sitting in the dug-out with my head in my hands and feeling a sense of despondency.
"Dramatically, after serving his suspension John was never again the beneficiary of an early bath."
Mr Burke won Trinity Supporter's Player of the Year for 1978-79 and got a late call up to the Great Britain tour squad before hanging up his boots. The retired plumber died on Sunday and his funeral will be held next Friday. For more tributes see this week's Express.