Bramley RL legends: Johnny Wilson

6 May 2019

In the fourth in a series of articles, Paul Abraham takes a trip down memory lane and looks at the greats who graced McLaren Field for Bramley Rugby League Club.

New Zealand Maori Johnny Wilson made his first appearance for Bramley in a 15-13 home victory against Salford, where his first three goals for the club was the difference between winning and losing.

A try and two goals in a 19 all draw at home to Wigan being the highlight of a season which brought Johnny 99 goals and 4 tries in his 37 appearances which included four matches playing at stand-off.

1954/55 saw Johnny pass 100 goals in the season after missing out by a single goal in his debut season when he notched over his first of six in a 27-6 home win against Hull with his best tally being 7 against Hull KR in a 29-3 victory at the Barley Mow.

Johnny celebrated his 100th appearance for the club when he kicked 8 goals in a thumping 31-10 victory at home to Castleford in March 1956. Two games later he added another 7 as Bramley brushed aside Batley 35-12 at the “Mow”. This season saw him share the goal-kicking responsibilities with George Langfield who also kicked 71 goals that season.

With Langfield taking over as the clubs first choice kicker, Johnny was reduced to 17 goals and two tries in 1956/57 from his 39 appearances (only missing the away match at Castleford in April) and 54 goals and a try the following season which included seven goals away at Warrington.

Season 1958/59 saw Johnny reinstated as number one kicker for the club and celebrated by hitting 106 goals including 9 in a 30-15 home win against Keighley and 8 in a 22-14 against Dewsbury again at the Barley Mow.

91 goals followed the next season with highlights being 9 against Liverpool City in a 39-0 RL Cup-tie and seven each at home in a 17-17 draw against Hunslet and a 29-8 victory against Liverpool City. The 1960/61 season brought another 92 successful kicks at goal in his 35 appearances including a haul of eight in a 28-2 home win against York.

The 1961/62 saw a record-breaking season in the career of Johnny Wilson as he broke the club goals-in-a-season record when he kicked 130 goals including 8 in a 28-2 victory at Bradford and 7 versus Rochdale and York at home, the York game being the last match of the season and where he broke and created the new record.

He also kicked three goals for a Leeds 13 against the New Zealand touring team in a 9-24 defeat at Headingley. The season also saw him play his 300th game for Bramley when he donned the amber and black at the Boulevard in a 9-29 defeat where he kicked three goals.

Another 98 goals were kicked in 1962/63 including seven at Hull KR in a 20-12 win and six in a 15-7 home victory against York in the Eastern Division Championship.

The following season was his last season at Bramley and saw Johnny only make 10 appearances where he still kicked 31 goals including 7 in a 20-5 home victory against York.

His final match being a tight 8-12 defeat at Hull in an Eastern Division Championship match. The end of an amazing career where his goal-kicking exploits were amazing but Bramley fans and Rugby League fans will always remember Johnny as well for his famous shoulder-charge tackles which often left opponents ending up flattened or in a crumpled heap among the supporters!

Bramley Career Record
1953/4 Apps 37 Tries 4 Goals 99 Points 210
1954/5 Apps 36 Tries 4 Goals 107 Points 226
1955/6 Apps 33 Tries 3 Goals 73 Points 155
1956/7 Apps 39 Tries 2 Goals 17 Points 40
1957/8 Apps 37 Tries 1 Goals 54 Points 111
1958/9 Apps 37 Tries 2 Goals 106 Points 218
1959/60 Apps 28 Tries 0 Goals 91 Points 182
1960/1 Apps 35 Tries 0 Goals 92 Points 184
1961/2 Apps 35 Tries 0 Goals 130 Points 260
1962/3 Apps 37 Tries 0 Goals 98 Points 196
1963/4 Apps 10 Tries 0 Goals 31 Points 62

Total Apps 364 Tries 16 Goals 898 Points 1844

Total does not include the Leeds 13 v New Zealand tour match.

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Joni says:

So great to see this on here. I’m Joni Collins (Wilson) Johnny’s you best daughter. Appreciate that this information is still in circulation. Thank you for taking the time to honor his memory