By Sam Taylor
A new generation of rugby coaches is emerging as senior players start thinking of life after calling time on their professional careers.
Kieron Cunningham, Chris Chester and Brian McDermott are just a few examples of coaches who have played at the top level.
The new crop is showing great potential. Hull FC prop Scott Taylor is currently weighing up playing while being head coach at Beverley ARLFC while Jamie Jones-Buchanan has previous experience after being assistant at Stanningley a few years ago.
Leeds Rhinos trio Jordan Lilley, Ashton Golding and Sam Hallas are gaining their foothold helping head coach and former Doncaster player at their former amateur club Stanningley.
Lilley, currently on loan at Bradford Bulls, explained that the coaching didn’t really affect his playing: “The team train on Tuesday and Thursday nights while I train at Leeds through the day. It’s easy enough really and really enjoyable.
“I don’t know about coaching in the future. It’s a big one to call while only being 20 years old but it’s something to think about.”
Loving the coaching role down @StanningleyRL can't wait to help get the club back to where it belongs. 💪🏻
— Jordan Lilley (@JordanLilley6) January 24, 2017
One player who has already made the transition from amateur to professional is Toronto Wolfpack assistant coach Kurt Haggerty.
Haggerty learnt his trade at Pilkington Recs, a team from St Helens. He was part of the staff at Pilks from his early twenties. He became head coach of the team while playing for Barrow Raiders in 2013. He began to gain a reputation in the amateur game as he led his side to three consecutive promotions to the National Conference League Premier Division.
Haggerty reflected on his time at Pilkington: “I learnt a lot from my time coaching at Pilkington Recs. I always tried to keep it as professional as I could without crossing the boundaries and limitations of being an amateur team.”
His efforts at Pilkington went noticed. He retired from the professional game at the age of 27 in order to take up a role at the Wolfpack under his former coach.
With the increase in professional players coaching at amateur level, he said: “The advice I would give to any current professional looking to get involved in amateur coaching is to apply yourself fully to the cause. Take experiences that you have gone through as a player and look to apply it in any situations where it may be useful.”