My Four Club Legends – Roger Pugh

Category: Heritage

My Four Club Legends – Roger Pugh

When I heard the result of the fans’ poll for the four top Rovers legends, I naturally thought about who I would go for. It is all about opinion, there are bound to be great players who are left out – legends are not just about playing ability – and I have restricted myself to those I have actually seen in 52 years following the Robins. So here goes …..

Number one has to be Roger Millward. Without doubt the best player we have ever had. A half-back who had pace, side-step, a varied kicking and passing game, a great rugby brain and was also a top-class defender who time and again proved the old adage, ‘a man can’t run without his legs’. Our top try scorer with 207 in 406 games, and 607 goals too. Too small to have been a success in Super League? No way – his skills would have provided a welcome breath of fresh air!

Second is Mike Smith. A complete all-round centre, a professional craftsman, who was versatile enough to also play at stand off and loose forward. In addition to scoring 140 tries in his club record 489 matches – a record that will never be beaten – he created many more for the wingmen lucky enough to play outside him, with Ged Dunn, Steve Hubbard and Garry Clark the main beneficiaries. Still closely involved with the club as its president.

Third, Paul Fletcher. Only Mike Smith played more games for Rovers and Phil Lowe is the only forward to score more tries. A Rovers man through and through, who always rolled up his sleeves gave everything to the cause. He remained totally loyal during the dark days of the 1990s when he could easily have succumbed to temptation and tried his luck in Super League – he was good enough! And he is still supporting the Robins on the terraces through thick and thin.

Lastly, a personal favourite, Steve Hartley. Primarily a stand-off, but who played 45 games at centre, he was best finisher I have ever seen. A player who could light up a drab game with his eye for a gap, change of pace, sidestep and unerring ability to round any full-back. Only Millward scored more tries for Rovers than his 191 in 369 games. A real shame there is so little footage of him in his pomp – what would I give to see a ‘Hartley special’ today?

Written by Roger Pugh – Hull KR Historian

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