Hull KR announce groundbreaking football trial deal

Hull KR have revealed a new exciting partnership as they strive for excellence.

first team welcomed managers from the League Managers Association (LMA) as the club looks to build a growing relationship with the organisation. 

Former Everton WSL Head Coach, Willie Kirk and Sheffield Wednesday U23 Coach and East Riding local, Neil Thompson observed the teams’ review session followed by team skills, allowing them insight into the Red and White’s weekly operations.

The League Managers Association Institution of Leadership and High Performance is an establishment created to provide learning and development to those working in football. The collaboration comes from head coach, Tony Smith’s relationship with the LMA following a stint with the institution, contributing through consultancy work with a focus on manager welfare before joining Hull KR.

Speaking on the visit, Tony Smith praised the LMA’s first experience with the club: “It was a great pilot. It was a chance to see if there were some ideas that can be shared between managers and coaches within football and rugby. It was also an opportunity for them to see how we do some things in rugby league.

“In the coming together and sharing of ideas through my involvement with the LMA in the past, we thought we’d run a pilot to see how it would be received in our benefits and for both parties.

“It was very successful. Both parties have agreed to roll it out again. We’ll have some more managers and coaches come along to look at feedback and share ideas, which is really beneficial to the coaching staff as well as the players.

“ It gave us a little bit of inspiration having some different people around and observing how we go about things. So, I think the benefits were there for everybody involved. I’m very grateful for the connection and in terms of being able to help each other and, in the future.

Sheffield Wednesday’s Neil Thompson, an Hessle native and a Robins supporter growing up, was delighted to return to Craven Park: “It’s different. But you’re always learning. I’ve been with (Sheffield) Wednesday for eleven years, around the academy, the first team and now the u23s. 

“It’s been interesting seeing how another professional club works in a different sport. You’re always picking up new information and we’ve certainly done that – Tony (Smith) has been great with us today.

“It’s a different sport in terms of the physical demands, but elements on team meetings preparation and functional skills have been really interesting.”

Former Everton Women’s manager, Willie Kirk was pleased with his experience at Sewell Group Craven Park and being in a new, sports environment: “I think the first thing was getting the chance to shadow Tony (Smith). He;’s previously down some work on the LMA diploma that I wasn’t partied to – so I was keen to get some time with him. 

“It was great tapping into Tony’s experience and seeing the rugby league culture – especially the way the team meeting runs and the ownership that the players take in them. That’s definitely something I’ll take away from it. It’s been a very worthwhile day, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.”

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