Hull KR CEO Mike Smith says the club’s academy set-up is heading in the right direction, after significant investment.
The club reacted to an audit from the RFL on their set-up which “wasn’t too favourable”, and have made several new appointments to their academy staff during the close season.
Smith said: “Since then, we’ve been working hard to get to the standards where we want to be as a club, and also where the RFL require us to be. The addition of the new directors to the board has meant that we’ve been able to invest the appropriate funding into the academy set-up and that has been a big help.
“As a board of directors we sat down and identified the areas of our academy that needed strengthening and that work has been going on for the past few months now. We were previously a ‘grade four’ club but have now been upgraded to a ‘grade three’ so that is a big step in the right direction.
“We’re also very conscious of the fact that bringing through your own talent is very important, especially with the way the game is going. You’re not going to get the influx of overseas players that used to come into Super League and it’s a case of bringing over three or four good imports and then adding them into a good squad of experienced and up and coming British players.
“The likes of Liam Salter, Kris Welham, James Green, Jordan Cox, Aaron Ollett, Josh Guzdek, Sonny Esslemont, Connor Robinson, Matty Beharrell, Macauley Hallett and Steve Holker have all come through our academy set-up and now find themselves as part of the first team squad. Some of those players are established as senior players whilst others are still making their way in the game but it shows that we have been bringing the talent through. We want that to continue and that’s why we’ve looked so closely at our academy and made improvements in many different areas.”
Pete Grayburn (Head of Youth), Rob Nickolay (Player Performance Manager) and Shaun Briscoe (Partnership Liaison) head up the department, with Brice Johnson taking charge of the strength and conditioning for the Under 19s, and Rob Dawson doing the same for the Under 16s.