Kilshaw Heads Down Under
Warrington and Cheshire Rugby League Development Manager Alan Kilshaw is heading Down Under to take up a new coaching role in North Queensland.
Alan will travel to Australia next week to start his role as head coach of the Sarina Crocodiles. The semi-professional team who play in the Mackay league has a strong foundation beneath it with reserve, u18s and junior leagues feeding into the club. His new role will also see him transferring his community skills delivering programmes to local schools and clubs.
Rugby League and Warrington have played a big part in Alan's life from a young age since he started playing the sport at the age of 11 for local amateur side Crosfields.
His playing career saw him play in the Warrington and St Helens academies, Oldham and Blackpool. During his time at these clubs he did a lot of work within the community and developed an interest in the coaching side to the game.
Following an early coaching career with the Wolves' academy under Gary Chambers, Alan took on a development role with the RFL and has since worked locally with Warrington's academy and scholarship sides as well as with the wider region's academy set-up and England internationals.
Since starting in the Warrington and Cheshire area Alan has seen a notable change in the uptake of the game with the local community. There are a lot more teams and children playing in the Warrington area with more players on the club's scholarship scheme and within the WolfPack.
Alan said: "Having actively followed the NRL and opportunities in Australia I am really looking forward to taking on this new challenge. Rugby League is the number one sport over there, with more resources available and more people playing the game too.
"During my time working with Warrington I have taken advice from and learnt off many people including Tony Smith, Gary Chambers, John Bastian and Dave Elliott, all of which I will take with me to my new role. I would like to thank all those associated with the club for their support in helping to develop the game further in the Warrington area.
"Over the years I have seen many changes notably in the training facilities and investment in the youth development programmes and staff. Collectively we are making a difference within schools and the community, and I hope that this will continue to grow over the coming years. It's not all about the performance and the elite, it's important to look at participation and get more children involved in sport and in the game.
"It is now much harder to select for the Warrington and Cheshire elite training groups from U11 all the way up to U16. The skill level and quality of players has gone up across the board. In addition we have seen a big increase in the number of youngsters playing the game so we have more teams at each age group. The success of the first team undoubtedly helps this and encourages more young players to give the game a go."
John Bastian, Wolves' director of youth development, added: "Alan's done a marvellous job within the Warrington community programme. The growth and development of junior players within the town and surrounding areas has been due to the success at Warrington Wolves and the infrastructure and culture that Alan and his staff have provided for our junior players. He can be very proud of his achievements and personal development during his time as Warrington and Cheshire Rugby League Development Manager. On behalf of all the staff at Warrington we would like to wish Alan and his family every success in their new venture and exciting challenges in North Queensland, Australia. A big thank-you."
All at Warrington Wolves would like to wish Alan well in his new venture and thank him for the work he has done for the club and game.
27, Jan, 2013