Warrington Wolves legend Dave Chisnall dies after long illness

Warrington Guardian: Dave Chisnall during his second spell with Warrington Dave Chisnall during his second spell with Warrington

WARRINGTON rugby league legend Dave Chisnall has died earlier today after a long illness.

He was aged 64.

The charismatic prop forward, a member of Wolves’ hall of fame, gained honours with Great Britain, England and Lancashire, and he was captain of the team at Wembley against Widnes in 1975.

Chisnall, one of four sporting brothers with Eric and Les also playing professional rugby league and eldest John being a boxer, also had spells with hometown club St Helens, Leigh, Swinton and Barrow.

But his best years as a player were in his first of two spells with Warrington, who, under his former Leigh boss Alex Murphy, paid a club record £8,000 to bring him to Wilderspool Stadium in 1971.

As a pacy, flamboyant and cheeky ball-playing prop forward, 16-stone Chissie was a perfect fit in a front row that included Kevin Ashcroft and Brian Brady.

Between 1972/73 and 1974/75, durable Chissie was almost an ever-present in a side that handed the club its best ever season in terms of trophy success.

The Captain Morgan Trophy, the Player’s No6 Trophy, the Challenge Cup and the Club Championship were all won in 1973/74, adding to the League Leaders’ rose bowl in 1972/73.

Defeats followed in the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy Final and Challenge Cup Final of 1975 before he moved to Swinton later that year.

Even upon his return to the club in 1981/82, Chissie still had the magic touch as a footballer, fine defender and yard maker.

Despite a frame more expected for use as a battering ram, he had pace as well as dancing feet to deliver unsuspecting defenders an elusive side-step.

He scored probably his best try at Wilderspool on September 26, 1982, when he twice sold outrageous dummies to the Bradford Northern defence on the halfway line and then charged home.

Nobody on the ground that day will forget the impressive sight of the man mountain in full flight.

He scored his first try for Warrington more than a decade earlier and in equally impressive circumstances.

Less than a month after making his first-team debut away at Salford on August 20, 1971, Chissie found himself facing a touring New Zealand side at Wilderspool.

The teenager was undaunted and ran in the first try of the game as Warrington won in style 13-2.

Chissie went on to play 210 games for Warrington, scoring 29 tries along the way.

In an interview Chissie gave to Warrington Guardian after his career had ended, he said: "It was an incredible honour for me to captain the side at Wembley.

“It was such a huge occasion. I was quite calm after we'd won it the year before (1974) but it was terribly disappointing when we lost."

The move to Swinton was a surprise, coming after he had fallen out with Murphy.

He became something of a journeyman player, spending time with Leigh, St Helens and Barrow over the next six years before returning to Warrington.

He spent another three seasons in the first team before moving into coaching.

Chissie said: "Playing at Wilderspool was always special, particularly in the big games.

“We had a big rivalry with Featherstone and Dewsbury during my first spell with the club and the ground was always packed when they came to play.

"I enjoyed coming back to play at the ground when I was at other clubs too. The fans always treated me as one of their own and there was a great rapport there."

He coached the Alliance teams at Leigh and St Helens before taking up first-team reins for the one and only time at Runcorn.

On the representative scene while at Warrington, Chissie won caps for England against Wales in 1975, against France, Wales, and New Zealand in the 1975 World Cup, and against Papua New Guinea (non-test) in 1975.

While with Leigh in 1970, he won caps for Great Britain against Australia and New Zealand.

Comments (7)

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6:21pm Fri 11 Jan 13

Gripper_S says...

Sad news.

His first spell with The Wire coincided with my introduction to RL, age 6, and I can still remember his sidestep, sleight of hand, and his power when backing into the opposition tacklers, picking which of the runners to deliver the ball to. He also seemed to really enjoy his rugby too, as his sense of humour was often on display on the field. Thanks for the memories, Dave.

Any chance of The Guardian reprinting a photo I remember you printed of Chiz flying through the air, body stretched, about to touch down? Hopefully it's still in your archive. Thanks.
Sad news. His first spell with The Wire coincided with my introduction to RL, age 6, and I can still remember his sidestep, sleight of hand, and his power when backing into the opposition tacklers, picking which of the runners to deliver the ball to. He also seemed to really enjoy his rugby too, as his sense of humour was often on display on the field. Thanks for the memories, Dave. Any chance of The Guardian reprinting a photo I remember you printed of Chiz flying through the air, body stretched, about to touch down? Hopefully it's still in your archive. Thanks. Gripper_S
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8:16pm Fri 11 Jan 13

nitram says...

What a player,talented even by today's standards,my condolences to the Chisnall family,he will be sadly missed.
What a player,talented even by today's standards,my condolences to the Chisnall family,he will be sadly missed. nitram
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11:02pm Fri 11 Jan 13

pennstate says...

Chisnall was a national treasure in the days of BBC and Eddie Waring. His sidestep was like an illusion leaving defenders grabbing at air. He was an enforcer in an age of enforcement and it is so sad we will never see his like again.
His loyalty to the sport and the wire is much appreciated and I thank him for the years of spectacular entertainment and achievement, and those lucky enough to have watched him will never forget!
Chisnall was a national treasure in the days of BBC and Eddie Waring. His sidestep was like an illusion leaving defenders grabbing at air. He was an enforcer in an age of enforcement and it is so sad we will never see his like again. His loyalty to the sport and the wire is much appreciated and I thank him for the years of spectacular entertainment and achievement, and those lucky enough to have watched him will never forget! pennstate
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11:45pm Fri 11 Jan 13

Smacker says...

I idolised Chissy as a kid. Always uncompromising he was hard as nails and tougher than teak, but always looked as though he played with a mischievous grin. God bless mate, joining the Wires boys great in the sky.
I idolised Chissy as a kid. Always uncompromising he was hard as nails and tougher than teak, but always looked as though he played with a mischievous grin. God bless mate, joining the Wires boys great in the sky. Smacker
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11:49pm Fri 11 Jan 13

Smacker says...

I idolised Chissy as a kid. Always uncompromising he was hard as nails and tougher than teak, but always looked as though he played with a mischievous grin. God bless mate, joining the Wires boys great game in the sky.
I idolised Chissy as a kid. Always uncompromising he was hard as nails and tougher than teak, but always looked as though he played with a mischievous grin. God bless mate, joining the Wires boys great game in the sky. Smacker
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3:28am Sat 12 Jan 13

joecass says...

Sincere condolences go out to the family, friends and Wire/Wolves supporters, a great man, a great player and a great loss! R.I.P. Dave.
Many memories for all RL supporters!
Joe from Widnes
Sincere condolences go out to the family, friends and Wire/Wolves supporters, a great man, a great player and a great loss! R.I.P. Dave. Many memories for all RL supporters! Joe from Widnes joecass
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6:30pm Sat 12 Jan 13

Casual Postman of Orford says...

RiP we casuals was too young to see you play but anyone who captained wire at Wembley is a legend!!!
RiP we casuals was too young to see you play but anyone who captained wire at Wembley is a legend!!! Casual Postman of Orford
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