Hull have revealed a number of coaching staff changes to help with the return of their reserves squad, which will compete in an organised league next season.
Former Challenge Cup winning captain Gareth Ellis will start pre-season as the club’s Emerging Talent Coach, working alongside conditioner Kirk Yeaman and physio Chris John to nurture the up and coming element of the first team squad.
They will be heavily involved in the return of the reserve grade squad, which will bridge a much needed gap between the first team and academy.
The Airlie Birds will retain their dual-registration agreement with League 1 side Doncaster, coached by their own Richard Horne.
A formal reserves league of nine teams will take place in 2019 as it continues to appear on the agenda at RFL and club meetings. Unfortunately, not all Super League clubs agreed to run reserve teams and so there still appears to be work to do to establish the reserve grade as was.
The full line-up of the league is expected to be confirmed shortly, as well as an organised fixture list.
Hull chief executive, James Clark, said: “These are subtle changes but intended to provide us with a sustainable long term vision for the club, with influential and experienced people involved at all levels.
“We have been working hard on the detail for quite some time to develop a programme that will bridge the gap between the first-team and the academy, as well as the professional and amateur game.
“Over the last 12 to 18 months we have identified a number of areas where we need to improve, particularly when it comes to the progression of young players.
“Salary cap pressure and a decline in participation at a number of age groups is making the emphasis on identifying and developing homegrown talent all the more important.
“The network of rugby league development we are establishing both locally and further afield, aligned directly to our performance ethos, will allow us to improve the ecosystem in which players can progress, led by a very committed and experienced group of people.”
The reserves side will be joined in training by the University of Hull rugby league team, which is coached by the club’s development manager, Richard Tate.
Development teams have also been established at a number of local schools and academies, some coached by former Hull players including Lee Crooks and Jack Downs.
Local coach John McCracken will also join the club’s reserve team coaching set up to provide a strong link between the amateur game in the city and keep an eye on potential talent.