Stevo reflects on his career with friends at Shaw Cross

Mike Stephenson lifts the 1973 Championship trophy for Dewsbury
Mike Stephenson lifts the 1973 Championship trophy for Dewsbury

Retiring Sky Sports rugby league presenter Mike ‘Stevo’ Stephenson reflected on his long broadcasting career, while looking back fondly at his time with Shaw Cross.

Stephenson remains club president at Shaw Cross, the club where he started his career, and hosted the Sharks annual dinner last Monday.

The evening was billed as a ‘Farewell to Stevo’ who left his post at Sky Sports following last Saturday’s Super League Grand Final, following 26 years.

Stephenson will return to Australia, where he played for five years at NRL side Penrith Panthers before working in the media.

Stevo moved to Penrith after winning the Championship with Dewsbury and scoring the winning try in the 1972 World Cup final against Australia.

Stevo always planned to retire when he reached the age of 70, and with his 70th birthday coming up in January he feels he is retiring at the right time.

He said: “I always said that when I got on the verge of 70 that I would retire. It is time for the young kids to take over, I have had a good trot.

“I suppose for many people I have been involved for 40-odd years in the media. I have enjoyed every minute it’s been fantastic. Whether you like it or not you can’t keep going on forever, even when I was playing I felt myself losing that edge, so I retired.”

Stevo also reflected on some fantastic moments he has witnessed during his career, adding: “There was a time down in Australia when Great Britain played Australia in the second test in Melbourne and we won that game, we won it quite convincingly.

“Maybe the game that stands out more than anything is when St Helens, with only seconds remaining on the clock, came from 10 metres away from their own line and finished with Chris Joynt scoring the try, when it looked like Bradford were going on to Old Trafford.”

Stevo takes great pride in the success at Shaw Cross and with eight Under-16s from the Sharks signing professional contracts in recent weeks, Stevo had advice for those moving to academy sides next season.

He said: “You have to be confident, if you are playing any sport you have to learn. You have got to work hard on the things you don’t do well.

“If you can’t tackle with your left shoulder then work hard on that. If you can’t pass from left to right, which quite a lot of players can’t, work on that. All those things where there is a bit of negativity to it, that’s where you have to practice.

“You’ll get disappointments. You have got to work hard at it, no one is going to give it to you.”

Stevo feels that too many players forget their junior development but promises he will never forget his days at Shaw Cross.

He said: “I will never forget what this club offered to me. I was a bit of a wayward lad, 14/15 years of age I thought I knew everything but I didn’t. But this club gave me the opportunity not only to act like a human being, but a good human being.

“To be frank, I wasn’t all that bloody good at it. But slowly and surely I got good.

“The coach was a guy called David Bradshaw, he always said to me I don’t know what it is about you but I think you’ll make it.”

Despite achieving so much in his playing and broadcasting career, Stevo has one moment that he will always remember with the most fondness.

He said: “I have won the Championship with Dewsbury, captained my home team, scored the winning try in the World Cup final that’s all great, but the one thing I look back on with so much pride is that they actually made me the president of this club and that to me is probably one of my biggest honours.”