15 hours ago
RFL & BARLA Aim For Maximum
When people like David Waite and Bill Appleton are in action, the future of the game tends to receive a timely boost.
Both men are interested primarily in players and that message has come over loud and clear this month with their robust exhortations for amateur academy players to return to their BARLA clubs for the winter.
Waite, as the RFL's player performance director, is a strong advocate of the principle that the Academy should be wholly professional while Appleton, as the national player performance manager, works to the same theme.
Appleton quotes a 95 per cent player retention rate for last year when Waite conducted a similar exercise.
That's a marvellous figure, and it's to be hoped that the repeated initiative achieves similar results.
Much, of course, depends on the support or otherwise of the folk in the front line - the coaches.
Those men, both at Academy and amateur level, have a huge part to play in all this and it's vital that they all work together, in accordance with the wishes of Waite and Appleton, for the good of the sport as a whole, with a smooth and speedy transition of amateur players back to their former BARLA clubs for the new season which is now upon us.
This is a golden opportunity for BARLA club coaches to move quickly and liase with their professional counterparts to ensure that the maximum retention figures are again maintained. This is particularly important as Sport England grants, are part dependent on healthy player retention figures for the game.
With BARLA chairman Maurice Oldroyd singing from the same hymn sheet there is no shortage of senior firepower for the cause.
If that trio should falter, the redoubtable Joe Elliott will also be on hand.
The laconic Cumbrian, perhaps best known as the Great Britain Young Lions Manager, was last week elected as BARLA's representative on the Community Board.
Given his extensive experience of youth rugby his input will be invaluable.