John Wills

OVERALL STATISTICS

BIRTHAGESIGNED ONFROM
10-11-1948
N/A
05-11-1968
Pilkington Recs
DEBUTLAST MATCHLEFT
09-11-1968 v Doncaster
Warrington
1974- Bradford Northern
CAREERAPPEARANCES (SUBS)
1968-1973
134 (21)
TRIESGOALSDGOALSPTS
34
0
0
102

BIOGRAPHY

John Wills was a very versatile back who played for the Saints from November 1968 to May 1974. He played in the centres, on the wing and at full back during this time. A local lad, john possessed a great pair of hands, good passing game and solid defence. In 134 matches for the Saints he scored 34 tries including a hat trick in the away victory over Keighley on the 15th of January, 1972. John was unlucky when it came to finals football. In 1972 he played in the two Challenge Cup semi finals against Warrington but missed out on the Wembley final. In the same year he also played in the Championship semi final but again missed out on the Final. John carried on his career at Bradford Northern after his days at Knowsley Road.

Dave Dooley

John Wills an appreciation by Adrian Lawrenson

In the autumn of 1968, Saints were coming to terms with the loss of two superstar wingers, Tom van Vollenhoven and Len Killeen. The players who had the herculean task of replacing such icons were a young local lad, Les Jones and a convert from Welsh rugby union, Frank Wilson. Both in the long term had stellar careers but it cannot be denied that early on in the first team they had teething problems.

It was felt that a third winger would add to the squad’s options and on 5th November 1968, 19 year old John Wills was signed from Pilkington Recs to provide cover on the flanks. In line with his signing day, John wasn’t to provide any fireworks but he was a solid reliable player who was just what was needed. He made his debut at Doncaster in a 22-8 victory at their iconic Tattersfield ground.

It was also becoming obvious that following Frankie Barrow’s recovery from a broken leg and the passing of years, a long-term solution was also required in the full-back position. As rugby league has evolved, the full-back position has evolved too. From the days of kicking duels between Jimmy Lowe and Jimmy Ledgard [Leigh] when the full-back was called a custodian to the game-changing breaks of Ben Barba and Lachlan Coote, we have progressed immeasurably.

In the 1960s, the full-back was seen as a last line of defence first and any attacking prowess was seen as a bonus, almost the equivalent of a goalkeeper in football. John was pencilled in to play full-back at Headingley on 16th January 1971 and used his reliable qualities to good effect for a spell during the 1970-71 campaign. However, Saints signed Geoff Pimblett, initially as a stand-off, but he went on to cement the full-back position and John was back on the fringes of the first team squad. He was nothing if not adaptable, however and would turn out at centre or wing and in character produced solid performances.

One of his more heroic efforts was on Boxing Day 1974 when a badly depleted Saints’ team went to Central Park. John turned out in the second row and helped the lads to a famous 20-10 win. John’s last game in the red vee was the Club Championship Final against Warrington at Central Park, Wigan, when he played centre in the 12-13 loss to Alex Murphy’s Wires. His final statistics were 134 appearances, with 21 from the bench, together with 34 tries in what was atop class Saints’ team of the time. He moved on to an emerging Bradford Northern in 1974, who recognised his qualities of which deceptive strength and sheer durability were two essential boxes he ticked.

SEASON STATISTICS

Season (Official Matches)TriesGoalsDGoalsMatches
1968~693 0 0 12
1970~71 3 0 0 19
1971~7213 0 0 38
1971-72 1 0 0 1
1972~73 7 0 0 39
1973~74 7 0 0 45
TOTALS:34 0 0 154
Season (Other Matches)TriesGoalsDGoalsMatches
1973~74 0001
TOTALS:0001

ALL MATCHES

DatePosOpponentsCompSeasonVenueFTFTOTGDGNPS**
9th Nov 1968
W
5 Doncaster L 1968~69 A 22 8 VIEW
11th Nov 1968
W
5 Hull Kingston Rovers L 1968~69 H 21 5 1 VIEW
26th Nov 1968
W
5 Hull FT2 1968~69 H 14 10 VIEW
4th Dec 1968
W
2 Blackpool Borough L 1968~69 H 13 10 VIEW
10th Dec 1968
W
5 Warrington FTSF 1968~69 H 29 6 VIEW
17th Dec 1968
L
5 Wigan FTF 1968~69 A 4 7 VIEW
14th Jan 1969
W
2 Wigan L 1968~69 H 13 3 VIEW
18th Jan 1969
W
5 Rochdale Hornets L 1968~69 H 17 7 2 VIEW
25th Jan 1969
W
2 Hull CC1 1968~69 A 13 3 VIEW
25th Feb 1969
W
2 Oldham CC2 1968~69 A 15 6 VIEW
6th Mar 1969
W
2 Huyton L 1968~69 H 37 6 VIEW
11th Mar 1969
W
5 Barrow L 1968~69 H 32 7 VIEW
15th Sep 1970
W
5 Halifax L 1970~71 H 22 7 VIEW
26th Sep 1970
W
5 Hull Kingston Rovers L 1970~71 H 38 3 2 VIEW
6th Nov 1970
W
2 Hull L 1970~71 A 16 2 VIEW
12th Dec 1970
W
14 Castleford L 1970~71 H 9 5 Y VIEW
19th Dec 1970
W
14 Bramley L 1970~71 H 34 0 VIEW
16th Jan 1971
L
1 Leeds L 1970~71 A 5 12 VIEW
23rd Jan 1971
W
1 Workington Town CC1 1970~71 A 8 6 VIEW
30th Jan 1971
W
1 Whitehaven L 1970~71 H 27 5 VIEW
6th Feb 1971
W
1 Salford L 1970~71 H 26 4 VIEW
13th Feb 1971
L
1 Castleford L 1970~71 A 6 12 VIEW
20th Feb 1971
L
1 Leeds CC2 1970~71 A 0 4 VIEW
27th Feb 1971
W
1 Whitehaven L 1970~71 A 15 8 VIEW
6th Mar 1971
W
1 Featherstone Rovers L 1970~71 H 23 16 VIEW
13th Mar 1971
W
1 Hull Kingston Rovers L 1970~71 A 26 9 VIEW
20th Mar 1971
W
1 Swinton L 1970~71 H 40 0 VIEW
22nd Mar 1971
W
1 Leeds L 1970~71 H 30 9 VIEW
2nd Apr 1971
W
5 Widnes L 1970~71 A 8 5 1 VIEW
9th Apr 1971
W
2 Wigan L 1970~71 A 9 6 VIEW
10th Apr 1971
W
2 Batley L 1970~71 A 27 4 VIEW
11th Sep 1971
W
2 Wakefield Trinity L 1971~72 A 23 12 2 VIEW
18th Sep 1971
W
5 Halifax L 1971~72 H 14 10 VIEW
21st Sep 1971
W
5 Swinton FT1 1971~72 A 14 9 VIEW
2nd Oct 1971
W
5 Salford L 1971~72 H 23 12 VIEW
9th Oct 1971
L
5 Bramley L 1971~72 A 10 15 VIEW
18th Oct 1971
W
5 Oldham L 1971~72 H 50 2 VIEW
23rd Oct 1971
L
5 Huddersfield L 1971~72 A 15 17 VIEW
25th Oct 1971
W
4 Batley L 1971~72 H 35 5 VIEW
30th Oct 1971
W
2 Bramley L 1971-72 H 37 4 1 VIEW
6th Nov 1971
W
2 Dewsbury L 1971~72 A 4 2 VIEW
9th Nov 1971
W
2 Leigh FT2 1971~72 A 13 4 VIEW
13th Nov 1971
W
2 Featherstone Rovers JP1 1971~72 H 37 7 VIEW
20th Nov 1971
W
14 Castleford L 1971~72 H 14 2 Y VIEW
27th Nov 1971
W
14 Whitehaven JP2 1971~72 A 12 0 VIEW
4th Dec 1971
W
2 Oldham L 1971~72 A 28 0 1 VIEW
11th Dec 1971
W
14 Hull JP3 1971~72 H 33 5 VIEW
27th Dec 1971
L
2 Wigan L 1971~72 A 3 8 VIEW
1st Jan 1972
W
2 Widnes L 1971~72 H 33 5 1 VIEW
8th Jan 1972
W
2 Wakefield Trinity L 1971~72 H 18 12 VIEW
15th Jan 1972
W
2 Keighley L 1971~72 A 24 4 3 VIEW
22nd Jan 1972
D
2 Leeds L 1971~72 H 15 15 1 VIEW
29th Jan 1972
W
2 Oldham CC1 1971~72 A 8 6 VIEW
12th Feb 1972
W
2 Leigh L 1971~72 H 20 7 VIEW
19th Feb 1972
W
2 Huddersfield CC2 1971~72 H 32 9 VIEW
26th Feb 1972
L
5 Hull Kingston Rovers L 1971~72 A 2 5 VIEW
11th Mar 1972
W
3 Huddersfield L 1971~72 H 27 0 1 VIEW
14th Mar 1972
W
5 Hull Kingston Rovers L 1971~72 H 29 2 VIEW
18th Mar 1972
W
2 Dewsbury L 1971~72 H 16 14 1 VIEW
24th Mar 1972
W
2 Salford L 1971~72 A 7 0 VIEW
27th Mar 1972
W
2 Halifax L 1971~72 A 19 5 2 VIEW
31st Mar 1972
W
2 Wigan L 1971~72 H 21 4 VIEW
3rd Apr 1972
L
2 Widnes L 1971~72 A 9 19 VIEW
6th Apr 1972
W
2 Workington Town L 1971~72 A 19 10 VIEW
8th Apr 1972
W
2 Hull L 1971~72 A 17 7 VIEW
15th Apr 1972
D
2 Warrington CCSF 1971~72 N 10 10 VIEW
19th Apr 1972
W
2 Warrington CCSF(rep) 1971~72 N 10 6 VIEW
22nd Apr 1972
W
2 Hull Kingston Rovers Ch1 1971~72 H 25 5 VIEW
28th Apr 1972
W
2 Rochdale Hornets Ch2 1971~72 H 17 5 1 VIEW
4th May 1972
W
14 Bradford Northern ChSF 1971~72 A 14 10 VIEW
22nd Aug 1972
W
3 Warrington L 1972~73 H 15 11 VIEW
25th Aug 1972
W
14 Huyton L 1972~73 H 41 2 Y VIEW
28th Aug 1972
W
14 Huyton L 1972~73 A 47 6 Y VIEW
3rd Sep 1972
W
14 Warrington LC1 1972~73 A 18 16 VIEW
8th Sep 1972
W
14 Leigh L 1972~73 H 9 2 VIEW
13th Sep 1972
L
2 Widnes LC2 1972~73 A 2 13 VIEW
17th Sep 1972
L
3 Featherstone Rovers L 1972~73 A 14 19 VIEW
23rd Sep 1972
W
4 Halifax JP1 1972~73 A 22 20 1 VIEW
29th Sep 1972
W
14 Swinton L 1972~73 H 33 12 Y VIEW
10th Oct 1972
L
14 Leeds FT1 1972~73 H 6 14 Y VIEW
13th Oct 1972
W
3 Bradford Northern L 1972~73 H 22 8 VIEW
22nd Oct 1972
W
14 Dewsbury L 1972~73 A 17 12 Y VIEW
27th Oct 1972
W
4 Featherstone Rovers L 1972~73 H 33 8 1 VIEW
3rd Nov 1972
W
4 Dewsbury L 1972~73 H 12 7 VIEW
24th Nov 1972
W
14 Featherstone Rovers JP2 1972~73 H 24 8 VIEW
1st Dec 1972
W
3 Oldham L 1972~73 H 24 10 VIEW
9th Dec 1972
W
3 Widnes JP3 1972~73 H 10 3 VIEW
15th Dec 1972
L
3 Workington Town L 1972~73 H 12 14 1 VIEW
24th Dec 1972
W
14 Blackpool Borough L 1972~73 A 33 14 VIEW
26th Dec 1972
D
14 Wigan L 1972~73 H 15 15 VIEW
1st Jan 1973
W
14 Widnes L 1972~73 A 22 10 1 VIEW
13th Jan 1973
L
2 Leeds JPSF 1972~73 A 0 19 VIEW
20th Jan 1973
W
2 Leeds L 1972~73 A 5 2 1 VIEW
26th Jan 1973
W
2 Doncaster CC1 1972~73 H 41 0 VIEW
30th Jan 1973
W
2 Rochdale Hornets L 1972~73 H 22 7 1 VIEW
2nd Feb 1973
W
2 Barrow L 1972~73 H 33 2 VIEW
11th Feb 1973
L
2 Warrington L 1972~73 A 11 13 VIEW
18th Feb 1973
L
14 Wigan CC2 1972~73 A 2 15 Y VIEW
7th Mar 1973
L
3 Swinton L 1972~73 A 7 11 VIEW
11th Mar 1973
L
4 Whitehaven L 1972~73 A 7 9 VIEW
16th Mar 1973
W
1 Salford L 1972~73 H 21 4 VIEW
25th Mar 1973
W
2 Leigh L 1972~73 A 11 7 1 VIEW
27th Mar 1973
W
2 Leeds L 1972~73 H 19 12 VIEW
30th Mar 1973
W
1 Whitehaven L 1972~73 H 15 9 VIEW
6th Apr 1973
W
1 Barrow L 1972~73 A 6 5 VIEW
23rd Apr 1973
W
1 Widnes L 1972~73 H 15 5 VIEW
27th Apr 1973
W
1 Leigh Ch1 1972~73 H 29 14 VIEW
2nd May 1973
W
1 Wakefield Trinity Ch2 1972~73 H 28 0 VIEW
6th May 1973
L
3 Leeds ChSF 1972~73 A 2 7 VIEW
10th Aug 1973
L
1 Salford * Fr Gallie Cup 1973~74 H 15 18 VIEW
17th Aug 1973
W
14 Whitehaven L 1973~74 H 26 19 Y VIEW
20th Aug 1973
W
3 Barrow FTP(1) 1973~74 A 12 6 VIEW
24th Aug 1973
W
14 Leigh L 1973~74 A 23 2 VIEW
27th Aug 1973
W
14 Barrow FTP(2) 1973~74 H 20 8 1 VIEW
2nd Sep 1973
L
4 Workington Town LC1 1973~74 A 5 11 VIEW
7th Sep 1973
W
1 Wakefield Trinity L 1973~74 H 30 9 VIEW
15th Sep 1973
W
14 Featherstone Rovers JP1 1973~74 H 34 16 VIEW
21st Sep 1973
W
14 Whitehaven L 1973~74 A 26 7 VIEW
30th Sep 1973
W
3 Dewsbury L 1973~74 A 21 8 VIEW
5th Oct 1973
W
14 Hull Kingston Rovers L 1973~74 H 39 15 VIEW
13th Oct 1973
L
14 Leeds L 1973~74 A 15 20 1 VIEW
16th Oct 1973
W
14 Whitehaven FT1 1973~74 H 35 5 VIEW
19th Oct 1973
W
14 Warrington L 1973~74 H 24 6 Y VIEW
28th Oct 1973
W
14 Castleford L 1973~74 A 17 7 1 VIEW
6th Nov 1973
W
14 Rochdale Hornets FT2 1973~74 H 15 7 Y VIEW
11th Nov 1973
W
2 Warrington L 1973~74 A 11 5 VIEW
13th Nov 1973
W
2 Australia Tour 1973~74 H 11 7 VIEW
18th Nov 1973
W
1 Dewsbury L 1973~74 H 35 3 VIEW
25th Nov 1973
W
14 Hull Kingston Rovers L 1973~74 A 14 9 VIEW
4th Dec 1973
L
3 Bramley FTSF 1973~74 A 12 13 VIEW
8th Dec 1973
L
14 Oldham L 1973~74 A 11 12 VIEW
16th Dec 1973
W
12 Whitehaven JP2 1973~74 H 28 2 VIEW
22nd Dec 1973
L
14 Featherstone Rovers L 1973~74 A 8 13 VIEW
26th Dec 1973
W
12 Wigan L 1973~74 A 20 10 VIEW
6th Jan 1974
W
12 Wakefield Trinity JP3 (rep) 1973~74 H 16 10 VIEW
12th Jan 1974
L
12 Warrington JPSF 1973~74 A 9 20 VIEW
20th Jan 1974
L
11 Rochdale Hornets L 1973~74 A 7 11 VIEW
27th Jan 1974
W
14 Salford L 1973~74 A 12 11 Y VIEW
3rd Feb 1974
W
14 Keighley CC1 1973~74 H 27 5 Y VIEW
10th Feb 1974
W
14 Featherstone Rovers L 1973~74 H 8 0 Y VIEW
10th Mar 1974
L
14 Leigh CC3 1973~74 A 5 11 Y VIEW
16th Mar 1974
W
3 Bramley L 1973~74 A 20 4 VIEW
19th Mar 1974
D
3 Salford L 1973~74 H 19 19 1 VIEW
24th Mar 1974
W
4 Leigh L 1973~74 H 44 5 VIEW
26th Mar 1974
L
15 Widnes L 1973~74 H 0 5 Y VIEW
31st Mar 1974
W
3 Oldham L 1973~74 H 33 12 VIEW
5th Apr 1974
W
14 Leeds L 1973~74 H 17 5 Y VIEW
10th Apr 1974
W
14 Wakefield Trinity L 1973~74 A 15 2 VIEW
12th Apr 1974
D
14 Wigan L 1973~74 H 9 9 VIEW
15th Apr 1974
L
4 Widnes L 1973~74 A 9 12 VIEW
17th Apr 1974
W
4 Bramley L 1973~74 H 19 13 1 VIEW
20th Apr 1974
W
3 Workington Town MCC1 1973~74 H 24 7 1 VIEW
28th Apr 1974
W
14 Castleford MCC2 1973~74 H 25 9 Y VIEW
3rd May 1974
W
3 Leeds MCCSF 1973~74 A 23 10 1 VIEW
18th May 1974
L
3 Warrington MCCF 1973~74 N 12 13 VIEW
*Unofficial Match. **Non Playing Sub.
WINS : 119 | LOSSES : 31 | DRAWS : 5

GALLERY


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