31st August 2017


Huddersfield Giants have been awarded the highest Academy rating of "Outstanding"

Foster Care

Following an independent accreditation process, which monitors the performance and progression of 13 junior development programmes, a record eight clubs have been assessed as ‘Outstanding’ in 2017 - three more than last year.

Leeds Rhinos, St Helens, Warrington Wolves, Widnes Vikings and Wigan Warriors have retained their ‘Outstanding’ rating and have been joined by Catalans Dragons, City of Hull Academy and Huddersfield Giants.

An evaluation of ‘Outstanding’ represents a level of performance which exemplifies best practice and implies that these very high levels of performance are sustainable and will be maintained.

All 13 Academies have been awarded licences – which is funded by Super League -  to run for four years through to 2020 and are measured against that and their current practice.  

Rugby Football League Chief Operating Officer, Ralph Rimmer, said: “Eight clubs achieving an ‘Outstanding’ rating is fantastic news for the sport – they should all be extremely proud of themselves along with the other clubs who have made significant improvements over the last 12 months.

“It’s promising to see Catalans, City of Hull Academy and Huddersfield up there and the work they’re doing with the players coming through their Academies.

“Standards across the Academy competition are always improving and this is down to the co-operation and commitment from all teams during the accreditation process.”

This is the sixth year that the Academy accreditation audit has taken place. The process is focused on three key areas: quality of leadership and management; how well Academies meet the needs of players; and the delivery of the player development system.

The findings of the Academy accreditation audit is as follows:

Huddersfield Giants 

Rating: Outstanding

Huddersfield Giants are an outstanding Academy and the club has invested time, resource, money, expertise and belief in the Academy processes over the last three years. It has developed a clear mission and vision through working together coherently for a dynamic club wide ‘philosophy and blueprint’ with the insightful coupling of performance and education, creating a more holistic approach. The Academy’s bespoke staffing structure extending to welfare and chaplaincy make its innovative player centric approach extremely evident. Full-time training and education programmes accelerate progression within the club’s pathway, increasing opportunities towards first team and Super League ambitions.


Bradford Bulls

Rating: Requires Improvement

After a difficult period at the club, improvements have already begun and the new owners have stabilised and initiated the re-building process with confidence within the club becoming apparent. Staffing structures within departments are improving, player recruitment within the Academy has quickly been addressed after many juniors left during administration and the culture and environment has remained strong throughout. The primary objective will remain the same, good people progressing their talent at Bradford Bulls.


Castleford Tigers

Rating: Good

Castleford Tigers have been recognised as a good Academy and have continued to make considerable improvements since last year’s accreditation. The club provides comprehensive holistic player development provision with mental skills, nutrition and player education complimenting good talent identification, coaching, athletic development and medical systems. Strategic improvements over the last 12 months include a newly formed education partnership with Castleford Academy and a player development partnership with the Midlands Hurricanes Regional Academy. Underpinning this, the clubs England Talent Pathway programme has been recognised as providing good practice around player and coach development including a partnership with the West Riding Football Association.


Leeds Rhinos

Rating: Outstanding

Leeds Rhinos have done a great deal of work over the past year to build on our strong performance last year and take the youth development programme forward. There are still areas they need to improve on and the report has been useful in highlighting those areas with a reference to post 18 student recruitment that they can look at moving forward. Importantly for them as a club, it was gratifying to see the hard work that goes on behind the scenes in looking after the young players both on the field and in the classroom being recognised.


Wakefield Trinity

Rating: Requires Improvement

Wakefield Trinity Academy has been graded the same as last year and although requires improvement, has made progress since last time and has some good features. Strides have been made forward and this has been recognised. The Academy is commended for forward thinking with its new kinetic online player system, its relationship with Wakefield College and it continues to put players education at the forefront of what they do. The Talent ID team has an established system in place. Areas for development continue to be facilities which is being addressed along with stronger leadership in key areas.

Please find all Academy gradings on the RFL website which can be accessed by clicking here

Heikki Kovalainen




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