Saints Academy Is Grade One

SAINTS Academy has been accredited at Grade One Status.

The RFL rated the junior development system at the Club as Outstanding.

“St Helens continues to be an outstanding Academy,” the governing body’s report said. “This is underpinned by strong values and beliefs on player development which permeate from the senior management within the club.

“There is a strong culture of Academy produced players sustaining the first team over many years which has been brought about through committed staff and continued investment in the environment.”

The RFL reviews all Academies yearly to monitor and evaluate their performance and progression and strengths as well as identifying areas for improvement.

The process focuses on:

1) Achievements of the system – the improvements in the performance of players and coaches over a prolonged period.
2) Quality of Leadership and Management – the strategy and vision of the Academy and progress made.
3) How well Academies meet the needs of players- the welfare, education and safeguarding that is in place.
4) The Delivery of the Player Development system – The approaches used to optimise the development of players through to your First Grade and England.

Only three academies were awarded Grade One status.

Neil Kilshaw, Saints Player Performance Manager said: “As a club we pride ourselves on continually being at the forefront of youth development and youth performance and quite rightly our reputation within British sport is high.

“We believe that the success of our programme is not solely about producing Super League players for St Helens because as we all know only a small percentage push through in such a physically and mentally demanding arena that is Rugby League.

“We also take pride in all those players who are now playing in Super League elsewhere, Championship and Championship 1, in Australia, or indeed in the National Conference and local leagues.

“A major part of being associated with our Scholarship and Academy structures is to help develop the characters of young adults to give them skills that will help them in all facets of life.”

He continued: “Naturally as a club we are judged on the number and quality of players that go on to have Super League careers and this year alone we have seen eight debutants in Super League from our scholarship programme, whilst several others have really established themselves within the first team environment.

“Of the four Australia tours to date – where our playing record is won 13, drawn 1 and lost 1 – 31 players have played in Super League with a further 19 playing in Championship or Championship 1.

“The RFL’s rigorous accreditation process enables us to take stock of our systems and procedures and our Grade One rating is just reward to all involved at the club from the Chairman down to the parents of our past and present players.

“Naturally this yearly process of accreditation forces us to look internally and there are areas of our performance that we would like to enhance even further, if we are to remain at the forefront of developing young people and talented players.”

Pictured are Saints Academy on their last tour of Australia.

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