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Posts posted by HarrogateKnights

  1. I was doing a bit of research on the "top 24" group of Unis in the UK. Interestingly enough 13 out of the 24 have at least 1 RL side playing in a Uni League, when you take that to 20 with England only it becomes 13 out of 20 with both parts of Oxbridge being represented. This list doesn't include the likes of Loughborough or Leeds Beckett. As we are setting up our club from an independent school we are trying to increase Rugby League awareness and skills set so hopefully they go on to play for unis but I think apart from a few clubs we could be doing more with Uni RL and Under 18s (up to 16s tends to be the stopping age at alot of clubs) 

  2. 5 hours ago, Taniwha Warriors said:

    Its sad that we have to come to this. But I read somewhere that they are calling for a total ban on tackling at junior and school levels. If thats the case then there are other sports (boxing, UFC, Kickboxing etc) that's more brutal that should be ban first.

    Totally agreed with that, the major problem is if it you class juniors as U16s you wouldn't be coaching the correct tacking technique in game play until a player is 16 years old. Personally more research needs to be done before they can prove the player isn't at fault due to reckless tackles and putting themselves in danger which happens far too often. For the 10s of 1000s of players that have played both codes why do only a small number develop a later condition that is what the research should be concentrating on. I understand certain positions have less risk associated with them. It could be a genetic condition similar to heart problems that can be detected before it causes long term effects and Dr's step in etc. I personally feel in the pro/am game we lead the way in other sports when it comes to Concussion and head injuries in general, there isn't a stigma attached anymore of "it's just a head knock, get on with it etc" moving forwards we are in a better position although correct tackling techniques still should be taught as without the basics you are going to be in and out like a tumble dryer spin! Our coaching sessions in Harrogate are being prepared with your opponent and yours safety constantly in mind. At the junior level and especially amateur level, I would prefer a player not to risk getting a boot or knee in the head in a tackle attempt and rather letting a try in than teaching them to stop the try at all costs. Everyone in the junior and amateur game has a responsibility for each others welfare but just because we idolise a certain player doesn't mean we have to copy him/her each week.

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  3. 5 hours ago, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

    I don't wish to sound rude or unsympathetic, HK, but are you in danger of pandering to nesh Londoners?

    As far as I can see, Barnet to Wimbledon - the instance you cite - is a single, no changes, tube journey of an hour in each direction.  Even on a Sunday, there appears to be a train every fifteen minutes before 6am.

    Sorry if I sound a tad unsympathetic, but I used to have London office colleagues whose idea of a transport crisis seemed to be having to wait at least ten minutes for a tube train in the rush hour.  Given we worked for a rural areas agency, i did sometimes invite them to consider the dilemma of someone whose market days only bus service had just been withdrawn, or there were no buses home from the nearest larger town after about 4.30pm, so you couldn't use public transport for journeys to and from work.

    I think transport problems are, like beauty, very much in the eye of the beholder.  Londoners have it on a plate, as far as I can see, but don't always get that.

    Incidentally, your pen name suggests that you may be a fan of York City Knights.  If so, isn't your round trip to home matches about 50 miles, the same as Barnet to and from Wimbledon?

    From my point and side of things its more when they seem to be establishing a home and base at a set place be that Fulham, Twickenham, Barnet or Ealing they are planning or have moved out. If they built up a fan base in Barnet you are then moving them with 2 hours travelling time if they went by the tube. They need to find a place long term and build the links from there settle down and be in that area for a number of years. If we drive to York it's a round trip of 35 miles and under 30 mins each way, I can be home before 5:30pm if the game kicks off at 3pm. The train is pointless as on a Sunday its one service an hour

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  4. How many stadiums is now in 40 odd years it must be close on 7 or 8. They have played in pretty much every area from North (Barnet), East, South (Take your pick) West (Ealing) no wonder they struggle to obtain a growing fan base from Barnet to Wimbledon has got to be a 50 mile drive. If they do make the move this has to be the last for sustanbility. Although saying that Wimbledon dogs used to be a good night out with friendly locals so hopefully they get that market. 

  5. 1 hour ago, DoubleD said:

    Sounds like a well considered approach. I believe the younger you start, the better, as you then get a conveyor belt and usually more commitment as you create 'rugby league' players, rather than people who just give it a fleeting go. There's a few new junior clubs in North/East Leeds who wouldn't be too far and could offer you a friendly game. Good luck

    Yeah definitely we are giving primary school rugby a good go with York Knights foundation and will grow slowly. Before I set this up there was no juniors or seniors playing rugby league in Harrogate so anything sustainable we can get from it will be a plus. 

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  6. 1 hour ago, Northern Eel said:

    At Bassetlaw, Immingham and Bolsover, the age groups deliberately start at U6s. They are then, first and foremost, rugby league players. What they choose to do beyond that is up to them, but it is a great opportunity for the club to back themselves (and the sport) to keep them. 

    At Ashville College they have 2 Union teams at every age group from U5s to U18s we are going to see how many we integrate into our system and as school rugby league takes off. 2 of the high schools we are going into don't have any Rugby on the curriculum at the moment so we see them as big potential with 2 primary schools in the same boat. Then we have kids at Ashville not playing much rugby if any between March and September we have a big market to develop into even if they don't stay with us but play at other clubs I am happy to get the sport out there and more awareness. 

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  7. 4 hours ago, DoubleD said:

    Thanks, I had heard about the Fire Ants but nice to get more detail. I’ve still got relatives in the Gate so do visit regularly. Whilst much more union than league, unlike somewhere like Wetherby which leans the right way, I always found there was an appreciation of TGG amongst many there. What age groups are you running and what leagues will you be in? 

    We have open age men's and women's in the Yorkshire leagues alongside X-league as the minimal contact option which is more social. Our juniors we are starting with U18, U15, U13 & U11s with YCK foundation helping running schools Rugby League. We have an open invite to any player from Ashville college with an introduction to League session if we have enough numbers ready. 

    Initially we have made the call not to play the juniors in a league. They have the option of up to 2 sessions a week training one mid week and one weekend. Where we will be using our coaches to develop the skills they have learnt at school. However YCK foundation will be hosting North Yorkshire "expansion festivals" likely to be in 9s format so we can attend them. The reason for not applying for a league for our juniors is mainly due to travel, from Harrogate we could be traveling to Hull, Sheffield or Siddal although these are all great clubs in their own right it's close on 90 mins each way journey time. So for 3 hours travel with 1 hour playing time we would prefer to keep things in our bubble where we concentrate on the key skills each week with the reward of potentially playing a mixed team from Harrogate Schools RL or friendlies from York based clubs. Developing players by introducing them to 4v4 game like scenarios etc and playing them through with ability to stop and assess so the players get a proper understanding of game play and constructive feedback. 


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  8. 14 minutes ago, Celt said:

    Brilliant. Love this.

    (Sad to see guys like Mercer working in union though... Yet another example of lost talent. His son plays age grade union for Scotland too if I remember right).

    This particular school are well funded, they recently ploughed £3.2 million into upgrading their gym facilities. But you are right definitely sad that Union have him although it will be fantastic for our development for any of his input that we can get! We also have Garry Atkins (Former KR amongst others as honourary VP too) The irony is that the Private School have the cheaper facility hire and are able to offer us corporate gym rates too (£25 per month!) I am not sure how many sons he has but I know Zach plays for Bath RU now. Gary did do a stint at Scotland RU academy after coaching league at 'Fax and Cas. From a women's point of view Fran Goldthorp now of Rhinos is a former pupil and England fringe player! 

  9. On 13/12/2020 at 07:28, Cumbrian Mackem said:

    At grassroots level. What with the fantastic progress being made in the north east and also with the introduction or re-introduction of grassroots RL in towns like goole and Harrogate could we not replicate this in places like Preston, Blackburn, Stockport, Barnsley and Lancaster etc?

    Theres still so much unexplored territory within and just outside of the game’s historic “heartland” in terms of untapped talent and potential new fans for our game.

    I totally agree with the areas mentioned above. I setup the new team in Harrogate (Harrogate Fire Ants) although support was easy to come by as being a York City Knights fan myself I was always going to turn to their foundation for help however the ground work is still done by the club and rightly so. The main problem I found is facilities which seems daft when you think of Harrogate and the 80 acres of open parkland called the Stray however being a spa town most of this is boggy and used by footballers the other key times. The council were no help as all the eggs are in the football basket and Rugby Union is so inbredded into the culture that they don't come with open arms. We, through a tip off have ended up at the side of Harrogate least likely to have Rugby league but one side Rossett Sports Centre has 4G pitch hire and across the street Ashville Sports Centre (Part of the independent school Ashville College) has amazing facilities including 7 full sized rugby union pitches, 2 indoor sports halls, an all weather pitch and gym with swimming pool. The Director of Rugby (Union) at the school is former Kiwi International Gary Mercer and he has been great in bringing a plan together with YCK Foundation and ourselves. They have players that only play 7s union tournaments during the spring so we have the rest and some of them between March and August every year which will be a great boost for our numbers that want to give it a try. 

    We have planned on the "what next generation" the chances are most of the kids will go to uni but hopefully with an awareness of the sport where they might decide to pick it up there and now pathways are being developed in Unis especially Loughborough to Cov etc we hope if we don't benefit directly playing numbers will increase overall. Alot of community clubs forget that community isn't just their team but an overall picture. We aim to have player pathways into the NCL local clubs as well as other ways players that can and want to play at a higher level have the option to do so. We are working at a county level rather than region too so it allows for less travel. It takes alot of committed people to get it off the ground but a badge and name is one thing the club and players are something different 

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  10. On 12/12/2020 at 19:25, unapologetic pedant said:

    TTR don`t generally appear too flush. A lot of the players are in nondescript sportswear. They look like groups of joggers, hard to distinguish who belongs to which team. The contrast with the NSW League Tag teams in their gleaming club uniforms is striking. If the RFL integrated TTR into our clubs, creating a whole greater than the sum of the parts, they ought to be able to lever in more funding.

    But only if the RFL truly see Tag as a priority in building the RL fanbase. So long as they persist in merely paying lip service, TTR will be wise to keep their independence.

    The RFU might have more money but they also have people who better understand how to invest it for long term growth. If the RFL were given a million pounds to spend on development through the community clubs, and one programme would yield 1000 Tackle players but another would yield 100 000 Tag players, no doubt the former would get the largesse. If a million were given to a pro RL club for development, they`d sign two 35 year old Aussies.

    It`s hard not to admire the RFU`s slick and surreptitious capture of Touch from its roots in League. Notwithstanding that 7s has arguably less in common with Union 15s than Touch/Tag has with Tackle RL, it`s inconceivable that 7s would have been left languishing and available to be adopted as a means of promoting League. Even the most hidebound of committed-to-15s RU stalwarts would never have been stupid enough to let that happen. Cave-dwellers with a proven anti-Midas touch however are more than capable of effortlessly letting Touch and Tag slip through their net.

    I can only comment from the Leeds leagues I have played for but there are a couple of teams that have made the effort for custom kit and have large playing groups that will play up to 3 times a week between them. The rest are either people that don't want the additional cost or teams that are made up of individuals hence the orange/yellow tag to tell the teams apart. You are usually paying in the region of £40 per league per 8 weeks which can soon rack up. When we looked at TTR as our possible "minimal" contact option for our team we ruled it out on 2 things.

    1) is the cost at £388 for a team for 8 sessions works with a recommended max of 10 players. Is £48.50 per session for the team. Games are only 40 mins so you could be charging £5 each for 20 mins. 

    2) The main problem for us is the travel, on top of the above we would be travelling for 30-40 mins before and after to the game.

    So for 90 mins commitment each week it doesn't add value in either cost or practice minutes as you spend more traveling than playing. 

    Although I like the fact the RFL have "ownership" I think it should be a sidelined social sport run separately as it is now. I have said this previously on here and on podcasts too but for me X-league belongs with the clubs its already a developing tool for coaches of all ages when you don't want to smash up your fellow players in training but want to plan you attack vs defence. It doesn't require any additional equipment and you can play against each other.

    Some of our players are going to be in the running for selection for the X-League World Cup running in November next year in Sheffield. This hopefully can be a catalyst for more teams to get involved. With us advertising X-league as a social sport we run a dedicated evening all year round for it with players paying to play just that will local tournaments around the corner early next year and events such as hosting the local Round table social evening amongst other events we have entering the diary. 


  11. 7 hours ago, The Rocket said:

    Great to hear from someone who actually plays it, I haven`t played for 30 years, back in the 90`s, but remember there be literally hundreds of people at a park in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, Rooster territory, at the competition I was in. At that stage there was no affiliation with the NRL, that was something that would take another 15 years before the penny would drop, that `Hey, there are a lot of people here who probably never followed a  League team in their life, do they know what they are playing is a version of League`. I went along with a mate and his girlfriend, she was of Indian origins, previously she wouldn`t know one end of a football from the other, I`ll never forget the sight of her flying down the wing ball in hand, the whole extended family are dedicated Manly Sea Eagles followers now.

    Back to what you are saying, I agree the ability to make breaks is essential, it`s part of the whole excitement of all the different versions of League, not enough in tackle if you ask me these days, broken field running , someone being chased by someone else are all things that people love to watch and are fun to be part of. One question though, why the rule about keeping the kick below head height ? Anyway thanks for your contribution it`s great to have someone actually involved contribute, otherwise we would never know the details like you describe above. Regards Rocket.


    The only thing I can think of it limits the liklihood of collisions if I put up a spiral bomb as it dropped most people that play the sport haven't played league (well not in the UK) so it could help that way. 

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  12. 1 minute ago, Keith989 said:

    You were a bit ambitious comparing the Irish league to elite 1 in all fairness. I mean there are players being payed in elite 1 whereas it's a minor miracle for the longhorns to be even in the cc and competing against the likes of Normanton Knights. Just shows the incredible work being done at the longhorns.

    Fair one, in all honesty didn't know anything about the standard in Ireland. The French Elite one seems to be pushing the RFL League 1 now I suppose if they pooled their resources and played as Munster, Ulster etc maybe linked to the GAA clubs so you would only have 4 Ireland teams it could work. If only someone was ambitious and created a Euroleague 🤐😉🤔

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  13. 4 minutes ago, Keith989 said:

    Normanton knights beat the Longhorns 30-24 in the challenge cup last Jan, if that helps.

    Based on that potential for NCL level. Although a great league with some quality talent if the champions of the Irish league get beat by a NCL 2? Albeit in a one off game against one of the better Sides, then investment could definitely be better spent. I would rather they looked at the North East corridor with the great work Thunder are doing up there and potential to tap/expand Scotland too. 

  14. It's all about brand marketing. They can do exactly what the Americans and Australians do with sports teams although most of theirs are franchised if they are happy to brand the club that the town isnt the identity more the name. So referring to yourselves as Panthers more than Halifax or 'Fax you is the only way this will work. You will lose some but if the vision is there it can work. The promo vid they did of the guy running through the woods then onto the shay pitch was clever, although limited marketing budget as nothing animated it worked. 

  15. On 28/11/2020 at 09:26, AB Knight said:

    I actually prefer to stand behind the sticks but that’s just me. I’m led to believe most other clubs away fans at 3 of those grounds (Dewsbury, Barrow, Workington) stand in the terrace along the touch lines.

    I’ve also noticed we prefer to space out a bit - eg at Odsal some sat in the main stand, some stood under the touchdown bar, some in the middle of the terrace, some in the terrace right at the side nearest to the corporate facilities. Same at Fev, we had pockets of fans in each stand. 

    Long term I hope we learn to group together!

    The advantage is we can easily see from anywhere in the ground if you are in Pete 😂

  16. 36 minutes ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

    It’s great the success in the North East has been recognised with World Cup games been played up there including England’s opening game against Samoa.

    Middlesbrough seems an odd choice though for Tonga v Cook Islands, are any teams around Middlesbrough? I get the impression most sides are in the Newcastle area is this right? 

    2 Hartlepool teams (1 extra proposed) Cook Islands being based in Darlington helps too. Potential growth with a team in Darlo. Yarm already have a team too 


  17. Not sure if this post is designed as a wind up or not. On the view it's not until Elite 1 in France is viewed at least on par with the RFL Championship both Catalans and Toulouse need to be here in the system. They probably contribute just as much as they should for a team banging on the door of the playoffs with French talent. No team in Super League can say their squad is solely English they all rely on imports and most in the critical areas like halves/backs. 

  18. 37 minutes ago, Hopping Mad said:

    Having worked in Middlesbrough - and lived nearby - for five years, I'll say this:

    1 Its residents regard York as another planet (albeit decent for hen and stag ######-ups);

    2 The only sport that counts on Teesside is football. The rest are nowhere while rugby league barely registers in the area's sporting consciousness (witness the short life of Teesside Steelers ARLFC). Even with the Riverside Stadium to host a Rugby League World Cup match, I simply can't see Teessiders being tempted down the A19 to watch rugby league - even Super League - at York;

    3 Many residents regard themselves as Yorkshire not North East (and absolutely nobody in the North East considers 'smoggies' to be north-easterners).

    Finally, I'd say dismissing as glory hunters Middlesbrough FC supporters based south of, say, Stokesley (where Teesside ends) is rather insulting. Most of them are supporting the Football League club geographically nearest to them. Generally speaking, Thirsk seems to mark the divide: north of Thirsk, you're Boro; south of Thirsk, you're York City.

    Having lived in York for the last 13 years, I wonder how many supporters from outside the city and its immediate surrounding villages York RLFC actually manage to attract. Is suspect very few. A problem for York RLFC (and York City FC) is the city has a high proportion of outsiders, most of whom have next to no interest in what its sporting representatives are up to.

    Firstly Harrogate District have a supporters branch, we have supporters from Selby, Scarborough and Whitby that travel, I am not saying they are going to be people travelling in their thousands but if you can get a few hundred from each an extra thousand bums on seats comes easily.

    From setting up the most recent York City Knights foundation club in Harrogate straight away we have a full squad of mens and womens that will be going to games along with friends and partners etc. When you add juniors into the mix as the strategy comes together they come with parents that go we as a club along with existing Harrogate supporters (setup by me and Richard) will be offering over 100 attending regularly and more for local Yorkshire games. 

    On the point of Middlesbrough FC there were glory supporters in the UEFA Cup days but now the supporters are die hard "boro" fans which like any football league club have their moments in attendances when they drop from higher divisions. 

    • Like 6
  19. 2 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

    Harrogate I love those population figures, you just have to have that critical mass if you are going to be serious long term. You can`t expect the same people to go to the game all of the time, a larger population base gives that bit of flexibility with people being able to dip in and out and still pull good crowds.

    But did I hear somewhere the ground only holds eight thousand, that doesn`t sound like an awful lot to me, is there any likelihood of that being expanded, you`d have to think 15-20 000 would be pretty important, even just from a revenue side.

    It's something I have done alot of research in when setting up the Rugby League side in Harrogate. We have a population of circa 160,000 in the Borough of Harrogate and it was one the deciding factors in detirming the player base and our long term strategy. The ground in York is in the 8,000 mark there is room to expand if needed to 12-15,000 but ultimately when you are averaging under half the size of 8,000 at the top end 4,500 at the moment I would rather have 7,000 in an 8,000 stadium than 7,000 in 15,000. 

    When you look at Salford they have 12,000 capacity and they average around 5,000. Wakefield have under 10,000 but with their attendances around 7,000 creates a better atmosphere. 

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