Newly-appointed Featherstone Rovers Reserve head coach Paul March is hoping that the introduction of a reserve-grade side will provide a clear pathway for aspiring rugby league players.
Featherstone announced last week that they had made concrete plans to re-introduce a reserve team for 2019, with March at the helm.
The former York City Knights, Keighley Cougars and Hunslet boss is currently a rugby league development officer for the Featherstone Rovers Foundation.
“I’m really pleased. Obviously it gives a pathway from my Under-14s ETP, to my Category 3 academy at NEW College Pontefract, to the reserves and then we’ll hopefully get a few players into the first team,” he said.
“We need to grow a greater pool of players for this club and having all the pathways through to the first team will allow that.
“You looked at the end of last year, where the first team sometimes only had 14 or 15 players.
“Some of these lads who will come into the reserves would have got an opportunity last year and then you’re not putting pressure on the first team squad to play when they’re injured, so it’s massive for player welfare.”
March added: “Player development is obviously what I’m doing day-to-day.
“My time a York, Keighley and Hunslet has set me up for coaching at semi-professional level.
“Then obviously my Cat 3 team means I’ve coached teenagers.
“It does set me up. Obviously you’ve got to have a variety of coaching skills to handle different age groups, but I think I’ve got all those skill sets and am ready for this challenge.
“I also have a lot of experience in the amateur game and I think getting community clubs involved will be really important.
“We are holding an open access trial in December, for players to show us what they are capable of.”
Trials will be held on December 6.