Adrian Shelford

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Adrian Shelford
Personal information
Full name Adrian Tremain Shelford
Born 4 January 1964
Christchurch, New Zealand
Died 19 September 2003 (aged 39)
Wigan, England
Playing information
Position Prop, Second-row
Years Team Pld T G FG P
19??–85 Hornby
1986–87 Upper Hutt
1987–90 Wigan 82 5 0 0 20
1988 Newcastle Knights 5 0 0 0 0
1990 Manly Sea Eagles 11 0 0 0 0
1990–92 Wakefield Trinity 36
1992 Sheffield Eagles 4
Total 138 5 0 0 20
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1984–85 Canterbury 11
1984–85 South Island 5
1986–87 Wellington 10
1986–87 Central Districts
1986 New Zealand Māori
1986–89 New Zealand 8 1 0 0 4
1988 Rest of the World 1 0 0 0 0
Source: [1]

Adrian Tremain Shelford[2] (1964 – 19 September 2003 (aged 39)), born in New Zealand, was a rugby league player who represented his country. Shelford played for Wigan and Wakefield Trinity (Heritage № 984) in the Championship as well as the Newcastle Knights and Manly Sea Eagles in the NSWRL Premiership as a prop.

Early years[edit]

Shelford played for Hornby and Canterbury before moving to Wellington to advance his career. He was named the Canterbury Rugby League Player of the Year in 1984. He made the Junior Kiwis in 1982 and 1983.[3]

In Wellington, Shelford joined the Upper Hutt Tigers.

Professional career[edit]

Shelford moved to England in 1987 with both St Helens R.F.C. and Wigan claiming to have secured his signature. Shelford eventually joined Wigan after it was ruled by the High Court that he had not entered into a binding commitment to play for Saints. He appeared in 21 matches for Wigan and was part of the Challenge Cup winning side that beat Halifax 32–12 before 94,273 spectators at Wembley Stadium.

After a short stint with the Newcastle Knights during the 1988 season, he was back at Wigan. He played in 40 games during the 1988–89 season, the most number of matches by any player at the club. Shelford featured in the Challenge Cup Final win over St. Helens by 27–0 in front of a crowd of 78,000 spectators. Shelford played Left-Prop, i.e. number 8, and scored a try in Wigan's 22–17 victory over Salford in the 1988 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1988–89 season at Knowsley Road on Sunday 23 October 1988.[4]

Shelford played Left-Prop, i.e. number 8, (replaced by Interchange/Substitute Andy Goodway on 20-minutes) in Wigan's 12-6 victory over Widnes in the 1988–89 John Player Special Trophy Final during the 1988–89 season at Burnden Park, Bolton on Saturday 7 January 1989.[5]

Shelford played 22 matches for the Wigan club in the 1989/90 season, and was back again at Wembley Stadium to help Wigan to a win over Warrington. "He was someone that would do the hard yards and lay the platform for the backs," said former team-mate Kevin Iro.[citation needed] Shelford had a stint with Manly in the Australian competition in 1990, appearing in 11 matches, with most of those coming off the bench.

Shelford headed over to Wakefield Trinity in during the 1990–91 season, playing 28 games. Shelford played Left-Prop, i.e. number 8, in Wakefield Trinity's 8–11 defeat by Castleford in the 1990 Yorkshire County Cup Final during the 1990–91 season at Elland Road on Sunday 23 September 1990. He was involved in eight games in 1991–92 season with the Belle Vue outfit before finishing the season with four games for the Sheffield Eagles.

Representative career[edit]

Shelford represented the New Zealand Under 17's in 1981 and was a Junior Kiwi the following year while playing for Christchurch club Hornby. In 1984, his first full senior year, he made his début for South Island. He played 11 provincial games for Canterbury before being chosen to tour Great Britain and France with the New Zealand Kiwis in 1985. He was involved in 11 games on that tour but did not feature in any of the Test matches.

He moved to Wellington club Upper Hutt in 1986 and went on to represent the district in 10 provincial matches between 1986 and 1987. He represented the New Zealand Māori in the 1986 Pacific Cup.[6]

He made his Test début in 1987 against Papua New Guinea at Goroka and Port Moresby before taking on the Australians in 1987 in which the Kiwis scored a famous 13–6 win over the world champions at Lang Park.

“We were confident of beating the Aussies. We have a side that I believe is the best in the world, which is good for the game in New Zealand," Shelford said at the time.[citation needed]

He played just four games, including one test, on the 1989 tour of Great Britain before being injured. Overall, he appeared in eight test matches as well as representing the Rest of the World in 1988 against Australia at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Personal life[edit]

Shelford's league career was ended by a knee injury at the age of 27.[7]

He planned for life after rugby league by graduating with honours from Edge Hill University. He was teaching at a local high school and had just gained promotion when he died.

On 19 September 2003 Shelford died of a heart attack in England, aged 39.[8]

His cousin Wayne Shelford played rugby union for the All Blacks.

His son Kyle Shelford made his début for Wigan Warriors against the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats on Friday 8 July 2016.[9]


  1. ^ RLP
  2. ^ SHELFORD, Adrian Tremain 1985 – 89 – Kiwi #585 Archived 2 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Coffey, John. Canterbury XIII, Christchurch, 1987.
  4. ^ "1988–1989 Lancashire Cup Final". 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "1988–1989 John Player Special Trophy Final". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  6. ^ John Coffey, Bernie Wood (2008). 100 years: Māori rugby league, 1908–2008. Huia Publishers. pp. 224–226. ISBN 978-1-86969-331-2. 
  7. ^ Team of the Century – Week 6 Wellington Rugby League
  8. ^ "Ex-NZ prop Shelford dies". BBC. 20 September 2003. Retrieved 12 May 2008. 
  9. ^ Shelford: I wish dad was here to see debut

External links[edit]