Obituary: Former Wakefield Trinity player John “Johnny” Duggan has died at the age of 93

A former Wakefield rugby union and professional rugby league player, he played for Wakefield Trinity and Yorkshire in the 1940s and 1950s.

Born at home in St George’s Square in 1929, John was the first of eight children born to Abigail and Michael Duggan. He grew up on the Eastmoor estate.

He went to school at St Austin’s where he managed the rugby team and joined Wakefield RFC when he left school aged 16.

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Wakefield Rugby Football Club 1946 (John back row, second left)

At the age of 18 he signed with Wakefield Trinity in 1947 where he was known to fans and teammates as Johnny Duggan.

A Wakefield Express newspaper report described John as the clear favorite for “his strong run, elusive nature and temperament”.

He played for Yorkshire in 1949 and as right winger for Wakefield Trinity in 1951 in a 17–3 cup win over Keighley.

John emigrated to New Zealand in the early 1950s, where he set up business in Auckland.

Wakefield Trinity 1949-50 (John front row far left)

He met and married Phyllis Chapman and the couple had three sons.

In 1993, he visited Wakefield to see family and meet up with his former Trinity teammates, a reunion covered in the Express.

John died in Auckland on July 21, 2022.

He is survived by his three sons and their families.

Trinity Reunion 1993 (John in the middle)

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