The long and rich history of Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Football Club

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Jamie Rooney

When we talk about players ‘coming through the ranks’, few players could have served a longer apprenticeship that Jamie Rooney. Match reports from Under 7s, Under 9s and Under11s featuring his name began to appear in Rovers match programmes from the early 1990s, and it was no surprise when he signed for his hometown club as a teenager. He was blooded in the post-season Treize Tournoi at the end of the 1998 season, and coach Kevin Hobbs had seen enough to know that young Jamie was capable of holding down a first team spot at 18 years old.

He made his league debut on 16th of May at Doncaster 1999, but he still had to dislodge the incumbent Paddy Handley from the number seven shirt. The arrival of Peter Roe saw Handley switch to stand-off, Rooney stayed at seven and what’s more took over the goal kicking from Stuart Dickens. He ended that first year with 9 tries and 72 goals from just 17 starts, a sign of things to come as far as his points scoring exploits were concerned. Jamie’s strengths lay in his distribution and kicking game, standing mostly at first receiver. He also knew when to drop the shoulder and ghost through the defensive line, as his try scoring record shows. In 2000 he racked up an impressive 331 points,  followed that with 311 the year after,  before leaving the best till last. In the 2002 season a long standing goal kicking record held by Steve Quinn was finally broken by Rooney who kicked 165 goals in the year. His 429 points was also a record, eclipsing Martin Pearson’s previous high of 391. In 118 Featherstone games he scored 66 tries, kicked 510 goals (4th on the all-time list) and 1,247 points (5th on the all-time list).
As one of the top talents at the club, indeed the whole league, his time with Rovers was regularly punctuated by speculation of interest from richer clubs. A proposed move to Widnes fell through, a trial spell at Castleford in 2001 was badly managed by coach Graham Steadman. He finally got a super league chance when he signed for Wakefield before the start of the 2003 season. He spent seven years at Belle Vue, racking up some impressive statistics and gaining international honours when he was selected for England to play France in 2003, and then again in 2006. From Wakefield he moved to Barrow, then Whitehaven, and very briefly back to Featherstone in 2014 before retiring.

No comments:

Post a Comment