Steve Prescott

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Steve Prescott
Steve Prescott.jpg
Personal information
Full name Stephen Prescott
Born (1973-12-26)26 December 1973
St Helens, England
Died 9 November 2013(2013-11-09) (aged 39)
Oxford, England[2]
Playing information
Height 178 cm (5 ft 10 in)[1]
Weight 88 kg (13 st 12 lb)[1]
Position Fullback
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1992–97 St. Helens 117 52 66 0 340
1998–99 Hull Sharks 40 15 63 2 188
2000 Wakefield Trinity 25 3 13 0 38
2001–03 Hull 67 41 134 1 433
Total 249 111 276 3 999
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1994–95 Great Britain U21 2 1 3 0 10
1996 England 2 3 7 0 26
2000 Ireland 4 1 17 0 38
2003 Lancashire 1 0 0 0 0
Source: [3]

Stephen Prescott MBE (26 December 1973 – 9 November 2013) was an international rugby league footballer. Prescott was born in St Helens, and started his professional career with his hometown club, who signed him in 1992. He made his debut for St Helens a year later, and soon established himself as the club's first choice fullback. In 1996, Prescott helped Saints win the league championship and Challenge Cup for the first time in two decades. He went on to win a second consecutive Challenge Cup with the club in 1997, but was sold to Hull Sharks at the end of the season.

After spending two years at Hull, Prescott joined Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, but rejoined Hull a year later after being released by Wakefield due to the club's financial difficulties.

Prescott made his senior international debut in 1996, playing both games for England in their European Championship victory. He later changed his international allegiance to Ireland, who he represented at the 2000 Rugby League World Cup. He also made one appearance for Lancashire in 2003, but suffered a serious knee injury while playing for the team, which ultimately ended his playing career.

In 2006, Prescott was diagnosed with a rare form of stomach cancer and was given months to live. He set up the Steve Prescott Foundation in 2007, and went on to organise a series of money-raising initiatives. He raised almost half a million pounds for charity through the foundation, and was awarded an MBE in 2009 for his efforts. After a long battle with the disease, he died in 2013, aged 39.

In October 2013 a small group of people started a campaign to get the highest honour in English Rugby League the Man of Steel Award to be renamed after Steve. On 5th of March 2014 the RFL announced that the Man of Steel award will be renamed after Steve and is now known as the Steve Prescott Man of Steel Award

Early life[edit]

Steve Prescott was born in St Helens on 26 December 1973. He attended De La Salle High School,[4] and is the son of Eric Prescott, a forward who played for St Helens, Salford and Widnes. Prescott was introduced to sports from an early age, often playing both football and rugby league on the same weekend.[5] Prescott trialled with several football clubs, including Liverpool,[6] before opting to focus on rugby league during his teens.[7] He was playing for local amateur side Nutgrove before signing for St Helens in 1992.

Club career[edit]

Although he was initially deemed too small to make the grade by Saints,[6] Prescott secured his future at the club with some impressive performances for the reserve team.[5] He made his debut for the first team in September 1993 against Leigh, and scored his first try later that year against Hull.[8] He made 15 appearances and kicked 29 goals during his debut season, playing as a winger,[5] or deputising for Dave Lyon at fullback.[9]

Although there were still concerns about his size,[10] he established himself as the team's first-choice fullback during the 1994–95 season, with Lyon moving to the centres.[8] On 20 December 1994, he scored his first career hat-trick in a 50–22 win against Batley in a Regal Trophy third round replay. A couple of days later, he was rewarded with a new four-year contract.[11] He was a near-ever present throughout the season, appearing 34 times and scoring 20 tries.[12] In 1995–96, he played for Saints in the Regal Trophy final, losing the match 16–25 against Wigan. Prescott won his first silverware during the inaugural Super League season in 1996, scoring four tries against Sheffield Eagles in the penultimate game of the season as the club went on to secure its first league championship since 1975. He also played for Saints at fullback in the 1996 Challenge Cup Final, scoring two tries in the first seventeen minutes and helping his team to a 40–32 victory against Bradford Bulls.[3] The following season, he was part of the team that won the 1997 Challenge Cup, once again defeating Bradford Bulls in the final. In November 1997, after failing to agree a new contract with Saints, he was signed by newly promoted Hull Sharks, along with Alan Hunte and Simon Booth, for a combined transfer fee of £350,000.[2]

In February 1998, Prescott debuted for Hull in the Challenge Cup against Whitehaven, and scored his first try for the club in the next round against Ellenborough Rangers. In April 1998, he scored two tries against Sheffield Eagles in his first Super League game for the club, and became the club's regular goal kicker later that year. In the 1999 season, Prescott missed two months of the season through injury due to a dislocated elbow. With Hull struggling near the bottom of the table, and the club being unable to afford his wages, Prescott confirmed he was likely to leave when his contract expired in the winter.[13] Hull won their final game for the season against Sheffield, with Prescott kicking six goals, and finished in 13th place – one position above bottom club Huddersfield Giants due to a superior goal difference.

Prescott signed for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in 2000, scoring 3 tries in 25 games, but his contract was terminated after one season to ease the club's financial problems. He subsequently rejoined Hull.[14] In April 2001, Prescott was one of 12 former Wakefield players to take the club to an employment tribunal claiming unfair dismissal, and was awarded compensation after the club was found to be in breach of contract.[15]

At the start of the 2003 season, Prescott scored a hat trick in the opening Super League fixture against former club Wakefield. On 26 June 2003, two weeks after signing a new contract with Hull,[16] Prescott played his last game for the club, also against Wakefield, scoring two tries and six goals in a 44–4 win[12] before sustaining a career-ending knee injury a week later while representing Lancashire.[17] Despite only playing 19 games, Prescott scored 216 points – the highest total in his career that he achieved during a single season,[3] and finished as Hull's second highest try scorer for the season with 18 tries.[18]

Representative career[edit]

Prescott made his representative debut in November 1994, playing at fullback for Great Britain's under-21 side against Australia, who were touring Great Britain and France. Despite Great Britain's heavy 54–10 defeat, Prescott was one of the players singled out for praise, having scored all of the team's points (one try and three goals).[19] In January 1995, he was selected to represent Great Britain in the Rugby League World Sevens.[20] He made a second appearance for the under-21's later that year in a 17–16 loss against France.

In 1996, Prescott played both games for England in the European Championship, including a man of the match performance against France, scoring two tries and kicking seven goals in the 73–6 win, a then-record margin of victory for England.[21] The 22 points scored by Prescott was also an individual record for most points scored in a single match for England until this was surpassed by Richie Myler in 2009.[22] He also scored a try in the deciding game against Wales, helping the team finish as tournament winners with a 26–12 win. Later that year, he was selected in the squad for the Great Britain tour of Papua New Guinea, Fiji and New Zealand, but did not feature in any Test matches.[23]

In 1998, Prescott changed his international allegiance to Ireland, qualifying under the grandparent rule.[24] He represented Ireland at the 2000 Rugby League World Cup, playing in all four of their games before being knocked out by England in the quarter-final. Prescott scored one try (in the opening game against Samoa) and kicked 17 goals during the tournament.

Prescott also made one appearance for Lancashire against Yorkshire in July 2003 at Odsal Stadium. He suffered a broken kneecap during the game, which was initially expected to keep him out of action for two months.[25] Prescott did not play again for the rest of the year, however, and required a second knee operation after suffering from discomfort when returning to pre-season training ahead of the 2004 season.[26] In June 2004, after failing to fully recover from the injury, Prescott announced his retirement at the age of 30.

Personal life[edit]

In September 2006, Prescott was diagnosed with pseudomyxoma peritonei, a rare form of cancer, and was told that he would not see his two children grow up; he was given months to live. He underwent an emergency operation in Basingstoke Hospital and a tumour was removed from his stomach. In February 2007, a charity boxing event, featuring a bout between Stuart Fielden and Lee Radford, helped raise more than £50,000 in aid of Prescott.[27]

Steve Prescott Foundation[edit]

In August 2007, Prescott set up the Steve Prescott Foundation, which aimed to raise funds for two organisations: Christie Hospital, a leading cancer treatment centre in Europe, and Try Assist, the Rugby Football League's benevolent fund. In order to raise funds, Prescott went to organise a number of charity boxing tournaments and rugby league games, with a number of Prescott's former team-mates taking part. He also took part in a series of challenges, including running in the London Marathon and cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats while completing the National Three Peaks Challenge en route.[4]

He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2010 New Year Honours for services to rugby league and charity.[28]

Shortly after Prescott's death in 2013, the foundation had raised almost £500,000.

Death and legacy[edit]

Steve Prescott died on 9 November 2013,[29] more than seven years after his diagnosis with cancer. In February 2014, it was confirmed that Prescott's former clubs, St Helens and Hull, would compete annually for the "Steve Prescott Cup" in tribute to the player.[30] A month later, it was announced that the Super League's Man of Steel award would be renamed in Prescott's honour.[31]

Honours[edit]

Club

International

  • European Rugby League Championship: 1996

Individual

March 2014 the Man of Steel award was named after him and will be given to the best player each season of the English Super League

Statistics[edit]

Season Team Apps Tries Goals DG Points
1993–94 St Helens 15 3 29 0 70
1994–95 34 20 5 0 90
1995–96 21 8 15 0 62
1996 27 15 17 0 94
1997 20 6 0 0 24
1998 Hull Sharks 21 8 20 0 72
1999 19 7 43 2 116
2000 Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 25 3 13 0 38
2001 Hull 26 17 55 1 179
2002 22 6 7 0 38
2003 19 18 72 0 216
Total 249 111 276 3 999

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Steve Prescott". Hull FC. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Hadfield, Dave (15 November 2013). "Steve Prescott: Sportsman who raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity after being diagnosed with terminal cancer". The Independent. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "steveprescottfoundation.co.uk". Steve Prescott Stats. Steve Prescott Foundation. Retrieved 3 June 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Steve Prescott - Obituary". The Telegraph. 14 November 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Service, Alex. "Stephen Prescott The Life and Times of a true Sporting Legend". Steve Prescott Foundation. Retrieved 3 January 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Thomas, Phil (29 April 1996). "Steve's A Little Belter". The Sun (News International). p. SP/4. 
  7. ^ Critchley, Mike (9 November 2013). "Steve Prescott was one in a million". St Helens Star. Newsquest (North West). Retrieved 3 January 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Dooley, Dave; Service, Alex. "Steve Prescott". Saints Heritage Society. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  9. ^ Hadfield, Dave (24 December 1993). "Rugby League: Hughes has early look at Wigan". The Independent. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  10. ^ Hadfield, Dave (7 January 1995). "Fearless Prescott on growth curve". The Independent. Retrieved 3 January 2014. 
  11. ^ Fitzpatrick, Paul (22 December 1994). "Rugby League: Dons in trouble". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 February 2014. (subscription required (help)). 
  12. ^ a b "Obituary: Steve Prescott MBE (1973-2013)". TotalRL.com. League Publications. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  13. ^ Hadfield, Dave (12 September 1999). "Prescott on salvage mission". The Independent. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  14. ^ Hadfield, Dave (9 September 2000). "Wakefield's spirit is intact". The Independent. Retrieved 3 January 2014. 
  15. ^ "Goodway calls for aid package". BBC Sport. 24 April 2001. Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
  16. ^ "Prescott signs Hull deal". BBC Sport. 12 June 2003. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  17. ^ "Injury finishes Prescott". BBC Sport. 18 June 2004. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  18. ^ "Super League VIII 2003 - Hull FC". Rugby League Project. Shawn Dollin, Andrew Ferguson and Bill Bates. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  19. ^ Irvine, Christopher (16 November 1994). "Prescott shows promise; Rugby League". The Times (News International). 
  20. ^ Hadfield, Dave (13 January 1995). "Rugby League: Offiah leads way to Sevens". The Independent. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  21. ^ Fitzpatrick, Paul (13 June 1996). "Rugby League: Prescott inspires England record European Championship: England 73, France 6". The Guardian. p. 25. 
  22. ^ Bott, Richard (16 June 2009). "France 12pts England 66pts: Myler leads the way but it's all too easy". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  23. ^ Wilson, Andy (17 December 2013). "Steve Prescott obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  24. ^ "Rugby League: Irish welcome Prescott". The Independent. 28 June 1998. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  25. ^ Hadfield, Dave (5 July 2003). "RUGBY LEAGUE: Great Britain reward Thorman for Origin exploits". The Independent. p. 4. (subscription required (help)). 
  26. ^ Ledger, John (17 December 2003). "Prescott optimistic of making Hull return". Yorkshire Post. Johnston Press. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  27. ^ "Radford wins £50,000 charity bout". BBC Sport. 3 February 2007. Retrieved 8 March 2014. 
  28. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59282. p. 21. 31 December 2009.
  29. ^ BBC Sport, "Rugby League star Steve Prescott dies of stomach cancer, aged 39", 9 November 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013
  30. ^ "St Helens and Hull FC to compete for Steve Prescott Cup". BBC Sport. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  31. ^ "Steve Prescott: Man of Steel to be renamed in late player's honour". BBC Sport. 5 March 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  32. ^ "Former Hull FC player honoured by university". BBC News. 12 July 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 

External links[edit]