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Cornwall Rlfc

7 Dec 2021

Cornwall RLFC appoint Neil Kelly as first-ever Head Coach

Cornwall RLFC appoint Neil Kelly as first-ever Head Coach

Cornwall RLFC have appointed Neil Kelly as the club's first-ever Head Coach for their maiden Betfred League 1 season in 2022.

The 59-year-old was a hooker or loose forward by trade and played for Dewsbury, Featherstone, Wakefield and Hunslet.

After hanging up his boots, Kelly moved into coaching and cut his teeth with Dewsbury and for Wales as assistant to Clive Griffiths for their 2000 World Cup campaign.

Kelly’s most successful coaching stint came with the Widnes Vikings between 2001 and 2004. He led the Cheshire outfit into the top flight and was voted Super League Coach of the Year in 2002.

Kelly then moved across the Irish Sea to rugby union club Ulster but two years later was back in Rugby League at Leigh. He spent just 12 months at the Centurions and returned to the 15-man code with the Namibian and Romanian national sides.

In 2017, Kelly once again coached Dewsbury while American rugby union side the Houston Sabercats became his next destination. More recently, he has spent time back on these shores away from the oval ball game as a teacher.

"I'm pinching myself and I see it as a real honour to be the coach of Cornwall RLFC for our inaugural season going into Rugby League," he enthused.

"I have great experience and I am a guy that has a good name within the game. I see Cornwall RLFC as the perfect challenge for myself.

"I will try and build a team that is a perfect Rugby League team - very tough and forthright in the way they play.

"We will look to throw the ball around by getting to both edges and encouraging good football, not stupid football. We will value possession and use it to the best of our ability and that's what I've always tried to do with teams that I have coached in Rugby League.

"It will be up to us to meet the challenge of all the teams we will play by doing the basics of the game right and building off that. I know League One and if we respect the ball and do things right in games, we can get one or two surprising results."

Cornwall RLFC general manager Gareth Reid added that Kelly’s standing within the game as a coach will be 'invaluable' as the club start their Rugby League journey in the third tier.

"We are thrilled to have secured the signing of Neil as Cornwall's first Head Coach," he said.

"Neil comes with a lifetime of experience in the sport at the highest levels and this combined with his in-depth knowledge of the game will be invaluable as we begin our journey as a club.

"I am particularly looking forward to working with him as we tap into the Cornish rugby community to identify and develop local talent for the club in year one."