20 Sep 2018

In a major step forward for technical progress, 13 match officials and eight coaches have taken part in ‘professional placements’ activities as part of the EU-backed Training and Education Portal project, which completes at the end of this year.

In the build-up to the RLEF Congress in Serbia - one of the project’s cluster leaders - the week-long professional development programme included coaches; Mike Aughey (Ireland), Aitor Davilas (Spain), Bob Doughton (Germany), Tiziano Franchini (Italy), David Lahr (Czech Republic), Slobodan Manak (Serbia) and Thijs van der Zouwen (Netherlands).

There were three main strands of activity: attending and analysing matches, sessions to analyse training methods, and workshops covering, amongst other things, match analysis, the warm up and coaching philosophy. Four of the coaches took part in the first professional placement activity in Leeds in June, with the group now providing the sport with a strong corps of coach educators.

“Feedback was very positive,” said RLEF coach manager Martin Crick. “This and the Leeds event very much put the emphasis on self-development, and self-reflection on their own practice. Discussions in the evenings demonstrated that this group of coaches were very self-aware and extremely willing to learn and progress.”

On the match officiating side; Jaroslav Bzoch (Czech Republic), Craig Smith and Cameron Worsley (England), Mohamed Drizza and Benjamin Casty (France), James Spencer (Ireland), Guido Bonatti (Italy), Bartlomiej Sierota (Poland), Antonio Palacios and Andrew Pilkington (Spain) and Oleksandr Ivchenko (Ukraine) combined to form the most polyglot squad in rugby league history. All participants were trained in professional evaluation systems as they advance their careers as part of the RLEF match officials squad.

The TEP is a three-year, €723.000 investment into capacity building through good governance and technical training, funded by €466.000 from the EU’s Erasmus+ project and the remainder from the RLIF and five of its full members. It is intended to build the knowledge and skills of the RLEF’s 21 European members, divided into six regional clusters, through high quality training and mentoring, while granting opportunities to share experiences amongst fellow Europeans dedicated to rugby league development.