Stevenson happy to plant new roots at Hemel

Hemel Stags skipper Chris Stevenson is delighted to be helping spread the gospel of Rugby League in the South of England this season.

The former Sydney Roosters youth player, who has been in England for a year or so now, is very much at the heart of the Stags’ onfield plans this season.

With Australian Troy Perkins at the coaching helm, it is to be hoped that the Stags can establish themselves as a third force for the game in the South of England.

“We’re in a position where we’ve had a team in place before, coming into this, and they won the league last year,” he told Love Rugby League.

“I played against Hemel last year in the National 3 for Coventry.

“So everyone’s optimistic, they’re feeling good. We’ve been training since November.

“We’ve got a pretty big squad, with 30 or 40 guys training together. So things look good.”

The vast majority of players at the club are from a Rugby League background too, with fewer converts from Rugby Union than might be expected at a club in the south.

There are also fewer Northern exiles than some might have anticipated.

“We’ve got a couple, including one guy from Dunstable. One guy who’s played for Ealing RUFC in London. But the majority of guys are League players, which is good,” the 26-year-old explained.

“We’ve got a majority of guys with a League background, so we don’t have to convert players.

“There are a lot more southerners than there are northerners.

“There are a lot of local boys. We’ve got a couple of guys who’ve gone down to the London Broncos and then because of the age group change come back to us.

“We’ve got a few Australians, myself and three or four other guys. I’ve got a British passport though.”

Stevenson is also keen to see the game exploit the World Cup this year, and make itself more popular to people in the South of England.

“The south is a Rugby Union dominated area,” he said.

“The World Cup makes this the year to promote Rugby League in the south. Especially now that there are three clubs down here, the Broncos in Super League, the Scholars and ourselves.

“If we all do well, then hopefully the southern area will start to see Rugby League as the game they want to play rather than Rugby Union.”

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