Two professional players from Newcastle Thunder are to lead the coaching set up at the north east’s biggest community rugby league club, Cramlington Rockets.
Evan Simons and Vincent Rennie will be overseeing the coaching of the club’s open age set up, which has two adult sides that play in the North East League.
Fans’ favourite Simons was one of leading lights for Newcastle Thunder last year while Cook Island international Rennie is a new addition for the 2016 season after joining from NRL side Canterbury Bulldogs in the winter, and both players were keen to get started.
“I am honoured and excited to work with Cramlington Rockets,” said Simons.
“Ever since I arrived at Newcastle Thunder last year, I have noticed the club’s warm support from all age groups.
“Being such a family orientated person and a rugby league fanatic is what I believe has brought about this connection, as we both share a love and passion for the sport and the rugby league family.”
Rennie was also relishing the chance to put something back into the community.
He said: “When an opportunity to help coach a local first grade side came along, I jumped at it.
“Just being able to give back to the game that has helped me so much is an awesome reward in itself.
“If I can influence even one player to become a better person on and off the field, then I will have achieved what I set out to.”
The Rockets have enjoyed moderate success in recent years, lifting the North East Men’s Cup in 2014 and finishing third in the league in 2015, but they are now looking to push on to a higher level, something both players reflect in their own coaching philosophies.
“I am aiming to give the boys a professional rugby league structure, develop a better understanding of the game and improve their core skills,” said Simons.
“Players can expect a lot of attention to detail while learning the little things of our game with a lot of enjoyment and laughter” added Rennie.
“For me, ‘mateship’ is what our game is all about.”
Rockets chairman Jeff Ball said he was thrilled to have such high profile coaches at the club.
“The experience and attitude that Evan and Vincent will bring to the club is very exciting,” he said.
“The open age is the pinnacle of the club. We want every player to aspire to playing for it.
“We already have a very talented squad with an average age of around 21-years-old, so to have Evan and Vincent, who are not much older but with a lot of experience, should make it easier for them to relate to the players and also attract some new faces.”
Cramlington Rockets are recruiting for the 2016 season with open age pre-season starting at 7pm on Wednesday, March 30, at their home base, Cramlington Learning Village.