Jones quashes league Test return rumours - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Jones quashes league Test return rumours

By Robert Lowe 23/04/2009 04:23:10 PM Comments (0)

Veteran halfback Stacey Jones has ruled out another comeback to the Test arena, saying his rugby league focus is solely on helping NRL club the Warriors.

New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney fanned speculation Jones may return for the world champion Kiwis for their one-off Test against Australia in Brisbane on May 8.

He said on Wednesday he would meet the New Zealand selectors over the next few days to get their opinions.

"Stacey's playing good footy at the moment and I'm not 100 per cent sure if he's available," Kearney said.

"I think he's retired a couple of times from the Kiwis but it would be silly for me not to make sure. It's quite obvious what he can bring to a team."

But Jones, who turns 33 a day before the Test, said on Thursday he had contacted Kearney and made his position clear.

"I've come back to play for the Warriors and that's where my focus and energy is," he said.

"I've no intention of playing for the Kiwis. I've spoken to him and he understands my position."

Nevertheless, the issue may still pop up between the pair over the next couple of days.

The Warriors travelled across the Tasman on Thursday ahead of their NRL match on Saturday against Melbourne, whose assistant coach is Kearney.

In 2005, Jones famously answered the call of then-Test coach Brian McClennan to come out of international retirement.

He went on to guide the Kiwis to the Tri-Nations title, which they clinched in style by beating Australia 24-0 in the final at Leeds.

His 46th and final Test came in the Kiwis' extra-time loss to the Kangaroos in the corresponding final in Sydney a year later.

When Jones hung his boots up at the end of the 2007 season after two seasons in the British Super League with French club Les Catalans, it seemed to mark the end of this playing days.

But late last year, Warriors coach Ivan Cleary lured him out of retirement and, so far this season, he has starred in two of the club's three wins.

Jones said he had been out of the game so long that he had enough on his plate at the Warriors without having to turn his attention to something else.

"I'm feeling a lot more comfortable as far as my energy levels go," he said.

"There's plenty of areas I need to brush up on, like passing, catching - real basic fundamentals of football. I've dropped a couple of balls and I've thrown a couple of bad passes."

Jones latest heroics came last weekend in the 17-16 golden point win over the Sydney Roosters in Auckland.

He scored the home side's first try, helped to create their two others and finally landed the decisive field goal.

The fightback from a 0-16 halftime deficit had lifted team confidence, but Jones said the Warriors knew they could not afford a repeat of their "terrible" first half.

If they performed as badly against the Storm, "they'll put plenty of points on us".

"So we really have to put together - it's an old cliche - an 80-minute game of football to be in with a chance."

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