Club legend Rob Burrow has revealed he wants to help bring through Leeds Rhinos’ next generation of stars when he eventually hangs up his boots.
Burrow came out of Rhinos’ academy system and has been part of the first-team squad since 2001, winning six Grand Finals, the World Club Challenge three times and the Challenge Cup last year.
He admitted he is beginning to think about what to do after his playing career and confirmed he is keen to continue working in rugby league, preferably at Leeds.
Burrow, who coaches Rhinos’ under-16s, along with teammate Carl Ablett, said: “I have still got a few years left in me, but when you look around the young lads and see 18 year olds coming through and you are 32, you do start to think about the future.
“I have been thinking about it for a number of years because I enjoy coaching the youth, not coaching first team, but I enjoy that and that’s something I really want to do. I have made people at the club aware I want to be involved in youth development and see the next generation come through.
“If I could have a hand in that, it would be really pleasing.
“I have coached the scholarship and that’s a massive part of their development, the three years I have them, whether they get signed or not. That’s really important, but I’d also like to be involved with the next part of their lives, when they join the academy and hopefully come through, like Liam Sutcliffe has done.”
Barrie McDermott, who played alongside Burrow in the 2004 Grand Final, was Rhinos’ head of youth for a spell after retiring as a player and the No 7 said he wants to follow a similar path.
“Simon Bell is doing a good job now and I would like to be involved in that,” he added.
Burow stressed he has not put a time limit on his playing career. He said: “I want to play until I am 35 or so, but I’ve always said I don’t want to be like a battered boxer. I don’t want to be just playing for the money or anything. When I have had enough and I can’t do what I’ve been doing all my life, then I won’t carry on. I will just bow out gracefully.”
Burrow, who is likely to continue on the bench for tomorrow’s visit of Wigan Warriors, added: “I prepare for games a lot differently now. When I was a kid I was more stressed, but I am much more relaxed now. That comes with experience. What you do count is how many pre-seasons you have got left. That’s the worst part of being a rugby player, pre-season. This year I was wondering how many pre-seasons I have got left in me. That’s not too many, which is a good thing, but the other side is I won’t be playing rugby any more. I don’t think I couldn’t be involved in the game any more, because it is all I have ever known.”
Meanwhile, Rhinos under-19s are in action tonight against Huddersfield Giants at Stanningley (7.30pm).
Elsewhere, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats have secured the signing of George Griffin, on a one-month loan deal. The 22 year old has joined the Wildcats from Super League rivals Salford Red Devils and could make his debut in Sunday’s home clash against Huddersfield Giants.
Wakefield head coach James Webster said: “George has had plenty of experience in Super League at both London and Hull KR. He is able to play good minutes which will help us as we are extremely short of props leading into a busy Easter period.” addressed the Wildcats head coach.
Wakefield have also signed St Helens prop forward Jordan Hand, 21, on a month’s loan, and 19-year-old winger Tom Johnstone has been rewarded for his efforts at Wildcats with a new three-year full-time deal.