Stephen Halsey celebrates record Wheelchair Rugby League season

Stephen Halsey has just finished an outstanding points-scoring season of Wheelchair Rugby League is now looking forward to travelling to the USA with Wales in January.

The Wales Wheelchair side will be travelling to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina to play two senior international matches against the US side, who they beat in the World Cup in 2022 and Halsey, like the rest of the Wales side, are now raising money to pay their air-fares to be able to make the trip.

Halsey’s season has been full of tries and goals. In all competitions in English, Welsh and international competitions for Warrington Wolves, North Wales Crusaders and Wales, in the 27 games he played, he racked up a total of 82 tries and 221 goals (which included four drop goals) equalling 766 points.

Two of the tries and 13 of the goals came in international rugby league. Nobody scored more goals than him in the wheelchair international game this season anywhere in the world, and with 34 points, he was the second-highest wheelchair international points scorer in the world after Ireland’s Peter Johnston. However, neither of these players received a Golden Boot nomination for their efforts.

The season records in the running game in the English leagues are held by Albert Rosenfeld, who scored 80 tries for Huddersfield in the 1913-14 season, and David Watkins, who kicked 221 goals for Salford in 1972-73 and Halsey is honoured to be up there with some of rugby league’s greats.

“I wasn’t really counting the tries until someone told me near to the end of the season,” Halsey said. “But it’s the goals that mean the more to me than the tries to be honest. I’m a kicker and to match a goalscoring record from a fellow Welsh international like David Watkins is a great honour.”

North Wales Crusaders only lost twice in 2023, both in the WRL Invitational League, to Grand Finalists Hereford Harriers and Argonauts, the two leading clubs in the south of England, and he’s delighted to have helped the club in many ways, this year, not just by amassing a points total that is unrivalled in any code of rugby, but to help the development of Wheelchair Rugby League in Wales.

He adds: “I’ve been doing a lot more coaching with our younger players at Crusaders and watching them win their Championship trophy in England and going unbeaten has meant a lot to me. That’s probably been my favourite part of the season.”

Now Halsey is preparing to face USA again after scoring a memorable try against them in the World Cup in 2022.

“It’s going to be amazing,” he said. “We shared a hotel with the Americans at the World Cup, we know them and they’re fantastic. Seeing as that was their introduction to Wheelchair Rugby League, it was an amazing game and both games we play against them in February next year, will I’m sure be nailbiters.

“We’ve a lot of work and we’ll get ourselves ready. Off the field, we’re raising money for our airfares and we’ve a fundraiser online. So whether it’s 50p or £50, anything will help us. We’re trying our best as a team to make it happen, so any contribution that people can make, will really help us.”

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