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17 October 2021

At Swinton Lions we were deeply saddened to hear of the sudden death yesterday of our former prop forward Steve Phythian. 

A local lad, Steve came through the illustrious ranks of Folly Lane ARLFC and made his debut in the Swinton first team on 1st October 1974, almost 47 years to the day of his passing. A no nonsense prop of the old school in the cauldron of contested scrums, Steve never took a backward step throughout his playing career. 

Having played 64 games and scoring two tries for the Lions, his last appearance being on 16th August 1981, Steve got “itchy feet” and asked for a transfer. Reluctantly, I asked him to put the request in writing which he did….on toilet paper! All life is here. Steve transferred to Whitehaven where he really came into his own, becoming both a ‘marra’ and a legend at the Recreation Ground. Steve would play 85 times for the Cumbrian club between seasons 1981/82 and 1984/85, scoring another two tries.

Aussie captain Wally Lewis is of course an icon throughout our game’s heritage, even though in one memorable match Steve rearranged Wally’s front teeth! Wally and Steve shared a beer or three in recent times when Wally showed off his new dentures! Steve then had a spell playing in Australia, came home to become a rugby league referee in the North West Counties amateur league, and also found time to coach local side Swinton Victoria. 

A rugby league man to the very core. Steve touched many lives in his career, inclusive of the health and wellbeing of others thanks to his business acumen. Steve Phythian epitomised friendship, humour and loyalty, and it has been our privilege to have shared a small part of his life. RIP Steve Phythian.

(With thanks to Steve Moyse)



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