John Newlove’s departure to Hull FC in 1978 left a big hole to fill in the Featherstone team. A number of quality players were tried in the position with varying degrees of success. Firstly, Rovers had to rely on the dependable skills of utility back Neil Tuffs. When an exciting young speedster by the name of Steve Evans came on the scene he had an extended run at six, before he found his more natural home in the three-quarters. In 1979/80, Paul Daley attempted to copy Peter Fox’s idea of converting a centre into a stand-off. It had worked for Fox with John Newlove and for one year at least it worked very well for Daley because erstwhile centre Steve Quinn had a superb season at stand-off. Quinn won the Second Division Player of the Year award, and shattered club records for goals and points in a season, as well as being leading try scorer. Back in the top flight both Quinn and Steve Evans alternated between stand-off and centre with neither player settling into a fixed role. In 1981/2 Rovers tried Paul Hayden and the year after signed Phil Johnson from Castleford. Still no-one could nail down this elusive yet important position.
When Allan Agar took over as coach from Vince Farrar he had no hesitation in throwing in a local youngster who was just 17 years old. Alan Banks grabbed his chance with some confident displays and never looked back. He had an excellent rugby pedigree as both his brothers Keith and Barry played professionally. Nobody in their wildest dreams could have imagined that Banks’ debut season would end with him as one of the youngest ever players in a Challenge Cup final, but he took it all in his stride. Seeing him, apparently nerveless, being interviewed in the dressing room at Wembley pre-match gave everyone watching the feeling that here was a youngster who knew exactly what he and his team-mates were capable of that famous afternoon. That same summer Rovers signed Deryck Fox and the Banks & Fox half-back combination was a first team fixture for the next couple of years.
Alan offered solid no-nonsense consistency, and was a good tackler and strong runner who would never let you down. In 1985 Rovers signed a talented but injury prone half-back Andy Mackintosh from Leeds. Alan Banks moved into the centres, whilst Mackintosh showed some nice touches before injury struck again and forced him to retire. Banks resumed at stand-off but was destined to spend most of the rest of his career at centre. In total he played 233 games for Featherstone and scored 46 tries, despite having called it a day at a relatively young age.