Young rugby league players are been encouraged to go on the rampage thanks to a scheme rolled out by Dewsbury Rams.
Each Monday, youngsters from a local rugby league club are invited to Tetley’s Stadium, where they are given an insight to the running of a Championship club. The scheme has only been running a matter of weeks but is already fully subscribed until July.
Shaw Cross Sharks Under-14s were the latest group to be put through their paces by Rams players Martyn Reilly and Kyle Trout and the Rampage scheme is proving a huge hit.
Reilly, who is currently recovering from an ACL injury, relishes the chance to pass on his experiences to young players and explained: “When Lee Greenwood came in, he really wanted to push getting out in the community, he approached Mark (Sawyer) who okayed it and both me and Trouty have had a bit of experience in working in schools and community.
“I thought it was a great idea to get kids down and as a tester we had Siddal U14s came down and it took off from there.
“We sent one e-mail out to clubs and the response has been fantastic and we are fully booked up to July.
“We train three or four times a week (with Dewsbury), so Monday is the only night we can do it but every Monday is packed now.”
Greenwood’s community club Siddal piloted the scheme a few weeks ago and youngsters from Drighlington and Dewsbury Moor have since enjoyed the two-hour session with the Rams players.
Dewsbury Moor, Celtic, Thornhill Trojans and Shaw Cross have already booked sessions for their various age groups and the scheme is attracting attention from further afield with Stanley Rangers and Sharlston also showing interest.
Reilly added: “The kids have loved it and we have had loads of positive feedback about how much they have enjoyed it.
“A lot of the clubs will use it as a training session during the week. Rugby is massive in this area and if we can hit every age group in the local clubs it would be massive.
“We have a chat with the players about what we do on a training night at the Rams.
“Trouty will then take them over (onto the 3G pitch) and do some skills and show them dynamics and then get into skill games and work on things they wouldn’t normally work on.
“After that we then take them into our purpose built gym and do some simple testing, and make it into a bit of a competition among the clubs.
“We then let the players have half an hour in the wrestle room, throw each other about and have a bit of fun before having debrief.”
Monday’s session with the Sharks Under-14s was the biggest yet with 24 youngsters taking part and Reilly looks at the bigger picture of rolling the Rampage scheme out to local schools.
Reilly added: “Trouty has been around a long time and has been at Super League clubs and he says there are not many clubs that have the facilities we have here.
“I think we have come on leaps and bounds on and off the field. It would be brilliant if we could take the scheme into schools every day and do more things after school down here.
“Professional rugby league does not have the spare money to be able to pay people to do this sort of stuff.
“We are doing what we can with nothing but hopefully we can kick on and get some funding to get us into schools and get our name out there like other clubs.
“We want to get new kids into rugby. Not just teams that are already formed and lads and girls that are already playing.
“We want to get into schools and teach kids who don’t know who Dewsbury Rams are and have never touched a rugby ball and show them what its all about and get more kids into the grass roots game.”
The evening, which is open to all local clubs and is free of charge, ends with those attending receiving free tickets to a future Rams home game and a number of the Sharks will be at Sunday’s Championship match against Toronto Wolfpack.
Reilly added: “Lads are here with Rhinos and Wakefield kits on and they are fans of Super League clubs.
“It is sometimes easy to neglect your local club but here we have an incentive where we can get them in, show them what it’s all about and they will go away having had a really enjoyable night.
“We then give everyone a free ticket to come down and show them how good Championship rugby is and that it isn’t that far away from Super League now.
“If we get 20 of these kids to the Toronto game and two of them decide they want to come the week after, then its a bonus to us.”
The scheme has already proved popular with young players and parents alike.
Ian Silkstone, whose son joined the Sharks last summer, said: “We went with the Sharks to Leeds Rhinos and I think this is equally as good and from the lads point of view it looks a lot more fun.
“Leeds was very good but it was more around their academy and the process to get on their scholarship where this was directed at the lads.”
He added: “You got a lot more one-on-one time with the coaches and it seemed thoroughly enjoyable.
“From a parents point of view, the lads looked to enjoy every second of it.”