posted on 23 June 2015

Arthur Kenealy Crosland, known to all as ‘Nealy’ is the oldest ever player to represent Wakefield Trinity and also holds the record for the longest Trinity career spanning twenty two years.

He was a tough, robust forward in the early 1900s, gaining county honours and a Challenge Cup winners medal.

‘Nealy’ was a Westgate born local who joined his brother, Charles, at Trinity in 1900, making his debut in September 1900 in a 15-0 victory at Liversedge, the first of 533 first team appearances. His durability saw him break the Trinity appearance record in 1913, passing Jimmy Metcalfe’s 375 games, became the first player to play 400 first team games in 1914 and passed the 500 mark in 1920. He remains one of only three players in the club’s history to play over 500 games, with Harry Wilkinson and Neil Fox. He also missed three full season’s due to the First World War, playing with Dewsbury as Trinity closed down for three years.

He was a county forward, gaining six Yorkshire trial games between 1905 and 1910, a big honour in the early 1900s, making his full debut in 1905 against Lancashire at Hull. His seven county caps spanned fourteen years with his last appearance coming in 1919 against Cumberland at Hunslet. He was selected for England in 1909 but the week before he suffered a serious injury at Hull KR causing him to miss the next four months. He returned for the 1910 tour trial, another big honour in the early 1900s, but he failed to gain a place on the boat ‘Down Under’.

He was part of the powerful Trinity forward pack that won the 1909 RL Challenge Cup aswell as the Yorkshire Cup in 1910 and his winners medals also included two Yorkshire League Championship medals (1910 & 1911). He played in a second RL Challenge Cup Final in 1914, losing out to Hull.

He played his last Trinity game, at the age of 41 (and nine months) at Rochdale in February 1922, scoring 22 tries and kicking 19 goals in his full career, gaining a heritage number of 85.

On the field he was known as a great ball handler, known for his one-handed, overhead passes from the scrum, ‘NFL quarter back style’, setting up the star backs of the early 1900s. He was club captain after the war years and gained a loyalty club testimonial in 1910. Off the field he lived and worked in the Westgate area most of his life, working as a taxi driver, being a single parent to his two daughters after the passing of his wife, passing away at the age of 50 in 1929.


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