WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats have confirmed former player Ryan Hudson as the club’s new youth development manager.
Hudson, who retired from playing at the end of this season, will oversee the recruitment of young players, academy coaches and set up structures and systems to improve the youth set-up at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.
The 32-year-old, who played over 50 games in the red, white and blue and finished his playing career at Castleford Tigers this season, will take up the role in December, and chose Wakefield over a number of clubs interested in his services.
“I’m really excited about the future,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to helping the kids and working with the youth development to see them develop into first team, full-time players which will be great.
“The club approached me and I like the idea of working with the youth side of things. It wasn’t so much the coaching but more managing and putting systems in place and developing a youth structure.”
Hudson, who also played for Huddersfield Giants and represented Great Britain, already runs the Elite Rugby Academy, aimed at young rugby league players between 4 and 11 years of age, alongside fellow former Tiger Danny Orr.
He’s well aware of the depth of talent available around the Wakefield district and beyond and he’s eager to tempt those players to Wakefield instead of them opting for a move elsewhere.
“My job will be aimed at getting out there and building relationships with amateur clubs and we want kids coming to Wakefield Wildcats,” he said.
“We want to put systems in place that will attract them and stop them going to Leeds, Wigan, Saints and the top four clubs.
“John Kain (Wildcats player performance manager) is doing a great job with the scholarship at the moment so obviously we’ll be working together and ultimately we want to create the best youth system in the competition.
“This is not going to happen overnight and we have a three-to-five year plan and ultimately it would be nice for that to come through sooner and quicker but things do take time.”
Wildcats chief executive James Elston said: “The fact that there were other Super League clubs talking to Ryan about him joining their organisations really highlights that he has many qualities that he will bring to the table for our youth development programme.
“He’s been through a lot in the game as a professional and his experiences fresh from being involved at the elite level will be great for our young players to learn from.
“We want to make sure that the best young players in this area are coming to Wakefield and want to play for their local club. With the systems and structures Ryan will look to put in place alongside John Kain, we will make the Wildcats an even more attractive proposition for young talent and in time will see more and more coming through the ranks into the first team following the likes of Matty Wildie, Kyle Trout and Lucas Walshaw who have done just that in the last couple of years.”
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