Brian Jefferson played rugby league as a schoolboy in Leeds but later went on to play rugby union for Moortown quickly progressing to play for the Yorkshire County side.
He was watched by many top professional league sides but after being contacted by Keighley’s scout Geoff Beadnall moved to Lawkholme and made his league debut as a trialist named ‘Johnson’ in 1965 for Keighley against Halifax kicking three goals and creating one try. Keighley’s then coach Harry Street was amazed at Brian’s continental style boots and that he could kick goals at all with such footwear. Over the next thirteen seasons Brian, first at stand-off and then on the wing and at full-back, was the shining light at Lawkholme with his dependable goal-kicking and polished, pin-point tactical kicks to touch. Another feature of Brian’s game was his deadly high ‘bombs’ which often turned defence into attack and provided the team with many try-scoring opportunities as well as confining the opposition in their own half. Combined with this was his ability to score a drop-goal from virtually anywhere, from any angle and in the 1973-4 season he kicked 34 of these.
Brian made seven appearances for the Yorkshire Rugby League County side making one International appearance in 1968 for England against Wales though if he had played for a more fashionable club there would undoubtedly have been many more. Brian had the opportunity to move to other bigger clubs including Castleford but turned them all down. Brian explains, “The years I played here were absolutely tremendous. I enjoyed my rugby and we had great supporters. They can’t take that away from you”.
Brian’s 967 goals and 2,116 points in 300 games for the club between 1965 and 1977 are a career record at Keighley.
In 1977 a recurring knee injury brought his career to an end but he went on to put his experience back into the club coaching the successful colts side.
Brian Smith, who rates Brian as Keighley’s best ever full-back, writing in Jefferson’s testimonial brochure, summed him up, “If my life depended on someone kicking a rugby ball to land on a given spot I wouldn’t hesitate to choose Brian Jefferson for the task”.