A GROUND-BREAKING bid to make Malvern a home for rugby league players of the future has been boosted thanks to a partnership with a well-known Super League side.
Mercian Development Academy (MDA) has teamed up with the Castleford Tigers, one of the most famous names in professional rugby league.
Based at Dyson Perrins CE Academy, the MDA is open to all players and students from across the Midlands and will provide education and rugby league training to help players reach the highest level in the sport.
The programme caters for 16 to 18-year-olds and provides a structured pathway to help them develop from promising young rugby league players to the professional game and ultimately the Super League with Castleford Tigers.
Aspiring stars will be offered an education in the academy and open weekly training sessions while development squads ranging from 12 to 15 will also form part of the scheme.
The aim is to grow rugby league in the Midlands and produce first rate professional players to grace the Super League in the future.
Just two of the 12 teams in the top tier of rugby league are from outside the north of England and MDA bosses hope the move will see the sport compete with the southern-based union game.
Castleford, currently sitting second in Super League having won four of their first five games, will support the academy through their Tigers Trust.
Coaching expertise and advice will be on offer with regular sessions at the MDA while students will also have access to Castleford Tigers ETP (England Talent Pathway) events and home games played at ‘The Jungle’.
MDA academy director Stuart Hood said: “We are very excited about teaming up with such a great rugby league club as Castleford Tigers.
“Their ethos as a club and their investment in youth through the Castleford Tigers Trust is well-known.
“It was clear early on they shared the same vision as ourselves, in wanting to produce the very best rugby league players we can, in the very best way possible.
He thanked Tigers Trust community manager Tim Rumford for making the partnership a reality.
Fred Dowdeswell, business manager at Dyson Perrins, said: “We look forward to welcoming MDA students to the school and making them part of the school community.”