Former rugby coach and player passes away

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Former rugby league coach and player, Tommy Smales, has passed away this week after losing a short battle to cancer.

The 83-year-old, who played for and captained Great Britain in the 1960s, only found out that his prostate cancer had spread to his bladder and lungs just three weeks ago.

He was also suffering from dementia.

Tommy passed away at St James’ Hospital in Leeds on Thursday afternoon.

His daughter Lisa said: “He was admitted into hospital with pneumonia, we knew he had prostate cancer but we didn’t think it was life threatening.

“After he had a scan it was found it had spread.

“I’m a daddies’ girl so I’m devastated. I don’t think it’s hit me yet.

“He will really be missed.

“He loved his rugby, church and his children - my and my brother Russ.”

Starting his career in the late 1950s, Tommy played for Castleford, Huddersfield and Wakefield Trinity among other clubs, including North Sydney in Australia.

He was later inducted into the Huddersfield Giants’ Hall of Fame.

He went on to coach Castleford - where he guided the club to Challenge Cup glory at Wembley in 1970 - and had two stints at Featherstone Rovers.

He became landlord of the Travellers’ Rest pub on Pontefract Road, Featherstone, in the early 1970s and only retired in 2004.

Details of his funeral are yet to be confirmed.