Stacey Jones: Wikis

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Stacey Jones
Stacey Jones kicking.jpg
Jones playing for the Warriors in 2009
Personal information
Full name Stacey William Jones
Nickname The Little General
Born 7 May 1976 (1976-05-07) (age 33)
Auckland, New Zealand
Height 171 cm (5 ft 7 in)
Weight 82 kg (12 st 13 lb)
Playing information
Position Halfback
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1995–05 Auckland Warriors 238 75 171 12 654
2006–07 Catalans Dragons 39 11 43 3 133
2009 NZ Warriors 23 2 5 2 20
Total 300 88 219 17 807
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1995–06 New Zealand 48 17 50 2 170
Source: Rugby League Project

Stacey William Jones, ONZM (born 7 May 1976 in Auckland, New Zealand) is a retired professional rugby league footballer who has been named amongst the greatest New Zealand has ever produced. He currently plays for the New Zealand Warriors in the National Rugby League. His usual position is at halfback, but he has also briefly played at five-eighth during his distinguished career, which includes 46 Tests for New Zealand (1995-2006). Stacey Jones is the first and only life member of the New Zealand Warriors club whose records for most appearances, tries and points he held at the time of his retirement.

Jones' vision and ability to control the game when his team was on attack earned him the sobriquet "the little general", a reference also to his small stature in comparison to that of most rugby league players. Jones was often able to find players with a high bombing kick at either sides of the field or place a sneaky through ball for oncoming players to pounce on.

He's the epitome of a New Zealand champion.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark on Jones, 2005[1]

Contents

Early years

Jones was born in Auckland, New Zealand, grandson to New Zealand rugby league great Maunga Emery.[2] He played junior grades for the Ponsonby Ponies and Mt Albert Lions before moving to the City-Pt Chev Pirates when he was 9.[3] Jones also attended the famous St. Paul's College, Auckland.[4] In 1994 he played for the Auckland City Vulcans side in the Lion Red Cup.[5] In July 1994 he captained the Junior Kiwis as they toured Australia. Here he played against Darren Lockyer, who was playing for the Junior Kangaroos at the time.[6]

Warriors

Jones was soon spotted by the new Auckland Warriors franchise and made his first grade debut in 1995 against the Parramatta Eels in their inaugural year in what is now the National Rugby League (NRL). He started as five-eighth as the Warriors had Penrith great Greg Alexander as halfback, but he soon outshone his counterpart and forced Alexander into the Fullback role. He also quickly established his place in the international scene, replacing Gary Freeman as the New Zealand Kiwis halfback during the 1995 World Cup.

Over the next several years Jones cemented his spot in both the Warriors and Kiwis, sticking with the Warriors despite the lack of success on and off the field. Between 1995 and 1999 he played over 100 consecutive first grade games for the Warriors.[5] In 1999 he broke his arm playing for the Kiwis against Tonga, and as a result missed the first half of the 2000 NRL season, breaking his consecutive streak.[7] At the end of 2000 the Warriors were bankrupt and were sold for the second time in their short history. Jones was the first signing by the new franchise owned by current owner Eric Watson and it was his signing that convinced many other players to re-sign with the club.

It was under the new management where he first became club captain - in 2001 co-captaining with Kevin Campion - and although already considered in the top reaches of halfbacks in the NRL, he now started to show he was on equal par with the games' best halfbacks at the time through a 3 year period in which he led the Warriors to 3 successive finals appearances. He came to a climax in 2002 when the club not only won the minor premiership, but they reached the grand final. He played in a losing side that evening but scored a great try in which he beat 3 Roosters defenders from 30 metres out to go over from dummy half. Also in 2002, Jones became only the second New Zealand player to win the Golden Boot Award for the World's best international rugby league player.

Jones passing

In his career, he has also represented his country at two World Cups (1995 and 2000), three Tri Nations series (1999, 2005, 2006), and has played 41 games for the New Zealand Kiwis. He retired from the national team in 2004 while having a disappointing year at club level. However on 15 October 2005 Stacey ended 2 years of international retirement, answering an SOS from Kiwis coach Brian McClennan intending only to play the Australasian section of the Tri Nations series. He then went on to play the rest of their round robin matches against Great Britain in England. Stacey Jones was an integral part of the New Zealand Tri Nations campaign. In the first match, he guided the Kiwis to their first win in Sydney in 50 years before being part of their narrow loss to Australia in Auckland. He set up 4 tries in the first match in England which the Kiwis won by 42-26. He then missed the fourth Kiwi game, instead returning to New Zealand to be with his wife for the birth of their son. In the 2005 Rugby League Tri-Nations Final, he continually kicked Bomb kicks aimed at the Australian wingers that set up three tries in the Kiwis' 24-0 victory over Australia. Until then Australia had not lost a series in 27 years.

Jones is widely regarded as the best New Zealand player of his generation. This reputation was strengthened in 2002 when he won the Golden Boot - the award given to the player who the rugby league press considered to have been the best international player for that year. In New Zealand he had a video game named after him, Stacey Jones' Rugby League.[8] He currently still holds the records for most appearances (238 NRL games) and most tries (75) at the Warriors.

Super League

In April 2005 Stacey Jones announced he was leaving the Warriors, then his only professional club to join the new French addition to the Super League for the 2006 season Les Catalans Dragons. In doing so he became the last foundation member of the Warriors to leave the club.

After the 2006 Rugby League Tri-Nations Final it was announced that Jones was retiring from international football however he returned for a final time against a 'Northern Union' side for New Zealand 'All Golds' to celebrate the centenery of New Zealand's national rugby league team who first toured England in 1907. Jones kicked five goals as the 'All Golds' won 25-18 at Warrington's Halliwell Jones stadium.

Jones helped Catalans reach the 2007 Challenge Cup Final. In September 2007 he announced his retirement from the game and left the Dragons.

Return to New Zealand

Stacey Jones returned home and rejoined the New Zealand Warriors as their kicking coach for the 2008 season. As part of his release from the Dragons he was not allowed to play for any other club during the 2008 season.[9]

During the New Zealand 2008 election Jones publicly appeared with then Prime Minister Helen Clark and offered his support to the Labour Party campaign.[10]

In November 2008 he played for the All Golds again in New Plymouth against the New Zealand Māori. The game served as both a testimonial to Ruben Wiki and a warm up for the 2008 World Cup. Participating in this game made Jones realise he still wanted to play rugby league.[11] On 7 November 2008 it was announced that Stacey Jones had re-signed as a player with the New Zealand Warriors on a one-year contract for 2009. He reportedly signed a contract worth over $220,000.[12]

Warriors comeback

In his March 2009 return game to the NRL, Jones set up two tries and guided his team to a 26-24 victory over Manly, reaffirming his nickname as "The Little General".[13] Despite being predicted to play mostly off the bench in 2009, the early release of incumbent halfback Nathan Fien in June saw Jones thrust into the familiar role of starting playmaker for the Warriors once again. Unfortunately, Jones' early good form didn't continue and the Warriors struggled to a disappointing 14th placing on the ladder.

In early September Jones announced that his comeback was over and he would not be returning for the 2010 NRL season.[14]

Later years

In 2010 Jones will coach the Pt Chev Pirates alongside Awen Guttenbeil.[3]

Awards and achievements

Awards and Honours

  • Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Rugby League
  • Rugby League Players’ Association – Best Back Award (2005)
  • New Zealand Warriors Life Membership (2005)
  • New Zealand Warriors Special Award for 200 NRL games (2004)
  • New Zealand Warriors Special Award for 100 NRL games (1999)
  • Golden Boot Award – World’s Best Rugby League Player of the Year (2002)
  • Halberg Award finalist Sportsman of the Year
  • New Zealand Rugby League Player of the Year (2002, 2001, 1999)
  • New Zealand Rugby League Annual Player of the Year (2002, 1999, 1997)
  • New Zealand Warriors Player of the Year (1997)
  • New Zealand Warriors Back of the Year (1999)
  • New Zealand Warriors Development Player of the Year (1995)
  • New Zealand Rugby League Promising Player of the Year (1995)
  • New Zealand Warriors Supporters’ Player of the Year (1999)
  • Prime TV Viewers' Choice Award (2001)
  • New Zealand Rugby League Personality of the Year (2002)

Captaincy

Achievements

  • 1995 Rugby League World Cup Semi-finalists
  • 1996 Great Britain Tour of New Zealand Series Winner
  • 1997 Rugby League World Club Challenge Semi-finalists
  • 1998 New Zealand Tour of Great Britain Series Winner
    • 1998 New Zealand Tour of Great Britain Player of the Series
  • 1999 Rugby League Tri-Nations
  • 2000 Rugby League World Cup Finalists (Silver)
  • 2002 National Rugby League Minor Premiers
  • 2002 National Rugby League Grand Finalists
  • 2002 New Zealand Tour of Great Britain Series Draw
    • 2002 New Zealand Tour of Great Britain Player of the Series
  • 2003 National Rugby League Semi-finalists
  • 2005 Rugby League Tri-Nations Champions
  • 2007 Rugby League Challenge Cup Finalists

References

  1. ^ Jessup, Peter (2005-08-18). "Stacey's 'the epitome of a New Zealand champion'". nzherald.co.nz (APN Holdings NZ Limited). http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10341325. Retrieved 2009-12-17.  
  2. ^ Coffey and Wood The Kiwis: 100 Years of International Rugby League ISBN 1869710908
  3. ^ a b Old boys fight to keep Pirates afloat New Zealand Herald, 8 November 2009
  4. ^ Warriors profile: Stacey Jones TVNZ/One Sport, 30 March 2005
  5. ^ a b Stacey Jones bio rugbyleague.co.nz
  6. ^ Schoolboy Stars Clash In Bundaberg Queensland Rugby League, 25 June, 2008
  7. ^ Test half Jones given the green light to resume playing AAP Sports News, 15 March 2000
  8. ^ Kiwi's Check Out Stacey Jones Rugby League Gameplanet, 17 October 2003
  9. ^ "Jones Back at Warriors". RLeague.com. 2008-02-18. http://rleague.com/db/article.php?id=29753. Retrieved 2008-02-20.  
  10. ^ Labour's counter-coup - Stacey Jones The National Business Review, 6 November 2008
  11. ^ Thurston, Tallis back Jones' NRL return The Age, 7 November 2008
  12. ^ Salary talk puts heat on Stacey Jones Sunday News, 9 November 2008
  13. ^ Stacey Jones ignites Warriors’ premiership dream The Roar, 23 March 2009
  14. ^ Jones: I leave with no regrets stuff.co.nz, 02 September 2009

Further reading

External links

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