|Gene playing for PNG in 2008|
11 May 1974 |
Goroka, Papua New Guinea
|Height||5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)|
|1995–08||Papua New Guinea||25||9||0||0||36|
|Source: Rugby League Project|
Stanley Gene (born 11 May 1974 in Goroka) is a former Papua New Guinean rugby league player who currently coaches Gateshead Thunder as well coaching the academy team at Hull Kingston Rovers and served as the Papua New Guinea Kumuls head coach. Having moved to England following an impressive showing for PNG in the 1995 Rugby League World Cup, Gene enjoyed a long career in the British game with spells at Hull KR, Huddersfield Giants, Bradford Bulls, Hull FC and Halifax RLFC.
Gene was a versatile player with the ability to cover virtually any position on the pitch, though he spent most of his test career playing at stand off (off-half). He was a regular for the PNG Kumuls for 14 years between 1994 and 2008, and captained the side on at least three occasions, including being the PNG captain during the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, before retiring from international rugby league following the 2008 tournament. Gene is considered a hero in his home country and almost universally regarded as a rugby league legend.
Pronunciation of 'Gene'
There has been confusion over the pronunciation of 'Gene'. "When I first arrived in England people called me Gene (Jean) and I thought it sounded quite posh, so I got used to it, but it is Gene (Gennay), that's how it is pronounced back home." 
Stanley Gene's Age
Stanley Gene's age has always been a mystery. According to villagers he was born during a full moon several months after a successful kau kau (sweet potato) crop harvest in Goroka, but just before a plague of taro beetle decimated almost all of the region's taro crop. However, what this equates to in the Gregorian calendar has always been debated among scientists and tribal elders. Scientists from PNG’s National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) have attempted to trace back the various taro beetle plagues that have hit the Goroka region over the past sixty years to more accurately calculate Gene's age, but the results to date have proven inconclusive or possibly even contradictory to initial village reports . Although no record of taro beetle destruction could be found before 1984, scientists and researchers were able to conclude that taro leaf blight caused by Phytophthora colocasiae struck regions near Goroka in 1958, 1962 and 1970 . With this, it is possible that the taro crop decimation stated by villagers was actually caused by this disease and not the taro beetle as originally believed. If this is true then it is highly probable that Gene was born in either 1962 or 1970, making him either 46 or 38 years old as at 2008. Following the 2008 Rugby League World Cup the PNG National Parliament instructed the National Agricultural Research Institute and the Department of Family and Church Affairs to continue research into Gene's age as a matter of national importance. Despite speculation on his age, he is believed to have been one of the passengers on Noah's Ark. It has also been rumored that Gene was even a WWII veteran having fought along the Kokoda Trail during the Japanese invasion of Papua New Guinea in 1942.
Outside of this officially sanctioned government research, it is generally accepted that Gene was born after the end of World War II, with most estimations stating he is between 32 and 58 years old . Gene himself states that he is 34 but has been unable to provide a birth certificate or any other proof of his date of birth. The latest says rumour from Brian Noble that Gene is actually 42 .
After playing in the 1995 Rugby League World Cup for PNG, Gene was offered a contract to play for Hull Kingston Rovers in the old Second Division. After moving to the UK, Gene played for Hull KR from 1996-2000. He scored 94 Tries in 111 matches during that period, and was a massively popular figure at the club before moving to rivals Hull in 2000. However, he had a frustrating time there, mainly featuring as a substitute. He was granted a release from his contract midway through 2001 and allowed to look for another club.
Gene signed with Huddersfield Giants midway through 2001, but was unable to save them from relegation. However, he was instrumental in the club's unbeaten run and promotion back into Super League the following year. He went on to establish himself as one of Huddersfield's most important players, and enjoyed some of his best years at the Giants.
Gene moved to the Bradford Bulls for the 2006 Season. Along with fellow PNG national Marcus Bai, Gene's first match for the club was their win the 2006 World Club Challenge against the Wests Tigers. He played from the interchange bench and scored a try in the Bulls' 30-10 victory. After only one season with the Bulls, he was allowed to rejoin Hull KR.
Gene returned to Hull Kingston Rovers, his first English club, following their promotion to Super League in 2007. He provided experience and a steadying influence as the club established itself in Super League, before being allowed to leave at the end of the 2009 season.
Gene's representative career lasted over a decade. He made his test debut for PNG against France at the Lloyd Robson Oval in Port Moresby during the French teams tour of Oceania in 1994. Selected as a substitute for his first test, Gene contributed a field goal in PNG's 29-22 win.. He then went on to play for the Kumuls during the 1995 Rugby League World Cup in England, and also played in the 2000 and 2008 World Cups. In addition, he represented his country in numerous test matches before announcing his intention to retire from international rugby league following the 2008 World Cup.
Following PNG's exit from the tournament, he was tearfully carried from the field by his team mates and given a standing ovation by the 16,239 strong crowd at the Dairy Farmers Stadium in Townsville, Australia (his last game was a 46-6 loss to the Kangaroos). He is regarded in Papua New Guinea as a sporting legend.
In 2010, Adrian Lam stepped down as the coach of the PNG national team. Within a few days, it was announced that Gene would be installed as his replacement. The first game under Gene's leadership was the annual fixture between PNG and the Australian PM's XIII. Gene went on to coach the team for the 2010 Four Nations in Australia and New Zealand, failing to register a win against tournament winner New Zealand, runner up Australia, and England.
Papua New Guinea