This week marked an exciting new dawn for College Rugby League in Oldham, as the Oldham Sixth Form College Development Academy team played their first ever competitive match on Wednesday.
Following a year of coaching support from Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Development Officer Joe Sanderson, who has delivered two weekly sessions at the College as part of a ground-breaking Rugby League partnership with the charity, a team of 13 talented student-athletes finally took to the field for the first time.
Sporting a brand-new kit in the College’s iconic Burnt Orange and Steel Grey colourway, the Oldham side enjoyed a hard-fought battle against Warrington Wolves Development Academy and put in a tremendous performance, only narrowly losing out 18-36 to their Premier Division opponents.
Despite the defeat, it was a fantastic experience for the students who were able to showcase the progress they have made under the tutorship of Sanderson, coming away from the match with plenty of positives to build on in their next encounter.
The Development Academy programme was established to allow 16-18-year-old learners the chance to combine their academic studies at Oldham Sixth Form College with taking part in the Rhinos’ world class rugby league performance programme and talent pathway.
This exciting enterprise provides the perfect opportunity for community players with a desire to progress into a high-quality academy environment and aims to provide a pathway for the town’s next generation of rugby league talent to achieve the highest levels possible, both on and off the rugby pitch.
The College have already seen several of their ex-students successfully enter the world of professional rugby league, including Wigan Warriors youngsters Jacob Douglas and Zach Eckersley, Salford Red Devils forward James Greenwood and Rhinos legend Kevin Sinfield, who was part of the team responsible for setting up the Development Academy programme last year.
With the first game now under their belts, this current crop of talented rugby league players representing the College will be hoping to emulate their success by continuing their journeys towards a career in Sport through the Development Academy.
For more information regarding the Oldham Sixth Form College Rugby Academy supported by Leeds Rhinos Foundation please email David Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org or CLICK HERE to find out how you can apply!