Rugby League: International dies of heart attack aged 33

ROY POWELL, one of rugby league's most respected players, has died suddenly at the age of 33.

Powell, capped 19 times by Great Britain between 1985 and 1991, suffered what is thought to have been a heart attack on his way to training at Rochdale Hornets yesterday and was pronounced dead on arriving at hospital.

A hard-working second-row and latterly prop forward, Powell made his name with Leeds, later moving to Bradford, Featherstone and Batley. This winter he joined Hornets, who have now lost two players in swift succession, following the death two months ago of Karl Marriott, also from a heart attack, at the age of 28.

Powell, who was given the nickname Bruno because of his likeness to the boxer, was one of the fittest players of his generation as well as one of the best-liked. Hugely popular at Leeds, he was taken by one of his coaches there, Peter Fox, to Bradford, where he held together an ageing pack until he became one of the casualties of a mass clear-out under the new coach Brian Smith in 1995.

That was the end of his career in the top division, but he lost none of his enthusiasm for the game. At Batley, he had helped his old friend, Deryck Fox, with the coaching and was to do the same at Rochdale.

"He would have made a good coach, because he never lost his temper," said his mentor, Peter Fox, yesterday. "I used to play hell with him, telling him that if he'd had a fraction of my aggression he'd have been a world-beater - but it just wasn't in him.

"He was a smashing lad who would do anything for anybody. On the field he would forage forever. Whenever you needed him, he was there. He was a fantastic worker, but he could also release the ball - something he developed later in his career."

Although he was in the wrong places at the wrong times to win honours at club level - the Trans-Pennine Cup with Batley last season was an exception - he had some memorable days in Test match rugby, none better than the one in Australia in 1988. The Great Britain touring party, 2-0 down in the series and badly hit by injuries, was being pilloried by a hostile Australian press.

Powell was part of the Great Britain pack that broke a 10-year drought by beating Australia 26-12 in Sydney, a win that ranks alongside the Rorke's Drift Test in 1914 and the 1958 Battle of Brisbane as British rugby league highpoints of tours Down Under.

Great Britain teams looked incomplete without him for more than half a decade, with his wholehearted approach to training and touring almost as big an asset as his appetite for work on the field. His approachability also made him one of the most popular senior players with younger hopefuls coming into the squad, whom he was always eager to help develop their own abilities.

Powell kept his feet on the ground by continuing in his trade as a plasterer in his native Dewsbury for most of his professional playing career. He leaves a widow, Helen, and two children, four-year-old Lewis and Melissa, seven months old.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links