Whitehaven's drop-goal hero leaves to join League One rivals

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Steve Roper
Steve Roper

Whitehaven’s drop-goal hero Steve Roper is not coming back to west Cumbria next year.

The half-back, who will be 31 next month, has joined League One rivals North Wales Crusaders for the 2018 season.

It was Roper’s single-pointer that earned Haven a place in the League One play-off final, after a record-breaking 105 minutes against York City Knights.

Roper, who had joined Haven a year ago, had previously played at Widnes, Workington, Oldham and Rochdale.

Haven coach Carl Forster said: “I’d just like to thank Steve for his efforts as a Whitehaven player. He did really well for us.

“He has decided to move to a club nearer home, while we are looking at going down a different line next season.”

Haven signed both Paul Crook and Roper for the 2017 season and they were, in the main, the regular half-back pairing.

Roper, apart from that memorable drop-goal against York, scored five tries, four goals and two drop-goals in 25 appearances for the club.

After completing his signing for the Wrexham-based club Roper said: “I’m happy to have signed and I can’t wait to get going here. Crusaders have always had a strong team and, hopefully, I can add some of my experience to that.

“The fans have always been amazing whenever I’ve come up against the club and I’m looking forward to playing here.”

Crusaders head coach Mike Grady added: “Steve is a fantastic signing for the club and I’m made up to have him on board for 2018.

“I’ve said that as well as re-signing key members of our squad we will add some quality as well.

“In the last couple of seasons Steve has been part of the Rochdale side that has gained promotion, and the Whitehaven side that narrowly missed out in the promotion final.”

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