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Page last updated at 15:21 GMT, Thursday, 18 December 2008

Murphy pays tribute to Karalius

Vince Karalius
Alex Murphy picked Vince Karalius as his greatest ever team-mate in 2005

St Helens legend Alex Murphy has paid tribute to Vince Karalius, who died last week at the age of 76.

Scrum-half Murphy and Karalius, who played at loose-forward, were part of the St Helens side that won the Rugby League Championship in 1959.

Murphy told BBC Radio Merseyside: "It's like losing a part of your body, he was my mentor.

"He got me through the early parts of my career, it was like having something impenetrable in front of you."

In addition to the Rugby League Championship the pair also won the Challenge Cup together in 1961.

The partnership between the two was not restricted to the domestic game as they toured Australia with Great Britain in 1958, winning the now famous second test.

"In Australia we were down to 10 men, we had lost the first test and had to win the second test," said Murphy.

"We lost three players in the first 20 minutes and had Alan Prescott playing with a broken arm and Vince had to go to stand-off.

"On our way out he said 'we will work a move the first chance we get.'

"I knew as soon as he did that we would score and we won the test match and then we won the series - this man was a collosus," added Murphy.

Karalius made 384 appearances in his club career, which lasted from 1952 to 1966, and also won 12 caps for Great Britain, being part of the side that won the World Cup in 1960.

After moving to Widnes from St Helens in 1962 he went on to win a second Challenge Cup in 1964.

He had a fearsome reputation on the pitch and was even dubbed 'The Wild Bull of the Pampas' by the Australian media.

But away from the pitch Murphy said his friend was a gentle man.

"He sang lullabies, you wouldn't believe the transformation from the pitch to off the pitch," said Murphy.

You can hear more on the life and career of Vince Karalius in Try Time on BBC Radio Merseyside from 1900 GMT on Thursday, 18 December.

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see also
'Wild Bull' Karalius dies aged 76
14 Dec 08 |  Rugby League

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