Former Grand Final winner Ian Kirke back with Leeds Rhinos in new role

Ian Kirke, in action for Leeds Rhinos against Castleford Tigers back in June 2013.

Ian Kirke, in action for Leeds Rhinos against Castleford Tigers back in June 2013.

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Five-time Grand Final winner Ian Kirke is back at Leeds Rhinos, just a year after leaving to join Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.

Kirke, 34, has returned to the club in a new capacity as conditioner for the first team squad, working under head of athletic performance Jason Davidson in a part time capacity.

He joined Rhinos in 2006 and made 214 appearances, including a nap hand of Old Trafford victories and the 2014 Challenge Cup final triumph.

His spell at Wakefield was marred by a series of injuries and he was limited to just four games. He was out of contract at the end of the campaign.

Kirke said: “Strength and conditioning is something I have always had an interest in - having completed my degree before I joined the Rhinos - and [I] have acquired several qualifications since then.

“I have always prided myself on how I took care of myself during my career and hopefully I can transfer some of that to our young players as well.

“It is great to have all the qualifications, but it is not always the easiest thing to apply that in the real world and hopefully I will be able to do that.”

Kirke has yet to decide whether to hang up his boots.

He added: “I will make a decision in the New Year as to whether I will play on next season on a part-time basis, but I am really looking forward to the challenge at the Rhinos.

“Obviously I know the place very well having spent nine years here and I have a lot of respect for what Jason Davidson has done with the squad during that period.”

Davidson said: “I am delighted to have Ian back on board at the club. He will take over from Chris Black, who is now heading up the strength and conditioning work at Yorkshire Carnegie.

“Ian will be working with the first team with their conditioning and strength programmes as well as analysing the GPS data from training.

“It is always good to bring someone in who not only is well qualified, but has also played the game and knows the requirements needed to perform in the game and the day to day demands that are placed on a player’s body.”

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