Tom Hadfield — a Kiwi league great and try-scoring specialist — has passed away in Auckland, aged 83.

Winger Hadfield played 38 games including 17 tests between 1956 and 1961. He is among the New Zealand Rugby League's 'Legends of League' and made the Kiwis team of the century alongisde other stars including Des White, Roger Bailey, Stacey Jones, Ruben Wiki, Mark Graham and Ron Ackland.

Hadfield - from the Northcote club - set a Kiwis test record of 15 tries, a mark since overtaken by the likes of Manu Vatuvei, Nigel Vagana and Jason Nightingale.

Maybe Hadfield's crowning moment came in the 1960 series against France, when he was the dominant player in low scoring wins at a muddy Carlaw Park. With the Kiwis holding a one point lead in the second test, right wing Hadfield - bloodstained from a high tackle - charged 70 metres, beating three tackles to score.


A league writer and enthusiast named Eric Bennetts was so impressed that he presented Hadfield with a silver tray. Bennetts wrote to Hadfield saying he had watched both union and league since 1913, and regarded his second test performance as "the best ever".

In 1958, Hadfield swallowed his tongue during a club game and almost died, and spent three days in hospital. At one point he scored tries in nine consecutive tests, and another great moment came as part of a below-strength Kiwis team which won the first test on a British tour, although they lost the next two.