Cornwall RLFC Head Coach Neil Kelly has hailed the club’s recent open player trial as a ‘huge positive’ with the club continuing to build for the 2022 Betfred League One season.
Over 30 players attended the event which took place on Sunday, January 9 at the Treviglas Sports Hub in Newquay.
The trial had been set to take place the Memorial Ground in Penryn – the club’s base for the forthcoming campaign – but heavy rain that fell on the Duchy 24 hours previously left the pitch under water.
This prompted a frantic search to find an alternative setting with Treviglas stepping in at the eleventh hour. And despite the late revision to previously communicated plans, the trial saw a high standard of Rugby League displayed which left Kelly with much to ponder as he formulates Cornwall RLFC’s first-ever playing squad.
𝙏𝙃𝘼𝙉𝙆 𝙔𝙊𝙐 〓〓
🏉 The club would like to thank the players that attended our open trial.
🤝 A special mention to Treviglas Sports Hub who accommodated us at short notice too.
🗣️ And here's a message from our head coach Neil Kelly:
— Cornwall RLFC (@CornwallRLFC) January 9, 2022
“First and foremost the trial was a good exercise for us as staff of Cornwall RLFC,” the former Super League Coach of the Year began.
“We have had one or two curveballs thrown at us and as a club we have dealt with it really professionally.
“The fact the trial took place has to be seen as a huge positive with the change of venue. I must thank everyone at Treviglas for letting us use their facilities at such short notice.
“As for the trial itself, I was very pleased with the standard and spirit of players that took part and it has given me a lot a material and thoughts to work with as well.”
The players took part in several drills to gauge their Rugby League pedigree before they were pitched into teams to play a full contact game, which was officiated by Peter Wroe, a former tier one touch judge before he relocated to Cornwall.
Kelly revealed that his next step will be to conduct a full review of the trial, but this task won’t be as straightforward as first envisaged.
Nevertheless, this was seen by the Duchy chief as overwhelmingly encouraging for the club. He was also full of praise for those who took part – both in their endeavour and application.
“I will go away and analyse the video from the trial,” he added.
“That process is going to be a bit longer than I anticipated because we saw so many positive performances from the players. We can’t take everybody and even the players that are unlucky in that respect, I think they can be proud of the effort and performance that they put in. The ones that we can go forward with, they have laid a good foundation for their careers.”
— Rugby Football League (@TheRFL) January 11, 2022
The trial saw prospective Cornwall RLFC players travel from all over the country to take part. However, a sizeable number of attendees came from Cornwall and Kelly reaffirmed the club’s commitment to form a squad that is made up of local talent.
He also felt that so many Cornish-based players taking part, with many catching the eye, reaffirmed his decision to take the Cornwall RLFC Head Coach role.
“Our project is all about growing Rugby League in Cornwall and getting a presence for rugby league in Cornwall,” he enthused.
“It was never going to be the case that we were going to build a team of 25 northern lads and train them at a sports centre in Featherstone, then bus them down to Cornwall.
“The trial has given me confidence that coming to Cornwall was the right thing to do because I have seen local players with a lot of talent and it has very much given me food for thought.”