What's new
The Front Row Forums

Register a free account today to become a member of the world's largest Rugby League discussion forum! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Bill Ashurst (RIP)

Whino

Bench
Messages
2,582

Legendary Panthers forward Bill Ashurst passes away​


By
Troy Dodds
-
June 15, 2022, 8:20

The Penrith Panthers are mourning the loss of Bill Ashurst, the English import who played 46 games for the club in the 1970s.
Ashurst, credited as Panther #100, joined Penrith from English club Wigan for a record fee in 1974.
He became a match winner for Penrith, scoring 165 points including 19 tries, 55 goals and six field goals during this three year stint with the club.
Ashurst was on track to become one of the great import success stories but he dramatically quit Penrith and returned to England in time for the 1977 season, later citing home sickness.

He was named in Penrith’s Team of Legends in 2006, recognising his extraordinary impact on the club over a relatively short period of time.
Ashurst returned to Penrith in 2017, reflecting on his time in the city and how much it has changed in an exclusive interview with the Weekender.
“Everything looks different but, at the end of the day, the Panthers are still the Panthers and I’ve always been a Panther and I always will be,” he said.
“I always say there are only two teams in my life – the Wigan Warriors and Penrith.”
During his 2017 visit Ashurst was given a tour of the new Panthers Ruby League Academy and watched the NRL team play Canterbury and the Warriors.
“Brad Waugh took me around the Academy and I couldn’t believe what I saw, it was unbelievable,” Ashurst said at the time.
“I remember our old sheds, buying our own boots and making our own way to the ground. Heck, I even smoked when I played, even at half-time!
“To be honest, I wouldn’t like the lifestyle the players have these days – there’s too much pressure and far too many mobile phones.”
Ashurst was also back in Penrith just a few weeks ago to support Royce Simmons on his dementia fundraising walk.

In all Ashurst played 265 first class games across his career at Wigan, Penrith, Wakefield Trinity and Runcorn Highfield.
He represented Great Britain in three Test matches.

Ashurst also had a short and dramatic career as a coach. He guided Wakefield while still playing in the 1981-82 season, and coached Runcorn Highfield between 1987 and 1989. Due to a players strike, he played one game for Runcorn Highfield in 1988, but was sent off.
Ashurst was awarded the Harry Sunderland Trophy in 1971.

 

Kilkenny

Coach
Messages
10,940
In a different era, players training involved a couple of laps around the oval, not much more three times a week. Big Bill by his own admission used to have a couple of smokes at half time. in that era he was an amazing talent, something to watch, could do freakish things shame he and Mick Stephenson never got on.

My memory fails me these days but there was one game that summed Big Bill up. I think it was against the Dragons we were down 17-0 or 19-0 at HT. Bill decided to turn up in the second half and single handedly was responsible in us winning the game. He scored a try from one of his signature chip over the top and regathers, he was amazing to watch when he was on. I’ll never forget that day, even if I have.
 
Last edited:

forby

Juniors
Messages
1,728
It was against St George. Stevo was ko’d in the first half and Penrith trailed 19-0 with 25 min to go. Ashurst took the game in his hands and set up 4 tries and scored one himself. He kicked 5/6 including one from the halfway when the Saints kicked off out on the full To put them up 20-19.
It was an incredible performance that I will never forget.
He truly was an exceptional talent!
 

Kilkenny

Coach
Messages
10,940
It was against St George. Stevo was ko’d in the first half and Penrith trailed 19-0 with 25 min to go. Ashurst took the game in his hands and set up 4 tries and scored one himself. He kicked 5/6 including one from the halfway when the Saints kicked off out on the full To put them up 20-19.
It was an incredible performance that I will never forget.
He truly was an exceptional talent!
Did he score from a chip and regather down the Western side, that is my recollection. We were running towards the Howell Oval end in that 2nd half?
 

Kilkenny

Coach
Messages
10,940

Kilkenny

Coach
Messages
10,940
It was a chip and chase, but I don’t know which side.
I’m almost sure it was while we were running North to South, makes absolutely no difference thou. It was freakish what he was capable of, in a far different era and far different game. Big Bill was something else such a shame he and Stevo never got on.
 

GongPanther

Referee
Messages
25,270
He had a few run ins with Norths English hooker John Grey. He used to float across the park when in full flight and everyone stood when he attacked the defensive line. I think the reason he played well in the mid-week matches was he could count the minutes until he could have another smoke. :)
 

Nealo 12

Bench
Messages
3,375
He had a few run ins with Norths English hooker John Grey. He used to float across the park when in full flight and everyone stood when he attacked the defensive line. I think the reason he played well in the mid-week matches was he could count the minutes until he could have another smoke. :)
No he played to win the colour TV 😂
 

Latest posts

Top