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Yarn Of The Month (some Great Stories)

19. Q & As with Vince Karalius in 2006 - Total RL Forum event.

Posted by... quigs eraofthebiff - on ... Saturday, May 05, 2012

YARN OF THE MONTH #19 ..... (original entry date) 2/10/2006.


Get some more beers, or make another
coffee, take your time and have some fun.

Just a quick note here. This is where Quigs selects the best "Your Story" received for the month or a selection of a favorite older yarn - no correspondence will be entered into and the winner gets bugger all.
All yarns are unsubstantiated and are posted in good faith. Its just meant to be a fun thing, share some of our great memories from the Greatest Era of the Greatest Game of All.


The Era of the Biff heard about the Questions and Answers event happening on the TotalRL Fans Forum which was held on the 22nd September 2006. EOTB was kindly permitted by Total RL to reproduce the segment and it is very much appreciated. Thanks to John Drake and friends.

The Biff website is all about recording memories and stories about the greatest game from the greatest era and from both sides of the equator.

It is brilliant to hear that Vince is still alive and well and enjoying life. From his answers to the punters questions it is obvious he enjoyed his time as one of the worlds greatest league players. (and a bloody tough pommy too)

Thanks firstly to Vince Karalius, Total RL and to the members who put the Questions to VK.

Team Era strongly recommends that you pay a visit or three to TotalRL Fans Forum and Total RL along with Era of the Biff would like you to support xiii Heroes website... read more on top right of this page.

Questions from the Guest Room TotalRL

Member upununder
Ques: Runcorn Bridge There are various stories about you diving or jumping off Runcorn Bridge into the Mersey. What is the truth?

Reply by Vince Karalius
Three of us, my two mates Alan Winstanley (Winno), Gordon Carney and myself were going to dive off the bridge into the Mersey but the tide was out so we decided to dive into the Manchester ship canal. It ran along side the river. We had a look, thought it was a bit high so we told Gordon, seeing he was the smallest, that Winno and I would jump first and if it was alright we would come back and dive off. Winno had the job of looking after the clothes, we jumped and both hurt ourselves so the dive was off.

Believe it or not some time later Winno went back and dove off, but that’s another story. He tells me he wakes up having nightmares, he thinks he is going off again. (Now there is a nutter for you).

Member dallymessenger
Ques: Test Matches -

Reply by Vince Karalius
In Test matches against the Aussies, I always enjoyed having to ‘take care’ of the likes of Provan and O’Shea.

The second test at Brisbane in 1958 was my debut. Being part of that side on that day is something I’ll always remember. To play alongside a real hard man like Alan Prescott was a privilege. I felt ten feet tall being on the same side as him. It’s simply unbelievable to think that he played with a broken arm and led us to victory.

Member Billy Bunter
Ques: Saints Then And Now - Mr Karalius,

How do you feel about comparisons being made between the current St Helens side and the great sides you played in during the late 50s and early 60s?

Would you have any of the current mob in your old teams?


Reply by Vince Karalius
It’s impossible to compare the different eras, simply because we were part time. With the same training regimes, I think the players from my day would be more than a match for their modern counterparts.

The big difference is that back then we had players who could go out and beat the Aussies, that doesn’t happen today.

Member upununder
Ques: What Was Your Greatest Moment? - Everyone has one or more standout moments in their lives and careers. With a record like yours, it would perhaps be hard for an observer to pick out one thing from such an illustrious career. I was priviledged to see you play when I first started watching rugby league and would love to know what you feel is/was your greatest moment.

Reply by Vince Karalius
I was very fortunate and had lots of great moments, captaining different challenge cup winning sides, coaching Challenge cup winning teams, being picked for tour, winning the ashes, and winning the World cup.

But on reflection I think the greatest moment was being picked for the first team at St Helens for the first time. That meant that they had faith in my ability, the rest was up to me.

Member Stag Fan
Ques: Winter Or Summer Rugby Which do you prefer? and why.

Reply by Vince Karalius
My preference is winter, why? Because it’s a winter game, exerting yourself for 80 minutes is much easier in cooler weather, than in the baking heat. I see that rugby union and soccer have not followed our lead, enough said!

Member name
Ques: text

Reply by Vince Karalius

Member voteronniegibbs
Ques: Change The Scoreline?, if you had chance Of all the games you played in over your career is there one scoreline that you would change, if you could play the match again?

Reply by Vince Karalius
One doesn’t spring to mind, any defeat was hard to swallow, and you always thought you had been robbed!

Member Southern Softie
Ques: Toughest Opponent Hello Vince.

Having a bit of a reputation for being a hard man ( see my signature ) , who would you say was the toughest opponent you have played against?


Reply by Vince Karalius
This is a hard one to answer, they were all tough, but my top ten would have to include Bill Healey, Dia Moses, Brian McTigue, Derek Turner, Jack Wilkinson, the Drake Brothers, the Martin Brothers and Charlie Winslade.

Member Marauder
Ques: Rule Changes And Coaching With todays coaching methods and all the rule changes in todays game how do you think your team mates at club and country would compare with todays players given the chance to have been full time professionals.

Reply by Vince Karalius
It’s always hard to try and evaluate yesteryear’s greats with todays, but let me do some comparisons:

Are they more skilful? – Never.

Are they harder? – Never.

Are they fitter? – Yes because they are full time pros.

So I would say that we would compare very favourably.

Member LittleJon
Ques: Current Lions Mental Attitude I'm convinced that the current crop of Lions have the rugby ability to beat Australia but there seems to be a lack of confidence and the "mental edge". From your experience what changes could be made for the current side to regain the Ashes?

Reply by Vince Karalius
You have to pick the right team, make sure you don’t pick anyone that hangs his heart up with his shirt.

Instil in them a sense of pride that they are playing for there country. Get them to believe in their own footballing ability. To play as a team.

Yes I think we would win.

Member PC
Ques: Nickname I'm sure a read somewhere that you weren't a fan of your nickname. If not, why not? It's better than mine.

Reply by Vince Karalius
The Wild Bull Of The Pampas? Well I did not think I was wild, I feel I was a little more calculated than that.

Member Derwent
Ques: Tom Mitchell..... Personally I think the game today is crying out for someone like the great man (though of course they broke the mould when they made him !).

What do you think Tom would have made of today's game and was he the best "man manager" you ever met ? I know Brian Edgar, Billy Ivison, Ike Southward etc all reckoned that Tom was the biggest influence on their career - I know you and him were great friends and wondered if he had a big influence on you ?

Reply by Vince Karalius
As you say, Thomas was a great man and a very dear friend. He possessed great man management skills and had an influence on most people he met, including me.

I think Thomas like myself would say the game is too predictable.

He left a gap in our game that has never been filled. He was a great character and I was privileged to tour with him in 1958.

Member Upununder
Ques: Hall Of Fame Who, out of today's players, do you think is a potential Hall of Famer?

Reply by Vince Karalius
As I said in a previous answer I don’t watch many games so I am not really the best judge, but of two players in my old position as loose forward, Andy Farrell could have been, and Paul Sculthorpe must be in the running.

Member marklaspalmas
Ques: Post Office Road, Featherstone Do you have any memories of matches played against Featherstone Rovers? Which of their players did you most have to look out for?

Reply by Vince Karalius
You had to look out for them all; they were all over you like a rash. I remember playing there in a cup-tie, it was freezing and snowing and we got beat. Happy memories!

Member CrushersForever
Ques: Taking Up Coaching Vince, did you give much thought to eventually moving into coaching during your playing career? And did you find any aspects of the transition to coaching particularly difficult?

Reply by Vince Karalius
The thought never crossed my mind; the offer from Widnes came out of the blue the only aspect I found difficult was being the boss instead of one of the lads.

Member Bullseye
Ques: Championship Final 1959 Do you remember the 1959 championship final between Hunslet and St Helens at Odsal? It was Jim Sullivan's last game in charge as coach I think. A colleague of mine was at the game and is a Hunslet fan, do you remember much about the game?

Reply by Vince Karalius
I can hardly remember what happened last week, but it does come vaguely back.

It was a terrific game played in a lovely atmosphere, with a huge crowed and best of all we won (I think!), and of course this was the perfect farewell to Sull who was my mentor and had a great influence on me.

Member Homer
Ques: Saints - Wigan Rivalry, Is it as intense as it was??? With the number of times that the teams seem to play each other these days, do you think that some of the intensity has gone out of the inter-town rivalry?

Reply by Vince Karalius
I think the rivalry is still there and always will be, but it is a bit like having your favourite meal too often, it loses its appeal.

In my era it was played at the festive sessions of Christmas and Easter, packed houses, wonderful atmosphere, it was war.

Member tim2
Ques: Youth Years How old were you when you started playing and where did you start?

Did you play during the Second World War? Did the war have any effect on rugby league in Widnes?

Reply by Vince Karalius
I started in amateur rugby league at the age of 15 with a local Widnes team called West Bank, I commenced my professional career at the age of 17 with St Helens.

No I didn’t play in the Second World War, I was 7 years old and the only thing I can remember playing with was my gas mask. But after the war the game thrived.

Member Bullseye
Ques: Play Down Under? A lot of successful GB players were offered the chance to play for Australian clubs sides. Did you get any offers from Aussie teams? If so why did you turn them down?

Reply by Vince Karalius
I was approached surreptitiously after the last Test match in Sydney, I declined the offer, and I was a home bird.

Member Saint Toppy
Ques: Hard Men, The Current Breed ? You were widely regarded as being one of the real ‘hard men’ of rugby league. Do you think any of the current breed of players (either here or in the NRL) would be worthy of that title ?

Reply by Vince Karalius
I can’t really say, I don’t watch many games but I read that Mr Morley is quite intimidating.

Member Ed I Tackle
Ques: Regrets What do you regret doing during your career and what do you regret not doing.

Reply by Vince Karalius
I regret being talked into playing when I was unfit, I regret not having the time to train harder which would have made me a better player.

Member Marauder
Ques: Union`s ££££`s Vince would you have been tempted to go to Rugby Union for a few quid more

Reply by Vince Karalius
I was never asked! But I don’t think so, rugby league was in my blood.

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