Dual role will help Hunslet Hawks and Leeds Rhinos - Eaton

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FORMER MARKSMAN Barry Eaton insists his new role at Leeds Rhinos can only help his club Hunslet Hawks.

The Hawks coach has been drafted in by Rhinos boss Brian McDermott as an unofficial assistant, working mainly with Leeds’ kickers.

As a half-back with clubs including Wakefield, Castleford, Dewsbury and Batley, Eaton set several kicking records, including a world mark for the most consecutive successful goal attempts a decade ago.

Eaton admitted there’s little to teach Rhinos skipper Kevin Sinfield – who had an 86 per cent success rate last season – but believes his experience can benefit Leeds’ less regular kickers.

“What I am doing won’t affect my work with the Hawks,” Eaton said.

“It will predominantly be early part of the week work, mainly Monday sessions.

“I have been having a bit of an input into the kicking side of things, field kicking and potentially moving on to a bit of goal kicking as well.

“Kevin Sinfield is one of the best in the world and I am not saying I am going to be able to improve people like him, but possibly the younger players who don’t kick as consistently as Kevin.

“I can potentially have a look at their technique, the way they approach the ball, how they strike the ball and things like that.

“I am not necessarily going to try and change people’s technique, but we’ll have a look and see if we can add something that might improve them – and with field kicking as well.”

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Eaton believes his link with Leeds - who were beginning their pre-season campaign at home to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats today - also has potential benefits for Hawks’ kickers.

He added: “As a coach I can admire Kevin Sinfield as a kicker in general play and a goal kicker as well.

“I am not going to try and change anything he does, but it will certainly be interesting to get his thoughts on kicking in general play and goal kicking and sometimes bouncing ideas around can improve other people.”

Eaton coached Keighley Cougars and was assistant at Crusaders and in the Welsh national set-up before joining Leeds.

He admitted he’s pleased to be involved in Super League again as part of Rhinos’ relationship with Hunslet.

“It’s another progression in the partnership between the two clubs,” he stated.

“We are working together in everything from the grassroots – community clubs and schools - through to first team level.

“I am going to learn from being around the Rhinos staff and players and that is only going to improve me as a coach.”

Rhinos are considering loaning players to Super League rivals Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and London Broncos next season, but Eaton said the dual-registration agreement with Hunslet will continue.

“Some dual-reg players will be made available to us,” he confirmed. “Ultimately if there are players who need to be playing at the highest level it would be wrong to say they should come to Hunslet on dual-reg if they have an opportunity to go to a Super League club on loan.

“But unless Leeds have a repeat of the horrific injury problems they had last year, some players will be made available to us.”

Eaton said discussions over the identity of possible dual-registration players will be held later in pre-season.


Baley try scorer Alex Rowe. PIC: Paul Butterfield

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