In memory of Steven
Twenty-five years ago a young schoolboy Rugby League player called Steven Mullaney thrilled television viewers across the country by scoring a superb solo try, as Wakefield Schools defeated St Helens 17-0 in the traditional Under 11s curtain raiser at Wembley, before the 1986 Challenge Cup Final.
Tragically, Steven died in a road traffic accident the following year and, as a tribute to him, the English Schools’ Year Seven (Under 11s) game, was renamed the “The Steven Mullaney Memorial Game”.
Since then, generations of young players have carried on Stephen’s joy of playing Rugby League by producing what is an exciting game which has become an important part of the Challenge Cup Final day.
And some of those young players have gone on to make their mark in both the professional and international arena.
The famous names include: Joe Lydon (Widnes, Wigan & Great Britain); David Hulme (Widnes & Great Britain); Mike Ford (Wigan, Castleford & Great Britain); David Plange (Castleford, Warrington & Great Britain); Denis Betts (Wigan, Auckland Warriors & Great Britain); Bobbie Goulding (Wigan, Leeds, Widnes, St Helens, Rochdale Hornets & Great Britain); Terry O’Connor (Wigan, Oldham, Wigan, Widnes Vikings & Great Britain); Phil Clarke (Wigan, Sydney Roosters & Great Britain); Chev Walker (Leeds Rhinos & Great Britain); Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos & Great Britain) and Sam Tomkins (Wigan Warriors, England)
This year, as every year, the Carnegie Champion Schools Tournament Year Seven Final will be a vital component of the Wembley experience and a great warm up to the Carnegie Challenge Cup Final.
The showcase fixture gives Year Seven players the opportunity to perform in front of tens of thousands of fans with the possibility of appearing in front of millions of television viewers across the nation.
This fantastic opportunity and invaluable experience is only part of what the young players can gain from playing Rugby League in the sport’s biggest knock-out competition, the Carnegie Champion Schools Tournament.
The Carnegie Champion Schools Tournament introduces youngsters to playing team sport on a national basis.
This delivers a sporting challenge as well as helping to develop a child’s personal and social skills.
It is also often the first glimpse of Rugby League’s champion players of the future and shows the sport’s vibrancy.
That is surely a fitting tribute to Rugby League’s Year Seven pioneer Steven Mullaney.