A record-breaking try-scorer for Hornby, fullback/winger Robin Alfeld played one Test for New Zealand against Papua New Guinea in 1983.
Alfeld made the first of 28 appearances for Canterbury (19 tries) in 1977 – his second season in senior football – and broke into the South Island team in 1979. He won the A.G. Bailey Cup for most tries in the CRL competition in 1982 and ’83, scoring a try in Hornby’s Grand Final loss to Eastern in the former year and helping the club end its 14-year premiership drought in the latter with his stellar performances at fullback.
Described in the Autex Rugby League Annual as ‘the outstanding individual player in Canterbury in 1983’, the robust 26-year-old earned a Kiwis call-up for Papua New Guinea’s maiden Test on New Zealand’s shores. Alfeld was chosen on the wing – with Hornby teammate and fellow debutant Marty Crequer on the other flank – and featured in a 60-20 victory.
Though he would not don the Kiwis’ jersey again, Alfeld received a unique representative invitation in 1984 when he chosen at fullback in the Oceania team to face Europe in a match marking the 50th anniversary of rugby league starting in France. Playing alongside Kiwis Mark Graham, Dean Bell, Hugh McGahan, Howie Tamati, Kevin Tamati and Shane Varley, and Australian greats Wally Lewis, Mal Meninga, Gene Miles, Kerry Boustead, Steve Mortimer, Ray Price and Wayne Pearce, the comparatively low-profile Alfeld crossed for a try in Oceania’s 54-4 win in Paris.
Alfeld’s 18-match tenure in the South Island team included fixtures against touring teams from Great Britain (1984) and Australia (1985), while he was a reserve for New Zealand XIII against a star-studded Queensland side in 1984. He celebrated in another Hornby title triumph in 1984 and hung up the boots after scoring a try – his 116th at premier level – in the club’s last-gasp Grand Final loss to Halswell in 1985.
NEW ZEALAND (1983)
1 Test – 0 points