Stacey Jones’ much-decorated career has been iced with induction into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame.
At the Halberg Awards in Auckland last night, the 38-year-old Kiwi and Vodafone Warriors legend was elevated to take a place alongside just seven other New Zealanders previously inducted for their rugby league deeds.
He joined champion yachtswoman Barbara Kendall as the two inductees named last night.
With his great supporter Sir Peter Leitcn and Dame Susan Devoy on stage for the presentation, Jones accepted the award by saying: "This is certainly comething I feel very honoured and humble about.
"When I reflect on where it all started, for me, it was at my junior club of Pt Chev Pirates, playing for the Kiwis and playing for the Warriors.
"I've had a lot of support from my parents, my wife and my kids. To be standing up here with Sir Peter and receiving this is a massive honour."
Jones’ recognition came on a night when the 2014 Kiwis were in contention for three awards at the Halbergs. The Four Nations winners were finalists in the team of the year category, Stephen Kearney was in line for coach of the year and the Kiwis’ performance in the final was vying for 2014’s favourite sporting moment.
Ultimately rowers Eric Murray and Hamish Bond won the team award – and the overall title – while cycling’s Anthony Peden was named coach of the year and Brendon McCullum’s landmark triple century against India was voted the favourite sporting moment.
Earlier in the evening, though, Jones presented impeccable credentials to take his place among a legion of New Zealand sporting legends including Snell, Lovelock, Hillary, Halberg, Lydiard, Sutcliffe, Whineray, Charles, McLaren, Hulme, Amon, Lochore, Meads, Hadlee, Crowe, Todd, Devoy, Ferguson, MacDonald, Blake and more.
Rugby league greats previously inducted were Albert Baskerville, Tom Baxter, player of the century Mark Graham, Ces Mountford, Charlie Seeling, George Smith and Des White.
Late last year Jones was inducted into the Maori Sports Hall of Fame.
Jones ended his playing career in 2009 after 261 appearances for the Vodafone Warriors having played the last of his 46 Tests in the 2006 Tri Nations final against the Kangaroos. He also made 45 appearances for Les Catalans in the English Super League. He still holds Vodafone Warriors records for most appearances, most points (674), most consecutive appearances (100) and most field goals (14).
He has now embarked on the next phase of his rugby league career as a coach. Having guided the Vodafone Junior Warriors to premiership success in his rookie season as the club’s NYC coach in 2014, he has stepped up to take charge of the Vodafone Warriors’ New South Wales Cup side this year.
Born: May 7, 1976
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand
Position: Vodafone Warriors New South Wales Cup coach 2015
Previous Roles: Vodafone Junior Warriors coach 2014
Vodafone Junior Warriors junior recruitment and pathways coach 2013
Auckland Rugby League football development officer 2012
Point Chevalier coach 2010-2011
Vodafone Warriors skills coach 2008
Junior Clubs: Ponsonby-Maritime, Pt Chevalier (Auckland)
NRL Career: Vodafone Warriors 1995-2005, 2009
Club No: 24
NRL Debut: Vodafone Warriors v Parramatta, Parramatta Stadium, Sydney, April 23, 1995
NRL Career: 261 appearances 1995-2005, 2009
NRL Points: 674 (77 tries, 176 goals, 14 field goals)
Super League: Les Catalans Dragons 2006-2007
Super League Debut: Les Catalans v Wigan, Stade Aime Giral, Perpignan, February 11, 2006
Super League Career: 45 appearances 2006-2007
Super League Points: 133 (11 tries, 43 goals, 3 field goals)
Test Debut: v Tonga, Warrington, October 8, 1995 (World Cup)
Test Career: 46 tests for Kiwis 1995-2006; 6 tests as captain 2002 and 2006
Test Points: 160 (16 tries, 47 goals, 2 field goals)
Kiwi Number: 665
Awards: Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit 2005
Golden Boot Award 2002
New Zealand Player of the Year 1991, 1992, 2002
Vodafone Warriors Player of the Year 1997
Educated: St Paul’s College (Auckland)