Super League pair granted elite academy licences

Ben Olawumi
Adrian Lam, Paul Rowley

Leigh Leopards head coach Adrian Lam (left) & Salford Red Devils head coach Paul Rowley (right)

Leigh Leopards & Salford Red Devils have both been granted three-year elite academy licences, delivering successful proposals and ticking another IMG box in the process.

Being granted an elite licence gives clubs a greater chance of developing their youth prospects into first-team players.

Given the length of time it’s been since Leigh have been able to bring players through, just one academy product is in their side this year – hometown boy Frankie Halton.

He returned to the club last season after spending time in amateur rugby and then working his way back up to Super League with Hull KR after departing the then-Centurions when their reserve team was disbanded.

Similarly, Marc Sneyd & Chris Hankinson have made returns to Salford over the last few years and now form part of their squad having come through the system at the club many moons ago.

Super League pair Leigh Leopards & Salford Red Devils granted elite academy licences

Leigh owner Derek Beaumont vowed they would receive an academy licence having had a previous proposal rejected, and having achieved it, he said: “I am absolutely thrilled to receive this news, something I have always wanted to achieve at the club

“It was always my dream to walk out at Wembley, however I always thought that was more possible than building a successful academy, something today’s decision gives us the opportunity to continue to do.

“It enables us to embrace the fantastic talent in our town and fully connect the junior and professional ranks to the professional club. 

“We have now achieved five of the seven main objectives of our five- year plan, although one of those is yet to be formally confirmed later in the year.

“However, this news isn’t the end, it’s the beginning, it’s the beginning of a massive challenge for our town, its people, and its businesses.

“It creates opportunities for local people, as coaches, backroom staff, talent ID and medical and more than anything opportunities for our townsfolk to represent their hometown team.”

Meanwhile, Salford chief Ian Blease added: “This is a sign of the quality of our system, which the Elite Academy will enhance even further.

“Having our Elite Academy Licence provides the opportunity for the club to retain the best talent in the city of Salford, as well as support their education and begin their journey to achieve their dreams of playing for Salford Red Devils in Super League.

“We look forward to welcoming them and their families into the Salford family.”