IT is sad to report that former Saints and Warrington half back Alan Gwilliam has died, aged 71.

A popular character in rugby league circles, the former St Anselms School pupil was a product of Blackbrook ARLFC from where he turned professional with Saints in September 1971.

He would go on to make 47 appearances for his hometown team with his most prolific season being 1973-74, when he played 25 times, scoring 6 tries.

That season he played in the 11-7 victory over the Kangaroos at Knowsley Road, Saints' last  ever against the Australians, on 13th November 1973, when he was partnered at stand-off by Dave Eckersley.

Ironically that pair would go on to play in Warrington's and Widnes' last triumphs respectively over the tourists five years later.

St Helens Star:

Alan, who was joined by brother Ken at Saints, would play his last game in the red vee against Australia in October 1975, before joining Warrington, where he made 136 appearances in six years, scoring 18 tries.

One of those was the winner againt the 1978 Kangaroos.

We will have a full obituary in tribute to Alan Gwilliam later this weekend.