Costin to coach under-20s

Date published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013

PHIL Costin was named today as coach of Oldham RL Club’s new under-20s squad.

He steps up from the club’s now disbanded under-18s side and will work closely with head coach Scott Naylor and his assistant Lee Spencer to form a three-man coaching and managerial team.
The under-23s have also gone, victim of structural changes in age-group rugby throughout the sport, but Roughyeds have again expressed a commitment to youth by taking up the option of running a second team of under-20s.
Unlike last year, Costin’s young hopefuls will train at the same venue and on the same nights as the first team.
And most of the eight home games will be played at Whitebank on Friday nights so that Naylor can regularly keep an eye on the talent he has in reserve.
“We’ve been training for a few weeks,” said Costin, “and we mirror what the first team does. Scott (Naylor) and ‘Spanner’ (Spencer) are great to work with.
“They will occasionally jump in and do part of the session with my lads. They have been a massive help and they have stressed from day one that we are all singing from the same sheet and all working towards the same goals in our aims to take the club forward.
“Their outlook on the under-20s and what we are trying to achieve has been like a breath of fresh air.”
The squad will comprise many of last year’s under-18s plus a dozen or so new recruits, most of them with Super League club backgrounds.
Added Costin: “It will be a tough competition. We are a little bit on the young side and I am under no illusions. But we have some talented lads and we are more than capable of having a good crack at it.”
He will have an assistant, to be named shortly.
Ten clubs will be in competition —- Salford City Reds from Super League; Featherstone Rovers, Halifax, Keighley Cougars, Leigh Centurions and York City Knights from the Championship; and Oldham, Hemel Stags, Rochdale Hornets and South Wales Scorpions from Championship One.
Not all clubs will play the same number of games so they will compete in a Merit League with placings governed by percentage wins against number of games played. Roughyeds will play 14 games in total, eight at home, six away.
Oldham will kick off at Leigh on Saturday, March 2 (2.30pm) and will also play away at Rochdale (twice), Keighley, Hemel and York.
At Whitebank, Costin’s men will face Rochdale, South Wales, Featherstone, Halifax, Hemel, York (twice) and Salford.
Rules will permit the use of two over-age players in a squad of 17, but clubs can mutually agree to field up to five in any specific game.
Clubs can also agree mutually to play at under 18 or under-19, but in those games over-age players will not be permitted.
Players from partner clubs (Salford City Reds in Oldham’s case) can be used providing they meet age-group criteria.
Describing the club’s decision to invest in the under-20s as an ‘act of faith’, chairman Chris Hamilton said Roughyeds had been successful over the years in recruiting and then developing players in-house.
He added: “We are continuing that policy despite reduced RFL funding this year for Championship One clubs.
“We hope fans will back us on this, particularly with regard to turning up and watching the team play.”
Season-ticket holders will gain free entry to under-20s home games.
Naylor’s restructured first-team squad, which includes a dozen new faces, will get its first pre-season run-out against a Salford select squad at Whitebank on Sunday (3pm kick off).
Cost of admission is £7 adults, £5 concessions, £3 under-16s and £2 transfer to seats.