May 13 2009 by Colin Paterson, Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
A JUNIOR rugby league club have signed a partnership deal with one of the sport’s top sides.
And the link-up could see talented local players given the opportunity to carve out a career in the professional game.
Monklands Warriors RLFC will receive backing from Super League big guns Salford City Reds thanks to the exciting deal.
As part of the agreement, the Warriors will be granted access to Salford’s players and coaching staff, and have funds raised at matches on their behalf.
The partnership signing, due to be formally completed in the coming weeks, means the Warriors, who are involved with North Lanarkshire Leisure’s community youth rugby project, will officially become one of the Reds’ feeder clubs.
Warriors head coach, Les Obre, told the Advertiser: “This friendship has been built up from humble beginnings and the signing will be the culmination of four years hard work.
“Salford are 100 per cent behind us and committed to helping us in any way they can.
“We are in the final stages of agreeing the partnership deal and this will allow us access to their players, coaches and fundraising initiatives.
“One of the benefits for the players we have here is they will have the chance of being invited down to Salford’s academy if they show some promise.
“There is now a real opportunity for kids in Monklands who display some potential to get picked up by a professional team.”
Four Reds coaches visited Monklands on Friday to run a coaching stint as part of the build-up to ‘Murrayfield Magic’ which saw a full round of Super League fixtures played in Edinburgh.
The training session was held at Dunbeth Park in Coatbridge and Les was thrilled with the number of new youngsters attracted to the sport.
He added: “The coaches put the kids through a range of skills sessions and everyone absolutely loved it.
“Rugby League was new to most of those who participated and the new experience seemed to inspire them.”
Ahead of last Sunday’s development match with Lancashire-based side Folly Lane, the Warriors squad travelled to Murrayfield to watch the best in the business in action.
And Les is hoping the fixture will be the first of many for the team throughout the 2009 season.
He said: “The game was played in a positive spirit and it gave the new ones a real taste of what the sport is all about.
“Folly Lane have invited us down to compete in a number of their tournaments this year which is something we are very happy about.
“And if we can get between eight and 10 kids from each school in this area interested in playing, then maybe we will be able to host tournaments ourselves.”