Bastian to strengthen Leeds youth pathways

John Bastian, who has built a bright reputation as an expert in developing young players, is to leave his post as head of youth at Hull KR to rejoin Leeds in the new role of player pathway development manager.

It’s a coup for the Rhinos, where he worked on the club’s Scholarship scheme and rose through the ranks to become head of youth development, before leaving in 2008.

Bastian, who was head coach of Featherstone between 2013-2014, succeeding Daryl Powell, has also overseen the development systems at Warrington and Bradford.

He joined Hull KR in 2019 to lead the new youth set-up following the disbanding of the City of Hull Academy, a joint venture between Rovers and Hull.

That recreated his partnership with head coach Tony Smith, the pair having worked together at Leeds and Warrington.

Former Featherstone player Bastian, who will join Leeds on October 1, said: “I am delighted to be rejoining Leeds.

“My (previous) time at the club played a big part in my development as a coach.

“The club have progressed since then and I am coming back at a really exciting time.

“The role will involve working with junior players from 13 through to 20 years of age, linking up closely with the community game and working alongside our coaches and with (head of youth) Simon Bell and (head of Academy strength and conditioning) Ben Jones.

“Leeds have always produced some really talented young players and that has been a big part of what has been achieved at the club. Youth development is a key part of the plans under (head coach) Richard Agar.

“We will be looking to add quality to the existing system and help it progress and be a little bit better in the years ahead.”

Jason Netherton, Bastian’s assistant at Rovers, will become head of player development.

Ben Lazenby, who has worked at Warrington and rugby union club Yorkshire Carnegie, will assist Netherton as Academy general manager.

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