BORN in St. Helens on 10th April 1948, Dave Chisnall was a member of a famous rugby league family, whose brothers, Eric and Les were also prominent in the code.
He was a burly front-rower, who was totally uncompromising; he had a surprising turn of pace and a brilliant side-step too and just as important, he was a member of the 1970 Great Britain squad that beat the Aussies Down Under!
This was many of Dave’s achievements in a twenty-year playing career that encompassed Leigh (twice), Warrington (twice), Swinton, Saints and Barrow. His greatest years were undoubtedly at Warrington, where he appeared in seven major finals, including Wembley successes in 1974 and 1975.
Dave joined the Saints [and his brother Eric!] after his second spell at Leigh and made his debut against Wakefield on 23rd January 1977. At the end of the season, he picked up a Premiership winner’s medal, when St. Helens beat Warrington and twelve months later was at Wembley once again, although Saints lost to Leeds in one of the great Challenge Cup finals.
After over a hundred matches in the red vee, he was transferred to Barrow in December 1979 for £7,500 and helped to sustain the high profile that the Cumbrian outfit had at the time.
Dave was also a valued assistant coach, at Leigh, Warrington and, with Alex Murphy at the helm, helped get the Saints to Wembley in 1987, although they were beaten by Halifax. It is difficult to say when Dave actually retired from playing, however, as he seemed to pull on the boots to help out at the slightest premise!
Dave worked at Pilkingtons for a spell and later was steward at City Road. He also worked at Whiston Hospital too and he kept in touch with the modern game with his membership of the Warrington and Saints’ Past Player Associations.
Advice for any budding front-rower: look at the DVDs and see this guy in action, he was quite something! His passing is such a sad loss for his family and for rugby league – as it used to be played!
Everyone at Saints would like to pass on their sympathies to the Chisnall family at this sad time.