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

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Stuart Dickens

Stuart made his debut in the front-row during the successful 1998 season under Australian coach Steve Sims and credit to the coach he saw real potential in the young player and kept him in the team for the rest of the year. 27 games in the front row in his debut year, a Championship final and to within a whisker of super league was a phenomenal start to Dickens’ career. By the middle of the following season, still a teenager but now firmly established in the front row alongside Richard Chapman and Hitro Okesene, it was already hard to imagine the Rovers team without Stuart’s reassuring presence. In 2003 he took over the goal-kicking duties after the retirement of Jamie Rooney and had two good seasons with the boot. After seven years and over 200 career games already, the call of super league came and he signed for Salford City Reds for the 2005 season. Hampered by injury and with the coaching staff unable to get the best out of him, Stuart came back to Featherstone within a year, where he was welcomed with open arms. 

From 2006 he took over where he left off, leading from the front and taking over the kicking duties. David Hobbs appointed him club captain, a position he held for seven years. He developed a reputation for lengthy on-field spells in an age where props rarely do more than short bursts. He held the kicking duties for four more years, his best year being 2007 when he kicked 128 goals. That was also his benefit year after ten season service and he celebrated by leading Rovers to playoff success at Headingley and taking Rovers back to the Championship. He later of course captained the side in three successive grand finals in 2010, 2011 and 2012. 

He finally retired at the end of last season and he was elected into the Rovers Hall of Fame. His career total of 632 goals and two drop-goals left him second only to Steve Quinn on Rovers’ all-time list. His points total of 1,550 was also second only to Quinn. His durability was remarkable as he rarely missed a match through injury, and therefore inevitably played regularly through the pain barrier. Over fifteen seasons he managed 421 games, third only to Ernie Barraclough and Jim Denton, players from a bygone age. Without his brief spell at Salford he may well have beaten them both too. He now coaches Wakefield Trinity’s Academy team.

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