Rugby League


26 Jan 2024

RFL strengthens focus on Performance and Coaching with six appointments to new sub-committee

RFL strengthens focus on Performance and Coaching with six appointments to new sub-committee

The RFL’s new Performance and Coaching sub-committee, which has involved six new appointments with an impressive range of sports experience, has held its first meeting, chaired by RFL non-executive director Dr Cherrie Daley.

Applicants to join the sub-committee were invited last November, “to advise on the evolution of the high-performance strategy for Rugby League and provide guidance to the sport on all on-field performance and coaching related matters impacting the development and performance of England teams and programmes”.

The successful applicants include Paul Prescott, a Grand Final and Challenge Cup Final winner with Wigan in 2010-11 who has been working in football with the Premier League since 2013, now as their Head of Operations – Football Development. 

Another name who will be familiar to some in Rugby League is Anna Garside, the Head of Performance Operations at Swim England who worked for Leeds Rhinos and the RFL as a Performance Analyst before moving to roles in rugby union (Science and Medicine Manager for Premiership Rugby), the British Handball Association (Non-Executive Director) and British Showjumping (Head of Performance).

A third recruit with direct Rugby League experience is Bradley Pryjmachuk, the Head of Analytical Solutions for City Football Group who began his professional career as an analyst with Warrington Wolves, before becoming Human Performance and Analytics Manager at the RFL, then heading to Australia for four years as Performance Solutions Manager for the New South Wales Rugby League.

John Alder is the Head of Player Development for Welsh Rugby Union, leading on all aspects of the national men’s and women’s player development and performance pathways – having previously worked as Head of Performance Pathways ay UK Sport / English Institute of Sport, as well as for the British Olympic Commission, Sports Coach UK, and New Zealand Rugby League.

Rachael Dawe is Head of Strategic Performance Initiatives for City Football Group, leading on research, innovation and learning. Originally a sports scientist, she conducted an independent GPS reliability review for the RFL in 2015, and also led Human Performance at the Manchester Institute of Health and Performance (MIHP) for four years.

Ian Pyper is Head of Performance Support for the UK Sports Institute, leading teams for both British Wheelchair Basketball and British Triathlon. Originally a strength and conditioning coach, Ian has worked through four Olympic and Paralympic cycles in a career of more than 17 years in elite sport. He also held central roles at two Commonwealth Games.

Dr Dave Rotheram, the former London Crusaders forward and St Helens and Scotland coach who is the RFL’s Chief On-Field Officer, and the RFL’s Chief Executive Tony Sutton will also sit on the sub-committee.

Dr Cherrie Daley said: “Performance and coaching forms a critical area of the RFL’s responsibilities as the Rugby League’s National Governing Body, most obviously with the development and performance of our England teams. We were delighted by the quality of applicants for the new sub-committee, with our six appointments providing an outstanding range and depth of experience. 

“We met for the first time earlier this month, and I’m excited by the positive support this group can offer to Dave Rotheram and the broader England Performance Unit staff.” 

Tony Sutton said: “The appointment of Cherrie to the RFL Board, followed by Jamie Jones-Buchanan as a Board Observer, reflected the importance of on-field performance and coaching matters to the RFL as Rugby League’s NGB.

“The formation of this sub-committee, and the quality of individuals we have appointed, is further evidence of that commitment. 

“We are grateful to Cherrie and to Dave Rotheram, our Chief On-Field Officer, for the roles they have played in assembling such an impressive group. We look forward to their presence and influence around Rugby League over the next two years.” 

The Performance and Coaching sub-committee becomes one of eight which report into the RFL Board.

The others are Audit and Risk, the Brain Health Sub-Committee, Community Board, the Clinical Advisory Group, Laws Committee, Nominations and Remuneration.