17th February 2017


Jake Wardle, Jon-Luke Kirby and Dominic Young have been named in the England Rugby League’s new National Performance Programme.

Foster Care

Huddersfield Giants young stars Jake Wardle, Jon-Luke Kirby and Dominic Young have been named in the England Rugby League’s new National Performance Programme.

Feeling there was a need to upgrade and improve the current international programme below the Elite Squad level, the new pathway will have more of a focus on talent identification, player skill development, physical competences and the creation of a performance coaching environment.

A National Performance Training Squad Programme will also be established for the under-16 and under-18 elite player groups replacing the current England Youth and Academy programmes.

National Performance Training Squads (under-16, under-18 & Women) will operate through national training centres. Up to 40 players can be selected to each group throughout the annual programme from the Community game and Academy structures by national staff.

Former Warrington Wolves player and Wales international, Lee Briers will take over from Andy Kelly as head coach of England Academy and combine this role with his current position of assistant coach at Warrington.

The National Performance Programme will run on an annual basis from February – October.

Giants Head of Youth, Andy Kelly, commented on the inclusion of three of his players: “Dominic Young has been picked for the England Youth training squad and obviously from our point of view that is a massive honour for one of our scholarship players, to pit himself at international level and I think it is a reward for the coaches that have been coaching him, not just at the Huddersfield Giants Scholarship but at his parent, community club, Dewsbury Moor, so for parents, community club and Huddersfield Giants Scholarship it is a huge honour and reward for a lot of people’s hard work.

“For Jon Luke Kirby, who narrowly missed out on international selection for the tour to Australia last year, it’s nice to see him back in that squad and Jake Wardle, who has had a season of injury and missed out on the trip to Australia because of that, it’s a real incentive now for him and his training to get back into a playing mode, there is a nice incentive there that he is going to be involved in the international squad and nice for the two lads but great for the families and the clubs and coaches who have helped provide that pathway for them.”

National Performance Programme 2017 Squads:


Amir Bourouh (Wigan Warriors, Siddal)

Dominic Young (Huddersfield Giants, Dewsbury Moor)

Henry Collins (Warrington Wolves, South Trafford)

Jack Welsby (St Helens, Black Brook Royals)

Jack Wright (Warrington Wolves, Rylands)

Joshua Simm (St Helens, Thatto Heath Crusaders)

Lewis Peachey (Castleford Tigers, Nottingham Outlaws)

Matthew Foster (St Helens, Blackbrook Royals)

Max Roberts (Wigan Warriors, Blackbrook Royals)

Morgan Smithies (Wigan Warriors, Siddal)

Oliver Waite (Wigan Warriors, Siddal)

Riley Dean (Warrington Wolves, Siddal)

Ritchie Westwood (Castleford Tigers, Castleford Lock Lane)

Ryan Forshaw (Wigan Warriors, Blackbrook Royals)

Thomas Holroyd (Leeds Rhinos, Siddal)



Alex Tankard (Warrington Wolves)

Bobby Downs (City of Hull Academy)

Brad Pinder (St Helens)

Caine Barnes (Wigan Warriors)

Callum McLelland (Castleford Tigers)

Calum Turner (Castleford Tigers)

Cameron Scott (Bradford Bulls)

Cameron Smith (Leeds Rhinos)

Danny Walker (Widnes Vikings)

Harry Smith (Wigan Warriors)

Jack Brown (City of Hull Academy)

Jake Wardle (Huddersfield Giants)

James Worthington (Wigan Warriors)

Joe Brown (Bradford Bulls)

Joe Shorrocks (Wigan Warriors)

Jon Luke Kirby (Huddersfield Giants)

Jordan Olmez (St Helens)

Kevin Brown (St Helens)

Liam Walsh (Widnes Vikings)

Mikolaj Oledzki (Leeds Rhinos)

Owen Farnworth (Widnes Vikings)

Samual Kibula (Wigan Warriors)

Will Dagger (Warrington Wolves)

Will Oakes (City of Hull Academy)



Amy Hardcastle (Bradford Bulls)

Andrea Dobson (Featherstone Rovers)

Charlotte Booth (Bradford Bulls)

Claire Garner (Bradford Bulls)

Dani Bound (Thatto Heath)

Danika Priim (Bradford Bulls)

Emily Rudge (Thatto Heath)

Emma Slowe (Featherstone Rovers)

Faye Gaskin (Thatto Heath)

Georgia Sutherland (Leigh Miners Rangers)

Jenny Welsby (Thatto Heath)

Jodie Cunningham (Thatto Heath)

Kayleigh Bullman (Featherstone Rovers)

Lois Forsell (Bradford Bulls)

Sarah Dunn (Featherstone Rovers)

Tara Stanley (Thatto Heath)


Heikki Kovalainen





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