One of Huddersfield Rugby League Club’s greatest ever players has died aged 95.
Australian half-back Pat Devery was at the heart of the Huddersfield club’s success in the late 1940s and early 1950s and was the last surviving member of the 1953 Challenge Cup-winning team against St Helens at Wembley.
Pat arrived in Huddersfield 1947 and stayed until 1954, making 223 appearances and scoring 98 tries.
Huddersfield Giants chairman Ken Davy said: “This is very sad news as Pat Devery was one of rugby league’s real gentlemen.
“He played tennis well into his 80s. When not playing rugby league he was a teacher and I well remember Jennifer (Mrs Davy) telling me how he was one of her teachers and how he would collect the signatures of his teammates for her and fellow classmates.”
Patrick Charles Devery was born in Tweed Heads on the north coast of New South Wales on August 9, 1922, and first started playing serious rugby league at Murwillumbah High School and Armidale Teachers’ College.
In 1944 he asked the Balmain club for a trial. He was unable to play many matches owing to his naval duties over the next couple of years, but one he did play in was Balmain’s Grand Final-winning side against Newtown on September 16, 1944, at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The following year he was absent most of the time and played only three games, but for the visit of Gus Risman’s British ‘Indomitables’ he was given the opportunity of regular match-play to unfold his brilliance, of which he took full advantage. The Great British tourists travelled to Australia on the aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable and played 27 competitive matches over a period of less than three months. They are the only Rugby League touring team to remain unbeaten in a test series in Australia.
It was at stand-off that Pat gained his Test and Inter-State honours during the 1946 season, playing for City v Country, NSW v Queensland and Great Britain and playing in his first Test match for Australia against Great Britain on June 17, at Sydney.
He also played the Second and Third Test matches at Brisbane and Sydney respectively.
In 38 matches for Balmain he landed 59 goals and scored 25 tries for a total of 193 points.
At the end of the Australian 1947 season when his Balmain contract had expired, he accepted an offer of a three-year contract to play for Huddersfield.
In February 1947, Lionel Cooper and Johnny Hunter arrived at Fartown and soon established themselves in the team, winning the hearts of the supporters, and Pat arrived the following June.
The trio became legends of the club.
Pat made his debut for Huddersfield against Workington Town at Derwent Park on October 4, 1947, and he was soon appointed captain, holding the position until the end of the 1949/50 season.
Originally starting at Fartown as a stand-off half, he played most of his 223 games for Huddersfield at centre.
Playing in his first League Championship Final against Warrington at Maine Road, Manchester, on May 14, 1949, he scored a try and kicked two goals in a 13-12 win.
The following year at the same venue he was at centre as Huddersfield were defeated 20-2 by Wigan.
He also captained Other Nationalities - going on to make a total of 11 appearances in all, scoring five tries and kicking 16 goals.
A very popular player in the Claret and Gold, he played in two Yorkshire Cup finals - the first as Huddersfield lost 11-4 against Bradford at Leeds in 1949 and the second when they beat Batley 18-8 at Headingley in 1952 (Devery kicking three goals).
He also landed a goal at Wembley the following year as Fartown carried off the most prestigious trophy in rugby league when beating St Helens 15-10.
His last appearance for Huddersfield was at Batley in 1954 before announcing his retirement from playing.
He had scored 98 tries and kicked 401 goals for a points total of 1,096.
He still holds the Huddersfield club record for most points in a season with 332, comprising 16 tries and 142 goals in that cup-winning season of 1952/53.
In 2005 he was inducted into the Balmain Tigers Hall of Fame, having previously been selected into their Team of the Century, and he is also a member of the Huddersfield RL Hall of Fame.
During his time in Huddersfield he worked as a teacher.
He lived with his first wife, Norma, at Outlane and they had two children here in Huddersfield, Mandy and Christopher.
He returned to Australia to coach Manly Warringah in 1955 and, the following year, took charge of the New South Wales Country XIII.
Pat later moved to the United States.
He married second wife Delores and lived in Portland, Oregon, where he died just before Christmas.