Building on the early success of the Reserve Grade at Featherstone, the only unbeaten side in the reserve division, Featherstone Rovers have released plans to build closer links with local amateur club Featherstone Lions with the merger of the under 18s team for 2009/2010 season.
The current Featherstone Lions Under 18s team, will continue to ply their trade in the Gillette National Youth League after reaching the play-off semi finals in 2009 and will maintain their identity, whilst sharing the Rovers facilities, and will continue to be based at Featherstone Lions whilst also utilising The Chris Moyles Stadium where most of the training and some games will be played.
This will be of great benefit to both clubs as the team will work in a professional environment with coaches and players from Rovers having a big input. The U18’s will also benefit from additional and unique funding and sponsorship opportunities via Featherstone Rovers as they do with the already successful Scholarship programme, which will provide these youngsters with the very best coaching, equipment and education needed to succeed.
The Gillette National Youth League is a strong competition, only one level down from the Super League Academy and other amateur clubs operating in this league are also forging links with their local pro clubs such as Keighley Cougars, Gateshead Thunder and the Cumbrian clubs.
The Featherstone clubs would like to announce the appointments of the coaching team with Jon Agar installed as Head Coach and Steve Armitage as Assistant Coach.
Agar has gained valuable experience in a playing career with both Featherstone clubs, Castleford Tigers and Sharlston Rovers. He also has experience overseas having been a player coach in Australia with Eden Tigers.
Armitage, is a well respected figure in local junior rugby, having coached at Featherstone Lions Juniors, as well as 5 years with Wakefield Wildcats at scholarship level and is currently the Junior Coach Co-ordinator at Featherstone Rovers.
Robin Sharp, Scholarship Manager and Junior Head Scout said; “This is a massive step forward for both clubs, its important there is a development pathway for young players when they reach the age of 16. It benefits both clubs and strengthens our links with the Lions going forward. It will give local talented players in the area the opportunity to develop and progress. We will also provide help and support to the Lions wherever possible building on the ‘Coach the Coaches’ session held at the back end of last year.”
Keith Hall, Featherstone Rovers U18 Manager stated: “It is good to see that a forward thinking professional club such as Featherstone Rovers, is enhancing the link with the Lions for the betterment of our players and their progression hopefully to making the grade in professional rugby League.”
Daryl Powell, Head Coach at Featherstone Rovers added: “This enhanced partnership with Featherstone Lions further cements a strong working relationship which will help to develop our young players into high quality athletes with all the strength, skills and playing experiences necessary to compete in rugby league at a high level. The national youth league is a strong competition in its own right, the Rovers aim is to provide support in both facility and coaching for these young players and developing coaches. There is no doubt this relationship will enhance both Featherstone Rovers and Featherstone Lions and provide a great platform for the maturing young players at both our clubs.”