Gene playing for PNG in 2008
11 May 1974 |
Goroka, Papua New Guinea
|Height||5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)|
|Weight||87 kg (13 st 10 lb)|
|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 Kingston Rovers, Huddersfield Giants, Bradford Bulls, Hull F.C. and Halifax.
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.
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 to 2000. He scored 94 Tries in 111 matches during that period, and was a massively popular figure at the club. He moved to Gateshead and was then forced to play for rivals Hull F.C. when they merged. 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.
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.
Gene lives in Yorkshire with his wife, Joanna, and two sons, Elliott and Leo. In 2006, he paid for the installation of electricity in his home village of Segu, located on the outskirts of Goroka. In 2012, he set up the Stanley Gene Foundation, aiming to supply donations to send to the deprived areas of Papua New Guinea.
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 was a major talking point about the player for many years. Although his date of birth registered with the RFL was 11 May 1974, many of his former team mates and coaches insisted he was considerably older than this.
In 2008, Gene himself stated that he was 34, and explained that some people believe that Papua New Guineans "look older in the face" than in other countries. Despite this explanation, it was rumoured that he was unable to provide a birth certificate to prove his age, and that he allegedly held several passports with different dates of birth. Former Wigan player Bryan Fletcher predicted that Gene could be as old as 45.
On 11 May 2013, Gene confirmed that it was his 39th birthday. He showed guests at his birthday dinner his birth certificate, which confirmed that his date of birth is 11 May 1974.
- "Gene's fashion a style of his own - leaguehq.com.au". Archived from the original on 2008-12-11. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
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- "Golden oldies prove quality can be lasting". Yorkshire Post. Johnston Press. 5 February 2007. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Ritchie, Dean (16 October 2008). "Ageless warrior credits genes". The Daily Telegraph. Fox Sports. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
- Hadfield, Dave (24 October 2008). "Stanley Gene: How old a man is Stan?". The Independent. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
- "Brian Noble on England's narrow win". BBC Sport. 25 October 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
- "Hull and Papua New Guinea rugby league legend Stanley Gene holds birthday bash at Bilton's Swiss Cottage pub". Hull Daily Mail. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
Papua New Guinea