Former St Helens winger Sean Day loses cancer battle aged 56

Sean Day in his playing days
Sean Day in his playing days

Hearing the sad news of Sean Day's death at the age of only 56 from cancer, my mind immediately flashed back to happier times at Knowsley Road, particular the 1984-85 season.

No one needs to tell Saints' fans of a certain age what that period in the history means to the club - and Day was part and parcel of it all.

Operating as editor of the old Rugby Leaguer and sports editor of the St Helens Reporter at the time, I was privileged to watch a devastating winger-centre combination - Day and the legendary Mal Meninga - on almost a weekly basis.

When head coach Billy Benyon snapped up wingman Day, then in his early twenties from Cultheth ARLFC, it raised quite a few eyebrows but turned out to be a shrewd signing by the former St Helens centre.

Day slotted in to the team like a jigsaw piece and his partnership with Meninga - arguably the greatest RL player of his generation - was the talk of Rugby League.

It's only a pity it didn't function for more than one memorable season as Mighty Mal had only signed a short-term contract and Day was no longer as potential a force without his Aussie team-mate and later moved on to Runcorn.

But by then both had made contributions to bring much needed silverware to the club - Wigan were beaten 26-18 in the 1984 Lancashire Cup Final at Central Park, in which Meninga scored two tries and Day five goals and then in the end of season Premiership Final at Elland Road, Leeds in May 1985, a further double by the Aussie centre and four Day goals helped sink Hull KR 36-16.

Neither can Day's contribution to the rebuilding of a club which had been in the doldrum for a few years be ignored - the St Helens Heritage Society, quite rightly, pointing out: 'Sean played a vital part in his team’s success, with a magnificent total of 157 goals from all matches.

"Not only did he top the kicking charts, but also the points-scoring charts, with 362, which also included 12 tries. Diminutive in stature, with his socks rolled down to his ankles, he had a metronomic kicking action, akin to Wigan's Frano Botica of later years.''