Inducted into the Hall of Fame - 2013
Born: 11 April 1931; Gorsenin, Wales
Position: Centre, Stand-off or Full Back
Rugby League has had few talents to rival the magnetic box-office appeal of Lewis Jones.
Tagged the ‘Golden Boy’ when he made the move from Llanelli to Leeds as a record £6,000 signing in 1952, his 12-year career with the Headingley club produced a host of records that stood the test of time.
And he achieved them with a style that was unique, including the fabled double-kick acceleration, the long, hanging passes and an unerring goal-kicking accuracy attained from a minimal run-up. Jones was an attacking genius who had crowds flocking to see him.
First capped by Wales at 18, he won 10 caps in rugby union and was a replacement on the 1950 British Lions tour of Australia and New Zealand whilst still a teenager.
The Welsh wizard amassed his enduring world-record points total of 496 in 48 appearances in the 1956-57 season, breaking Jim Sullivan’s 406-point tally set in 1933-34. He scored 36 tries and 194 goals, yet failed to score as Leeds won the Challenge Cup with their 9-7 Wembley defeat of Barrow.
Four years later, having moved from centre to stand-off and heading towards the twilight of his glorious career, Jones was the captain and inspiration of Leeds’s first-ever Championship triumph, starring in the final with a try and five goals in the 25-10 defeat of Warrington.
Outstanding in centre, stand-off or full-back roles, his distinguished career concluded with Leeds in 1964 but continued in a captain-coaching capacity for a further seven years in Australia. He left Leeds having set club records for most goals and points in a career.
Jones became a dual-international for Wales and was selected for the 1954 Lions tour, going on to create unsurpassed tour records for goals (127) and points (278) including his record 10-goal haul in the second Test defeat of Australia in Brisbane.
He played all six Tests on that tour and went on to win 15 caps for Great Britain in just three years, scoring on every occasion and appearing in four positions. But the ill-fated 1957 World Cup tour to Australia proved to be his swansong at international level and 66 goals and 147 points were both GB records at the time.
In a British playing career of more than 400 games, Lewis Jones stood behind only fellow Hall of Fame members Jim Sullivan and Gus Risman on the game’s all-time points chart with 3,445. He would score more than one thousand more for the Sydney-based Wentworthville club in Australia and was still playing into his late-thirties.