14 Squadbuilder Players in 1st Grade

14 Squadbuilder Players in 1st Grade

SquadBuilder, the fund-raising arm of Warrington Wolves Supporters’ Trust, continues to help the club develop home-grown talent.

14 Squadbuilder Players Prepare For 2011 In The First Grade

SquadBuilder, the fund-raising arm of Warrington Wolves Supporters’ Trust, continues to help the club develop home-grown talent.

The SquadBuilder scheme has gone a long way towards making the club the success it is today by supporting many players over the years, including current first team squad players Mike Cooper, Chris Riley, Tyrone McCarthy, Lee Mitchell, Matty Blythe, Ben Harrison and Rhys Williams as well as the young squad members hoping to break through: Rhys Evans, Ben Evans, Jamie Peasnell, Craig Harvey, Gareth O’Brien, James Laithwaite and Ryan Shaw.

SquadBuilder was established as a means of keeping local players local and fulfilling the need to develop Warrington trained players. In the early years the members looked to incentivise and help local players within the sport, working from the bottom up to build a pyramid of talent within the club.

Warrington is renowned for being a Rugby League town and by supporting and investing in home-grown players the club could, and continues to, raise this profile and interest in the game.

Over the years the number of players sponsored by Squadbuilder has increased with the focus moving towards investing in the team as a whole by promoting team spirit within the amateur level. The club is continually looking to strengthen the youth system and over the past few years SquadBuilder has played a big part in the development of young players by funding training and team building visits. This in turn is providing a strong foundation for the future of the club.

The SquadBuilder scheme currently has circa 200 members including many club representatives and staff. Contributions from these members help to raise thousands of pounds each year. Supporters’events, including Fans’ Days and Quiz Nights, also help to raise funds

Roy Chicken of the Supporters’ Trust and SquadBuilder said: “There was a lot of pride back in 2009 when we saw four SquadBuilder players play in the Challenge Cup Final success. We hope the success of the scheme continues and would like to see even more people get onboard. The scheme enables Wolves’ supporters to actively contribute to the development, coaching and promotion of young local players at all levels. Developing a team of Warrington trained players still remains the ultimate ambition.”

Andy Topham of Warrington Wolves was involved in creating SquadBuilder. “I think everyone involved should be proud of what we have achieved, having surpassed what we originally set out to do. We hope the scheme continues to develop many more young players in the future. The way Rugby League has changed and in turn the way SquadBuilder has changed emphasises the move towards helping to integrate more local players into first team squads. We now have a much broader pool of playing talent out there and can cast a wider net to find these players.

Director of Youth Development John Bastian reiterated the importance of the work done by everyone involved in the SquadBuilder scheme. “For an organisation to have been going for almost 10 years raising funds for the youth performance and development programme is an outstanding achievement. All the players who have benefited from SquadBuilder over the years should be grateful for the way it has impacted on their careers, not just in Rugby League but also on the education that is provided for other aspects of life.”

Laura Harrison,Supporters Direct, Rugby League Development Manager, added: “Warrington really is one of the leading Rugby League Supporters’ Trusts when it comes to assisting and developing local talent. They’re a benchmark for other Supporters’ Trusts and it’s great to see Supporters’ Trust having so much success. It just goes to show how effective they can be in influencing the direction of their clubs.”

Photo: L-R: Godfrey Gwilliam (SquadBuilder), Mike Cooper, Roy Chicken (SquadBuilder), Chris Riley, Tyrone McCarthy, Lee Mitchell, Matty Blythe, Rhys Williams, Ben Evans, Gareth O’Brien, Rhys Evans, Ryan Shaw, Craig Harvey, James Laithwaite, Jamie Peasnell, Ben Harrison