One of Saints’ toughest past players has died at the age of 74. Brian Hogan, who played for his home-town club between 1964-1968 when he shared a dressing room with South African legend Tom Van Vollehnhoven.
A real firebrand on the field, Brian could always be relied on to get stuck into the opposition. He was the archetypal hard-running, hard tackling forward, who would not take a backward step.
Dave Dooley of the Saints’ Heritage Society remembers him as a real ‘rough house’ forward who took great delight in scattering opponents when he embarked on his rampaging runs.
Brian was a product of Merton Bank Junior School, St Helens, and first began playing rugby there at the age of nine. The headteacher was the Saints’ chairman Harry Cook, so perhaps this was a factor in his future career!
He moved to Parr High School and played for the town and Lancashire schoolboy teams.
On leaving Parr High, Brian began playing amateur rugby down at Blackbrook, in the Under 17s and came to prominence in televised matches that were usually shown on Sundays.
He signed for Saints at 16 and made his debut in a 16-13 win against Salford at Knowsley Road on New Year’s Day 1966.
Overall, the second rower played in five finals for his home town club - his first a 7-7 drawn in the Championship Final against Wakefield Leeds in 1967 before crashing to a 21-9 defeat in the replay at Swinton. Saints lost the replay 9-21 at Swinton.
Ironically, Brian was involved in another stalemate, this time in the Lancashire Cup, when the club drew 2-2 with Warrington.
He was not involved in the replay, although he did get that elusive winner’s medal when Saints thrashed Oldham 30-2 at Central Park, Wigan, in the 1968 Lancashire Cup final.
His last match as a Saint was another final, this time in the Floodlit Trophy. It was at a murky Central Park in December 1968, when Wigan won 7-4, a game in which Brian showed his fiery side once more by being sent off!
He subsequently signed for Wigan, Bradford Northern and wrapping up his playing career at Oldham.
Words courtesy of Saints Heritage