RL community to say final farewell to former St Helens hooker Tony Karalius

Tony Karalius
Tony Karalius

St Bede's Church in Widnes is expected to be packed to the rafters on Tuesday when family, friends and RL sporting legends say a fond and final farewell to Tony Karalius.


The former Saints' hooker, who died last week at the age of 76, was a key figure in the 1974-75 side which won the League Championship and also helped Saints to capture the 1975-76 Challenge Cup, Premiership and BBC Floodlit Trophy, playing alongside the likes of skipper Kel Coslett, Billy Benyon, Geoff Pimblett and George Nicholls in what was described by the media at the time as 'Dad's Army.

Karalius - a member of a Widnes-mad RL family - was according to club historian Dave Dooley of the Saints' Heritage Society a 'marvellous exponent of releasing the ball in a tackle, utilising his powerful arms and spade-like hands to great effect.'

''His vision and tactical awareness close to the line were instrumental in securing points galore from short-range attacks,'' Dooley observed.

The Widnesian, who started his career at his home town club before moving on to Saints where he made more than 350 appearances between 1967-78, also played at Wigan, Fulham and Cardiff City Blues Dragons. The hooker also earned five Great Britain caps between 1971-72.

The funeral services starts at 1.30pm.