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Joe Egan
Posted by Bilko on July 04 2008 - 04:11
Position: Hooker
Wigan Playing Career: 1938-1950
Wigan Debut: 8th October 1938 v Leigh (A) - Won 19-0 (Mather Lane)
Last Wigan Match: 15th April 1950 v Barrow (H) - Won 33-2 (Central Park)
First Wigan Try: 4th November 1939 v Warrington (A) - Won 24-3 (Central Park)
Last Wigan Try: 10th April 1950 v Salford (A) - Won 26-5 (The Willows)

Year by Year Record
Year Appearances Tries Goals Points Honours
1938-1939 7 - - - Lancashire Cup (1)
1939-40 (War) 24 1 - 3 -
1940-41 (War) 20 1 - 3 Lancashire War League (1)
1941-42 (War) 31 1 1 5 -
1942-43 (War) 23 2 2 10 -
1943-44 (War) 35 3 4 17 War League Champions (1)
1944-45 (War) 30 1 - 3 -
1945-1946 33 5 3 21 League Champions (1), Lancashire League (1)
1946-1947 37 1 - 3 League (2), Lancs Cup (2), Lancs League (2)
1947-1948 43 3 - 9 Challenge Cup (1), Lancashire Cup (3)
1948-1949 41 3 - 9 Lancashire Cup (4)
1949-1950 31 3 1 11 League (3), Lancs Cup (5), Lancs League (3)
Totals 362 24 11 94 -

Joe Egan

Joe Egan passed away in November 2012, aged 93. The following is an obituary as posted on the Daily Telegraph Website.....

Joe Egan , who has died aged 93, was the oldest surviving member of the famous “Indomitables” Great Britain Rugby League side that embarked on a triumphant tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1946.
The tour marked the relaunch of international Rugby League after the Second World War and Egan, the Wigan hooker, was a key member of the squad. The tour had been requested by the Australian government to raise morale and a plea was made to British MPs for their support.
The Lions party travelled from Britain on the aircraft carrier Indomitable, which took almost six weeks to make the journey. The ship was instructed to leave the Great Britain party in Perth and then divert to Singapore to collect injured prisoners who had been incarcerated in Changi jail during the Japanese occupation.
The tourists, captained by Gus Risman, were then forced to complete the arduous journey to Sydney by train, which took five days. There was no sleeping accommodation on board and the train stopped for refreshments at army camps en route with players drawing lots for the right to sleep on the wire-netting luggage racks. To keep fit they volunteered to stoke the engine’s boilers.
Despite the travel difficulties Great Britain retained the Ashes to became the only team to remain unbeaten on tour in Australia. They won the first Test 20-7 at Sydney Cricket Ground, the second 14-5 at the Gabba in Brisbane and drew the third 8-8 in Sydney. Alongside his fellow Wigan team-mate Ken Gee and Bradford Northern’s Frank Whitcombe, Egan was part of the squad’s formidable front row.
When the party returned home five months later they had travelled more than 25,000 nautical miles around the world and became known as the “Indomitables”.
Joe Egan was born in Wigan on March 26 1919. A product of Wigan St Patrick’s amateur club, he turned professional as a teenager in 1938.

During the war Egan worked as a brass moulder — a reserved occupation — at the Naylor’s foundry and also served in the Home Guard: “We used to march through Wigan on a Saturday and by this time folks recognised me,” Egan recalled. “ Kids would run alongside asking if Wigan would win in the afternoon and I had to tell them to buzz off.

“I was also a wartime fire watcher at the top of Rushton’s store and one night the chief said I should keep my eye on the Wigan scene in general and not just the Central Park Rugby League ground.”

Egan won 14 Great Britain caps and made 21 appearances for England. He played 362 games for Wigan and was captain in the 1948 Challenge Cup final victory over Bradford Northern.

He was the first captain to receive the trophy at Wembley from a reigning monarch – King George VI.

Egan won two championships with Wigan, in 1946 and 1947. In 1950 he moved to Leigh as player-coach for a then record £5,000, before returning to Wigan and leading them to a championship success in 1960 and cup final appearances in 1958, 1959 and 1961.

Egan was later a Rugby League columnist for the Wigan Evening Post and the Daily Express.

In retirement Egan maintained his fitness as an avid gardener and continued to attend Rugby League matches. He was proud of his ability to touch his toes and lay the palms of his hands on the ground well into his 80s. In later life he liked to joke that he could not remember what happened yesterday but could recall every detail of the 1946 trip to Australia.

Egan’s wife Bessie died in 1979 and he survived by his daughter and by three sons, of whom one, Joe, is a former professional Rugby League player with St Helens and Blackpool Borough.


Joe Egan, born March 26 1919, died November 11 2012


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