ALEX Murphy and good pal and former teammate Ken Kelly were among members of the rugby league fraternity paying tribute to Dave Chisnall this week.
The news of the death of the colourful front rower was greeted with much sadness among Saints fans and also in Warrington, where Chissy was treated like a folk hero due to exploits for that all-conquering Wire side of the early 1970s.
Murphy, who spotted the talents of the then teenager playing for Parr Labour, expressed his sadness in his tribute to his pack leader.
He said: “It is very sad. I signed him for Leigh at 18 and David Chisnall proved to be a truly good player. He was an excellent lad.
“He had tremendous pace for a big man and a good pair of hands. He was a very hard, solid lad but also a good footballer.
“He went from strength to strength, if he had a problem it was maybe that he was a little too keen at times.
“His passion to play the game was there. He always wanted to do things he couldn’t do – like catching wingmen. One of his ambitions was to catch Keith Fielding.”
Dave wore the number eight shirt when scrums were contested and he faced up to some of the fiercest competitors in Jim Mills, John Burke, Ian van Bellan and Les Tonks – all of them considerably bigger than him. But he never flinched an inch.
“He was only about 5’9 but didn’t have a faint heart.
“He knew what he had to do and when he had to do it and was not afraid of taking a knock or giving one. He was a very good player,” Murphy continued.
“He was great competitor he wanted to win at everything. He was a good signing for me – I took him to Leigh and then to Warrington with me.
“He was very important in the pack we built at Warrington, with him and Kevin Ashcroft we had a very solid foundation.
“There was no pack in the rugby league would take anything out of them.
“Chissy was one of those lads who was made for the big occasions and loved winning and hated losing.”
Ken Kelly, aged 60, played with Dave at Warrington said that he visited him every few weeks during his illness.
He said: “He was larger than life.
“I first met Dave over 40 years ago when he was at Leigh and I was at St Helens.
“We just hit it off and clicked.
“What I most liked about him was that he was straight to the point, he’d tell you how it was. He told you the truth.
“We had rows like any other married couple but we always got over them. I’m made up I knew him for so long.
“He had everything. I remember Eddie and Stevo going berserk over James Graham being a prop who could pass the ball.
“But Dave was passing and missing players out 30 years ago. He was a half back with a number eight on his back.
“He’d slip the ball to a supporting player, he’d chip kick the ball over the defence and regather it, he’d sell a dummy.
“He was a one-off, there’ll never be another like him.”