Former players encouraged to support their community rugby league clubs

Paul Wood Shevington Sharks

Former Great Britain international Paul Wood says he would love to see more ex-professionals offer a helping hand to their local community clubs.

The two-time Challenge Cup winner is currently coaching the Under-15s at Shevington Sharks, who are based in Wigan.

Wood even told Love Rugby League that 2022 was his most enjoyable year in rugby to date; that’s including winning Challenge Cups, playing in Super League and being on tour with Great Britain.

There a number of players – past and present – still involved with the community game. Great Britain legend Stuart Fielden is the head coach of Beverley. Castleford hooker Paul McShane is the coach of Hunslet Club Parkside.

“I’m a big advocate of former players going back to their local amateur clubs,” Wood told Love Rugby League.

“It doesn’t have to be coaching. Just getting involved in some capacity and passing their expertise on would be brilliant.

“You don’t have to be a coach. There are loads of roles within a club that people can get involved with. We need more former professional players going back to these clubs.

“In a way, it is our duty to pass our expertise on to the younger generation and it’s only going to benefit us as a nation to teach them the skills we’ve learned in a professional environment in an amateur environment.”

Players and clubs would both benefit from it, insists Paul Wood

Paul Wood Shevington Sharks
Paul Wood with his Shevington Sharks juniors

The former Warrington prop believes the former players would gain a lot from being involved in grassroots just as much as the clubs.

“When players are retired from the game or coming towards the end of retirement, as much as sometimes you are ready to leave the sport after being involved for a long time, just to go cold turkey all together can be difficult,” Wood explained.

“It offers you an opportunity just to stay involved in the sport from a community level – not only are you giving back but its good for the players as well.

“Not only are you passing your experiences on, but you can work on yourself as well. You can get used to speaking to big groups of people, organising stuff; and making phone calls and arranging matches so it learns you a lot of qualities as well. You get a lot out of it yourself.

“There are so many roles available. You don’t have to be a coach, you can do anything.”

The fixture lists have been released for the 2023 National Conference League season.

The flagship Rugby League Community Game competition, which began in 1986, now consists of 46 clubs and four divisions with the new season commencing on Saturday, March 4.

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About Drew Darbyshire 8623 Articles
Love Rugby League Deputy Editor. Joined the site ahead of the 2017 World Cup and been a full-time reporter since 2018.

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