Inducted into the Hall of Fame - 2013
Born: 12 January 1934; Dewsbury, Yorkshire
Clubs: Huddersfield, Wigan, St Helens, York & Dewsbury
Mick Sullivan set the standard when it came to playing Test football for Great Britain.
The wing powerhouse set an appearance record of 46 tests between 1954 and 1963, scored an unsurpassed 41 tries and played a record 36 consecutive tests over a seven-year period following his debut at centre in the World Cup defeat of Australia at Lyon.
He was playing for Huddersfield when starring in Great Britain’s backs-to-the-wall triumph in that inaugural World Cup tournament and would be involved in record-breaking transfers when joining Wigan for £9,500 in 1957 and moving on to St Helens for £11,000 in 1961.
Tough and uncompromising in defence as well as being a prolific attacking weapon, ‘Sully’ appeared in the first three World Cup competitions, winning the trophy in 1954 and 1960, in addition playing each test in the Ashes-winning series of 1956, 1959 and, on foreign soil, in 1958 and 1962.
He scored a try hat-trick in the deciding test in Sydney when the Lions clinched that 1958 Ashes series and scored a record 38 tries in 19 tour appearances that year, shattering the 36-try mark set by Billy Boston on the preceding Lions tour four years earlier.
His final test for Great Britain was an inauspicious occasion as the Ashes were surrendered in a 12-50 defeat at the hands of Australia at Swinton in 1963. Sullivan was playing in the Second Division for York at the time, becoming only their sixth GB international.
Having signed for Huddersfield from Shaw Cross amateur club in 1952, he won his only honour with the ‘Fartowners’ when they defeated York in the 1957 Yorkshire Cup final. Shortly afterwards he joined Wigan and was a try-scorer in consecutive Wembley wins over Workington (1958) and Hull (1959).
He won a third Cup winners’ medal in four years as St Helens defeated Wigan in 1961 and added Lancashire Cup winners’ medals with Saints in 1961 and 1962. His only disappointment was being suspended for Wigan’s 1960 Championship Final win over Wakefield having been sent-off in the semi-final defeat of St Helens.
After his sojourn at York, his career turned full circle when he signed for hometown Dewsbury and was their player-coach, now appearing at loose-forward, when they lost to St Helens in the Cup semi-final at Swinton in 1966.
Mick Sullivan went to play in Australia having scored 342 career tries, topping the game’s chart once (with 50) in 1957-58. And that try tally included 120 in a representative career of 102 games for Yorkshire, England and Great Britain.