KEIGHLEY Cougars are this morning delighted to announce the signing of Alix Stephenson.
The utility back arrives at Cougar Park on a one-year deal, joining after a successful trial with the club following his release from the Bradford Bulls.
And the signing of Alix carries the Stephenson name into a third generation at the club, as he follows in the footsteps of his Grandad, John, Father, Andy, and Uncle, Phil, in playing for the Cougars.
“Alix has brought a sense of professionalism to the club,” said Head Coach Rhys Lovegrove.
“He has brought this professionalism ever since I first brought him into the club on trial for pre-season and it is a rare quality to find in a player as young as he is.
“Alix has a real thirst to learn and expand his knowledge and ability of the game and has improved in every single session since we began training in November.
“It was an easy decision for me to sign Alix to a permanent deal and have him on board for the 2021 season.”
Beginning his Rugby League career in the junior sides at the Queensbury community club in Bradford, Alix caught the eye of Andrew Henderson who signed him for the Sheffield Eagles scholarship side.
Unfortunately for the young back, the Eagles disbanded their academy set-up twelve months later and this saw Stephenson make the decision to join a number of his former Sheffield teammates in the Oulton Raiders Under 17’s side.
As well as playing for Oulton, Stephenson would dual register with Queensbury and played for their open age side alongside his dad, former Cougars star Andy.
Reaching the end of his junior career, Alix would further his Rugby League career by joining the Bradford Bulls on a two-year deal, with John Bastian offering him the deal following a successful trial at the Bulls then home of Odsal Stadium.
Becoming a regular in both the Bulls under-19 and reserves sides, John Kear would give ‘Stevo’ his professional debut in April 2019 as Alix came from the interchanges bench in a defeat away at the Featherstone Rovers.
A further first team appearance would follow later that season in a 1895 Cup loss away at Barrow Raiders, but with a combination of limited opportunities and COVID-19 at Bradford, Alix became a free agent and Rhys Lovegrove acted fast to give him the opportunity to earn a contract with the Cougars which Stephenson took with both hands.
Chairman Mick O’Neill said: “I’m really pleased that the club have signed Alix.
“The signing of Alix carries on a family tradition of the Stephenson’s playing at this club with him following his grandfather, father, and uncle, and it is great to have him here.
“He joins us from Bradford, and I feel that their loss is our gain as he is a talented youngster and from what Rhys tell me is really coming on in training.
“It can only aid Alix’s development to learn, and be surrounded by, experienced players who play in positions that Alix can play in such as QLT and Scott Murrell.
“He will be ready to step up and play when called upon and is good for the youth policy that we are implementing here at the club to ensure that the future of the team on the field is in good hands.
“I personally wish Alex all the best and I’m very excited to see him take to the field and keep the Stephenson family tradition going.”
By Joshua Chapman