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Rugby League: ‘One thing Terry Newton said that day haunts me’

Dave Hadfield

newton 291x300 Rugby League: One thing Terry Newton said that day haunts meNever had a day at the rugby quite like Sunday. Don’t want one.

The first thing I heard after arriving at the Halliwell Jones was the terrible news that Terry Newton had been found dead. Check around and find it’s all too true.

I admit to being thoroughly spooked by this. A few weeks before I’d spent an afternoon at his pub – at his invitation – to talk about his ban, his book and his plans for the future.

Superficially, he was handling it well; underneath, as I think emerged in the feature I wrote for Rugby League World magazine, I thought he was deeply depressed.

You ask yourself in these situations whether there’s more you could have done. Is it good enough to turn up, do the interview, write the piece and wash your hands of it? What else can you do? If I’d shared any concerns with somebody closer to him, would I have been telling them anything they didn’t know? I doubt it.

One thing Terry said that day haunts me. He would, he said, be remembered for two things – taking drugs and smashing Sean Long’s cheekbone. Well, now it’s three.

He deserves better than that. He could be a ruthless and over-aggressive player, but he was undoubtedly a gifted and brave one.

He was capable of being an idiot off the field, but he had a lot of warmth and good about him as well.

That’s something that should be remembered on Saturday, especially by one man who approached me in the press box at Warrington.

Was it true that Terry Newton had committed suicide, he asked me.

Yes, I was sorry to say that it was.

And was there going to be a minute’s silence at the Grand Final?

I wasn’t sure at the time, but I thought there might well be.

“If there is, I’m going to boo through it,” he said, rather proudly.

Well, whoever you were, that’s just about the harshest thing I’ve ever heard anyone say about a fellow human being. So congratulations on that.

Terry Newton did some things wrong in his career. He knew that better than anyone and he has surely paid the price.

After that, it almost seems trite to say that the rugby that day was great. Even with a 45 minute interruption whilst the stand smouldered, the Halifax-Featherstone game was a classic. And Rob Worrincy’s try was the best I’ve seen this season.

If there’s as magical a moment at Old Trafford, we’ll all be richly entertained.

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  • Rehnn

    Well said Dave. I’m a Saints fan, I’ll be honest I didn’t like Newton for what he did on the field (Sean Long) or Off (Drugs).
    But I’m sure Leeds, Wigan and Bradford fans loved having him kit up for them.
    When he did play for England I cheered him just like any other England player.

    Yes he made mistakes, but Love him or Loathe him he’s a human being… that in itself is worthy of Respect. Newton’s suicide was a tragedy and I for one will be paying my respects at Old Trafford this Saturday in the Minutes Silence.

  • Ian1

    I hope anyone who has the poor taste to boo through the minute of silence is ejected from the ground shortly afterwards.

  • Megamike56

    Yes Terry knew only too well the mistakes that he made as he said he will be remembered for two things the ban for taking drugs to enhance is performance after several injuries (that I do not condone) the other for breaking Sean Longs jaw. But he was a great player and a father to 2 little girls a husband and a son to his mother & father who have now lost two of their children in a matter of weeks. He also had the problems of his sister that haunted him every day, I am glad to see that Terry had the chance to make up with her before she died. I hope that everybody at the Grand Final stands in silence and for one minute use this time to think about all the people that they know with problems and see if they can give a little time to them as a friend maybe we might stop this happening to just one person and you did this because of what happened to Terry Anthony Newton may he be at peace with himself.

    Mike: A Warrington & Rugby League Fan

  • Megamike56

    Yes Terry knew only too well the mistakes that he made as he said he will be remembered for two things the ban for taking drugs to enhance is performance after several injuries (that I do not condone) the other for breaking Sean Longs jaw. But he was a great player and a father to 2 little girls a husband and a son to his mother & father who have now lost two of their children in a matter of weeks. He also had the problems of his sister that haunted him every day, I am glad to see that Terry had the chance to make up with her before she died. I hope that everybody at the Grand Final stands in silence and for one minute use this time to think about all the people that they know with problems and see if they can give a little time to them as a friend maybe we might stop this happening to just one person and you did this because of what happened to Terry Anthony Newton may he be at peace with himself.

    Mike: A Warrington & Rugby League Fan


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