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21 March 2024

Lions’ LEAPP towards the future!

Earlier this week at Swinton Lions, we were proud to launch a new dedicated player pathway programme. It is titled LEAPP (The Lions’ Elite Athlete with Potential Programme) – an innovative project which offers highly promising young players, between the ages of 16 and 21, a training and development opportunity to upskill and potentially become the Lions of the future. The first six players attended the Lions’ gym on Tuesday and were given briefings about the scheme and the club in general by Head Coach Alan Kilshaw, Director of Development Damian Ridpath, Head of Youth Development Dougie Owen, and CEO Steve Wild.

Key to the programme is that the players involved will co-ordinate elite training time with the Lions’ coaching staff, alongside playing for their respective community clubs.

The initial players identified for the programme are:-

Daniel Coop 17 (Rochdale Mayfield); Luke Fisher 17 (Sherwood Wolf Hunt); Harry Hesketh 19 (Westhoughton Lions); Daniel Ridpath 17 (Latchford Giants); Ethan Sykes 16 (Waterhead); James Tarpey 18 (Woolston Rovers).

These players have been identified whilst attending the Lions Talent Pathway Programme, or as in Luke’s case whilst playing alongside the two Daniels for Ireland in last season’s Under 16 Home International series. In that competition the Ireland team recorded their highest ever finish.

The LEAPP project will be led by Dougie Owen, our Head of Youth Development, and will be supported by Lions Foundation coaches Gareth Pratt and Luke Waterworth. Senior Head Coach Alan Kilshaw and his performance staff will also offer their support.

Head of Youth Development, Dougie Owen, said, “This is an exciting opportunity for us to give young players an environment to develop themselves as players and as individuals. We see this programme growing to support not only the individual players, but the local community clubs and Swinton Lions’ long term future.”

Alan Kilshaw continued, “As Head Coach at the club, I am very proud to be part of this Swinton Lions initiative. The platform we’ll provide for these players to develop and enhance their rugby league knowledge and skills, alongside educational development in areas such as conditioning, analysis and nutrition, will not only benefit them as players but also as individual people.”

The Lions’ CEO Seve Wild added, “It’s fantastic that once again Swinton Lions is at the forefront of innovative thinking. LEAPP represents a very real player pathway for identified emerging talent, and hopefully the opportunities it offers will be exploited by potential Lions of the future. It was great to meet the first intake the other night, and be able to assure the players and their parents that the scheme has the full backing of the entire club.”


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