Junior players given perfect platform to progress

Leeds Rhinos Foundation hosted their latest ETP Player Development Day on Friday, with coaches from Leeds Rhinos Scholarship and Women’s teams leading the sessions for players aged 12-14.

More than 100 junior players from across the region attended the event at the Tetley’s Stadium, with Dewsbury Rams kindly stepping in as hosts after flooding at Leeds Rugby Academy left the facility needing some essential maintenance works.

It proved to be the perfect venue, with players and staff enjoying full-use of the Rams’ facilities, including changing facilities, ruck-room and outdoor 4G pitch. Head of Partnerships & Development Dan Busfield has thanked the club for their role in helping the event run to plan.

“We’re extremely grateful to Dewsbury Rams for ensuring our ETP Player Development Day went ahead last week after our training ground was affected by the adverse weather,” said Busfield.

“Ian Hardman and his Rugby League Development team do a fantastic job in setting up these days through the ETP programme to keep young people in the game longer by provide them with quality coaching and opportunities to progress.

“We want young people to continue to have positive experiences of our game in good environments and therefore hopefully stay in the game into their adult years, whether that is at professional or amateur level.

“Working with other clubs and their community foundations is also important to us, as ultimately it’s our sport which benefits in the long term by helping more players to achieve their full potential.”

The ETP sessions are designed to give players the opportunity to improve their core rugby skills in a professional sporting environment, part of the Foundation’s Rugby League Development Plan with Mears Group to improve standards across the sport.

Joining the Foundation’s coaching team was Dewsbury Rams first team player Martyn Reilly. The 24-year-old has worked closely with junior players on the Rams’ own community programmes and welcomed the chance to work alongside top coaches, including Leeds Rhinos Women Head Coach Lois Forsell and Leeds Rhinos Foundation Development Academy boss Dan Hardy.

“Last year I was asked by Lee Greenwood to do some coaching with junior clubs to put back into the community game and show off the facilities down here, which a lot of people actually don’t realise we have,” explained Reilly.

“It was great to see how many kids came down. These types of development sessions are a fantastic way of upskilling junior players and I’d recommend it to anybody who’s at that age and wanting to get better as a player, find out what the professional clubs are looking for and really push themselves.

“Realistically, Leeds Rhinos Foundation are out there setting the standards with their community work, so to have the chance to work with these experienced coaches and take new things on board was a real positive for me.

“The number of things that I’ve learned by being around this environment and working with these coaches is amazing. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to have been involved.”

To learn more about Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s ETP Programme, please contact Ian.Hardman@leedsrhinosfoundation.org.