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Interview: Academy get season underway tonight

The City of Hull Academy’s under-19s get their 2017 league campaign underway tonight when hosting Newcastle Thunder at Bishop Burton College, kick-off 7.30pm.

2017 members for both Hull Kingston Rovers and Hull FC can cheer the lads on for free by showing their membership card on entry, with a youthful but promising COHA side looking to get their season off to a winning start.

This is just the second year of the academy’s existence after the pooling of resources from the two professional clubs but City of Hull Academy director Danny Wilson says there are promising signs.

He told www.hullkr.co.uk: “We’re really excited for this season for both the under-19s and under-16s squads and collectively this is the best group of players I’ve ever worked with, but we don’t judge ourselves on where we finish in the table.

“Realistically, our job is to develop players for the two clubs and we want to see as many players from the City of Hull Academy going on to play in Super League or the Championship as possible, that’s always the main aim. We’re competitive people at the end of the day and you want to win matches and competitions if possible but development comes first.

“I think it was a very positive first 12 months and preparations for our second season have gone well. The biggest hurdle to overcome was everybody’s perception of the academy and bringing the two rival clubs together, but we’ve worked hard and I believe we’ve achieved that.

“A lot of supporters from both clubs have also come round to the idea of a joint academy but we still need to work hard on attracting people to games at Bishop Burton College. The facilities are fantastic and having clubs such as Hull City and Leicester Tigers using the campus shows how good it is, but we need to keep reminding fans that the road to Bishop Burton isn’t as long as they think because we want as many people as possible to get behind us.”

The City of Hull Academy will also be running an under-13s and under-14s open access day this half-term, with all welcome. It will take place on Monday, 20th February from 10am to 1pm at the University of Hull's sports facilities on Inglemire Lane and will be run by professional coaches as part of the RFL’s Embed the Pathway programme. There’s also a free coach/parent workshop in the evening from 6pm to 8pm. For more info or to book your place, please contact rob.nickolay@cofha.co.uk

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