Castleford Tigers confirm Rob Nickolay as new youth development boss

Castleford Tigers have unveiled Rob Nickolay as their new head of youth development.

By Peter Smith
Monday, 24th January 2022, 1:50 pm
Rob Nickolay is the Tigers' new head of youth development. Picture by Castleford Tigers.
Rob Nickolay is the Tigers' new head of youth development. Picture by Castleford Tigers.

The 32-year-old joined Tigers last year as education and development manager, but will now be in charge of the club’s youth pathways, including their reserves, academy, scholarship and college programmes.

Nickolay, who is also coach of England Community Lions, has set a goal of making Tigers Super League’s top club for talent development.

An RFL decision not to award Tigers an academy licence for the 2022-23 seasons was reversed last June and Nickolay is keen to ensure the club doesn’t find itself in a similar position in the future.

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Castleford's new head of youth development Rob Nickolay. Picture by Castleford Tigers.

“For me, we should be rated outstanding,” he said.

“Moving forward, that is what I’m here for - to make sure we not only achieve a licence, but exceed one.

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“I would like us to be a blueprint of what talent development looks like in rugby league.

“People might say that is ambitious, but I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think we could achieve that.”

Explaining his new role, Nickolay added: “It is an exciting time to be a part of the new era with Radders [coach Lee Radford] and the new staff coming in.

“It’s something I’m really excited to get started with.

“The role will encompass everything in terms of the youth that is involved within the club.

“From whenever you pick up a rugby ball somewhere in Castleford, it’ll be my job to try and make sure we find a pathway for that player to develop – both in the male and female game.”

Nickolay insisted bringing through local talent is the way forward for Tigers.

“For us, that history and heritage is huge,” he said of the club’s reputation for developing homegrown players.

“It is for us to channel and really tap into that and start building on it so we can add to that rich history of the club.

“Moving forward, we have met with the scholarship and academy players and set some really robust standards, adding that layer of professionalism.”

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