Featherstone Rovers have confirmed that long-serving Club Captain Stuart Dickens has retired in order to join the coaching staff of neighbours Wakefield. The club will be holding a special evening on Saturday 17 November to celebrate Stuart’s career.
The 32-year-old prop forward, who has spent his entire playing career with the club apart from a nine-game spell in Super League with Salford City Reds in 2005, has been appointed as the Wildcats’ new Under-19s coach. Dickens, made more than 400 appearances for the club since making his debut in 1998 scoring more than 1,500 points.
Stuart Dickens said “Wakefield is my hometown club so I will be honoured to become part of the coaching staff. There has been communication between the clubs for a number of weeks but for me it’s all happened quickly. In that time I’ve had to make a decision to hang up my boots and retire from playing, pack my day job in and take this job.
“It’s been a massive decision but quite an easy one too once I sat down and talked about it. There comes a time in everybody’s career when you have to pack in playing. I was contracted to play for another year but I’ve been struggling with a couple of injuries towards the end of last season and now it’s finished I have still not totally got over them. Things were going through my mind a little bit so once this opportunity came up it made my mind up.”
“I would like to thank all Featherstone Rovers fans for their fantastic support during my career, they have been great and I am sad to be leaving but my body feels tired and the opportunity to work full time was one I couldn’t turn down. I would like to thank Chairman Mark Campbell and Daryl Powell for allowing it to happen. I’d like to wish Daryl, Ryan and the boys the best of luck for the future.”
Featherstone Rovers Head Coach Daryl Powell said “Stuart Dickens is and will always be a Featherstone Rovers legend, there can be few who have given as much over so long a time at the club. Since I have been here it has been a pleasure to work with a true gentleman and a player of considerable stature who played in just about every game I have coached at the club.
“Stu has been an admirable leader and player in my four years at the club and as captain has been a great link between players and coaching staff. The opportunity that has presented itself for Stu is an outstanding chance for him to cut his teeth as a coach which he simply could not turn down.
“I would like to wish him all the best at Wakefield Wildcats as he moves into a new career. Stuart will long be remembered at Featherstone by both fans and players alike as a quality player and bloke.”
Featherstone Rovers Chief Executive Craig Poskitt said “I would like to echo Daryl’s comments about Stuart. He has been a magnificent player for Featherstone Rovers and is highly thought of by everyone at the club. All at Featherstone Rovers wish him the vest best in his new career. We are currently in discussions with two Super League players to replace Stuart and an announcement will be made in due course.”
On Saturday 17th November the club will be holding a special evening celebrating Stuart’s career. The evening held at the Big Fellas Stadium will include a film highlighting his memorable career and include interviews with former playing colleagues.
The evening is a ticket-only event with first team players in attendance and will include a curry and a pint for £10 per person. The club will be making a donation to Pontefract Hospice from proceeds from the event.