Up to five Saints players will feature for the Hornets, who will also have use of the Saints’ training facilities.
As part of the deal, up and coming young coach Ian Talbot will head the Hornets’ coaching team for 2013, supported by Matt Calland, who will become Head of Youth Development at Spotland.
Saints General Manager Mike Rush said: “It will be invaluable competitive experience for players who could be our stars of the future. We have looked at several clubs in Championship and Championship 1, but we really like what we see at Hornets. The quality of Spotland stadium is a big plus for us, and the co-operative members’ basis of the club tells us there is real commitment.”
Saints will also support the squad with coaches in specialist fields such as Strength and conditioning, video analysis and other disciplines. Coaches Glynn Walsh and Rugby League legend Steve Prescott will lead in these areas. Rochdale Rugby League stalwart Dave Ramsbottom completes the impressive coaching set up.
Hornets’ Chairman Mark Wynn said: “We are thrilled by this partnership. It is an opportunity not just for Hornets but for Rugby League as a whole in Rochdale. Any ambitious youngster in the town can now see a path which leads right to the very top of the game.
“Off the field the partnership will also see shared best practice, assistance with marketing, commercial activities including sponsorship and lottery plus cross ticketing initiatives.”
Saints will also link with Championship side Whitehaven, to help create a four-tier player pathway.
Barry Richardson from Whitehaven added: “This is mutually beneficial with Whitehaven being able to call upon quality players from St Helens on a weekly basis and the two clubs to develop a strong and lasting relationship with an increased presence in West Cumbria through both clubs’ community programmes and through building upon the excellent relationship over the last few years that has been built up between St Helens and Dave Woods the new Whitehaven Coach.
“This will also give the opportunity for the two clubs to attract top local Cumbrian players who could be available to play initially for St Helens Under 19s or Whitehaven’s first team and hopefully to progress longer term through to the Saints first team or part of a strong Whitehaven team established in the Championship.”