EARLIER THIS month the 18th edition of the Super League got underway as the players dubbed the men of steel once again began competing in debatably the most physical demanding sport going.
Traditionally, teams north of England – such as Leeds Rhinos, St Helens and Wigan Warriors – have thrived in the highest tier of English rugby league.
In comparison, Super League’s only club based in the capital, London Broncos, have never won a major piece of silverware but they do possess one of the hottest properties in the shape of the diminutive winger Kieran Dixon. In his rookie season last year, the 20-year-old from Hackney, east London, scored 16 tries in 27 appearances.
Recollecting about the 2012 Super League season, Dixon told the Voice of Sport: “It was good because it was my first year playing at the top level of rugby so it was all new to me but I’m glad that I got it done and came out at the end of the year with really big positives.”
His performances at the Twickenham Stoop, in south London, for the Broncos also led to an international call-up to England Knights – who are England’s second-string side – which came as a surprise to Dixon, who has been featured in weekly Skysports rugby league magazine programme Boots ‘N’ All.
“It was something that I didn’t expect at all coming out of my first year of rugby. It was an added bonus for me as it would be for anyone,” said Dixon, who has scored two tries in two appearances for the Knights.
POACHER: The 20-year-old reaches for the try line
“To be called up to the England set-up and to be asked to train and play with the country’s badge on your chest, it was unbelievable.”
And while the London 2012 Olympic Games was by far the biggest sporting event that took place last year, the 2013 rugby league World Cup in England in October is arguably the most esteemed international tournament taking place in the UK this year and Dixon wants to be apart of the action.
“I think it will be on every English player’s radar to make the set-up for the World Cup and I think that’s something that’s going to be in the back of everyone’s mind with the World Cup at the end of the year. So I think I need to have a good year this year and hopefully I’ll get the call,” he said.
The 5ft 7in tall Dixon possesses electric pace and a bamboozling side step that has led to numerous comparisons with a player who also had tremendous power and acceleration despite his small stature; dual code legend Jason Robinson.
And, as Dixon explains, the retired rugby union World Cup winner Robinson is a player that Dixon admired greatly.
“When I hear comparisons like that I think ‘wow’ because he’s one of my idols. I look up to the way he played rugby and what he done through his rugby career.
RUGBY ROYALTY: Robinson during his Wigan days in rugby league
I just want to end up going down the same path and hopefully make a big name for myself in both codes if it comes to it.
“He’s not the biggest of people but he’s got pace and power. There’s no one else really like that so I base myself on him really.”
Having already made a name for himself in such a short time frame, the Hemel Hampstead, Hertfordshire native promised fans that they will witness more of the same in the future.
“I don’t want to sound big headed but [expect] just a lot of speed, stepping and going round people quickly; just making it exciting to watch.
“Hopefully, I can be one of the big names in rugby league in England and make everyone think ‘wow, he was a good player.’”