Bastian confirmed as Featherstone’s new coach

editorial image

Former Featherstone Rovers forward John Bastian is the club’s new head coach.

Bastian (pictured) takes up the reins on December 1.

He has been handed a three-year contract and replaces Daryl Powell who has joined Castleford Tigers as their new head coach.

Interim coach Ryan Sheridan, who was Powell’s assistant, will stay in charge at Rovers for the remainder of this season.

Bastian, who played for Rovers from 1988 to 1992 after joining them as a 22-year-old, announced last month he will leave Warrington Wolves in November after five years as their director of youth development. He joined Warrington after a successful spell in charge of the Leeds Rhinos youth set-up.

Bastian said: “I am really excited about what is happening at Featherstone Rovers. After a long conversation with Chairman Mark Campbell and Chief Executive Craig Poskitt it is clear we all share the same vision and aspirations. I am hopeful of Super League in the not too distant future with Rovers and feel this is an exciting chapter in the clubs history.

“I had a good experience here as a player here at Rovers in the late 80s and early 90s. I have never forgotten the culture of the club, the environment and how family orientated the club was. The players and officials were very close to the supporters and I know that is still the case now.

“I am relishing the challenge of being a Head Coach at Featherstone Rovers. I have built up a strong knowledge of the game during my time at both Warrington Wolves and Leeds Rhinos. I have been fortunate to work under one of the best coaches in the world in Tony Smith for 9 years and feel this experience will stand me in good stead.

“Daryl Powell has done an excellent job in his four and half years at Featherstone Rovers and in fact gave me my first coaching opportunity at Leeds Rhinos and I wish him well in his new role. I am looking forward to building on the platform Daryl and his team have laid and progressing the long term development of the club.

“I am passionate about bringing through our own players and ensuring that we have the right infrastructure, culture and facilities in place to enable us to attract and develop the best young talent from the local area and beyond. We need to be expansive and build on the excellent culture already at the club.

“I would like to thank Mark Campbell and Craig Poskitt for giving me this wonderful opportunity. They have shown a lot of faith in me in an important period for the club and I think we have a very bright future.”

Rovers Chairman Mark Campbell said: “I have followed John’s career closely firstly at Leeds Rhinos and then further at Warrington Wolves. I have always been impressed with his enthusiasm for the sport which is evident with the number of games he attends to build on his excellent knowledge. He makes himself available at all times and is a regular at all levels of rugby league and because of this has an excellent grasp on players coming through and has a real eye for talent.

“For Featherstone Rovers to be successful and sustainable, I feel that we need to establish a strong production line of home grown talent which the club was famous for in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s. I feel with his experience of being a player, coach and experience of developing young players that John is the ideal man to implement this ethos at the club.

“In the search for a new head coach, I have spoken to a number of people who are all excellent coaches in their own right but after speaking with John and listening to his vision for the club I am positive John is the man to take us forward. The appointment may raise a few eyebrows but with the proposed structural changes to the game in the near future I am convinced John will put Featherstone Rovers in a strong position.

“I am looking forward to working with John and to get cracking and move things forward. We are already looking at our squad for 2014 and I think once the supporters get to know John they will grow to love him and he will become a real fans favourite and be as popular as he was in his playing days.”

Featherstone chief executive Craig Poskitt said: “John epitomises everything we were looking for, his enthusiasm was superb and he shares the vision of myself, the chairman and the Board of Directors. Personally he now has he chance to excel after working with Tony Smith for a number of years.”