Coaches Brian McDermott and James Lowes have pledged to bring Leeds Rugby’s two teams closer together.
Players from Leeds Rhinos and their union sister side Carnegie held a joint training session yesterday (January 14) at the club’s Kirkstall academy, after eating together at Headingley.
Both team bosses are keen to promote more links between the codes, who already share staff and resources.
Rhinos are a month and one day away from the start of their Super League campaign, while in-form Carnegie are aiming to step up their bid for promotion back to the Premiership.
The two sets of players train separately but share facilities and gym sessions sometimes coincide.
Several Carnegie youngsters crossed codes to play for Rhinos’ under-19s last year and two of them, Josh Walters and Dan Grange, played in the Boxing Day encounter with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
Rhinos coach McDermott said: “We are one club and there has always been synergy between the team teams, while ever I’ve been at the club.
“Sometimes that has been strong and sometimes not so strong.
“We have one chief executive who runs both teams and Chris Gibson, who is currently director of rugby at Leeds Carnegie, also does a lot of player welfare with Leeds Rhinos.
“He is dual-code and Jimmy Lowes, who needs no introduction to Leeds Rhinos people, is now head coach at Carnegie and doing a fantastic job there.
“He is not only influencing the team, but also their whole culture. The synergy between the two teams could not be any stronger.”
McDermott has said Lowes – his former assistant – will have an input into some of Rhinos’ coaching this year and more joint training sessions will be held.
“It’s not something you can do every month,” he admitted. “Logistically, it is a huge thing for it to suit Carnegie, who are currently in season, and to suit us. But we will do another one of these in the next two or three months.
“The actual players on the training field isn’t such a big gesture, but players in and around the workplace, having conversations and getting to know each other, is.
“That’s where the strength of the synergy is at the moment, that players from both codes get on.”
McDermott said the two coaching staffs will continue to work together. “Jason Davidson is in charge of the conditioning and athletic performance of both teams,” he said.
“Quite often we have some sort of dialogue with members of their staff. Ben Jones is head of the academies of both teams, so not only is it between players and administrators.
“Within the football staffs a lot of dialogue and crossover goes on. It can benefit both teams.”
Lowes also wants to see closer ties between Carnegie and Rhinos.
He said: “We are all part of one club and it is good we are all around together.
“With things like this, the guys get to know each others’ names and that makes it a nicer environment to work in, when you can say hello and use somebody’s name.
“There’s always things to learn off each other, but that’s not the main idea behind it. It is about getting to know each other.” Click here to register and have your say on the stories and issues that matter to you