Salford Red Devils Foundation launched the Lions Development Programme on Monday evening.
Over 150 young local players from the Salford & Greater Manchester area in school years 6, 7 and 8 attended the first session on Monday evening, which was held on the 3G Astro turf at the Salford Stadium.
Upon arrival players were split up into eight separate groups, rotating round cover numerous skills.
Each group was named after a current Salford Red Devils Super league player; Ken Sio, Kallum Watkins, Tim Lafai, Brodie Croft, Marc Sneyd, Andy Ackers, Ollie Partington and Shane Wright (who is sponsored by SRD Foundation).
To help deliver these sessions 12 local community coaches, from our catchment area, were given the opportunity to develop their coaching skills as well as comparing and sharing their ideas with other local community coaches.
Salford Red Devils Foundation’s Head of Youth, Danny Barton, who is leading the programme, said: “It’s amazing that over 150 young local players which are coming from all over Greater Manchester have signed up to the Lions Development Programme and turned up with a smile on their faces.
“It is vital for our pathway that we are engaging with these young local players and creating a pathway for their development for years to come to give them the best possible opportunity to represent Salford Red Devils.
“These kids from all over Greater Manchester are not only the playing future of the club but also current and future fans of the club.
“A massive part of the programme was to get the local community coaches involved who all share a common goal and a desire to improve themselves and develop their coaching by working with other open minded coaches.
“Coaching in a professional environment enables coaches to compare and contrast philosophies and collaborating ideas to offer the best coaching experience to our local players back at our local community clubs.”
Local community club coach Scott Cahill, who coaches Folly Lane under 11s, wanted to develop his coaching skills and spoke to us about the Lions Development Programme.
He said: “I’m thrilled to be apart of the new Lions programme at Salford Red Devils, being able to share my ideas to other community coaches is great and being able to see how other coaches at other teams do things is really insightful.
“Being within this environment enables me to access professional CPD through working with Salford Red Devils Foundation coaches such as head of youth Danny Barton and also allows me to share knowledge and my experiences with fellow community coaches to grow and develop both us and the game.”
“The chance for these kids to get the opportunity to represent Salford Red Devils is fantastic and gives the kids a sense of pride when wearing the Salford shirt.”
Foundation Director Neil Blackburn said: “It’s testament to the team that we have so many young players in attendance and it shows that there is a hunger for Rugby League in not only Salford but the wider Greater Manchester area.
“These players are now part of our player development pathway and we look forward to nurturing them through their Rugby League journeys.”
We cannot wait to welcome all our players and coaches back for the upcoming weeks!