Castleford Tigers have appointed John Heaton as the club’s head of youth strength and conditioning.
Heaton joins the Tigers from Batley Bulldogs where he has worked as head of strength and conditioning for the past three years, helping turn the Kingstone Press Championship side into title contenders last season.
During the winter Heaton was involved in the Rugby League World Cup as the sports massage therapist of the Italian national side. He has also held previous roles at Gateshead Thunder and in Rugby Union.
An experienced personal trainer, Heaton is also a two-time World and British Champion bodybuilder.
Heaton said: “I’ve known Ben Cooper (Tigers’ senior strength and conditioning coach) and Pete Riding (head of youth performance) for quite a while and they’ve been aware of the work that I’ve been doing at Batley Bulldogs.
“We had a really good season where we got to the Championship Grand Final and within a whisker of winning it. Afterwards, Ben got in contact letting me know that there was a position available working with Pete.
“When I met with the two of them and Daryl Powell they persuaded me that coming here would be a good move for myself and my career.
“I’ve heard a lot of good things about Daryl and I’ve previously worked with John Kear and Karl Harrison so it will be great to learn from another good coach.
“My ultimate ambition is to work with the first team but this is a good step. It’s good that they put a lot of emphasis on developing the young players at Castleford Tigers because too many times the young players don’t get the same sort of coaching that the first team get. However, they seem to be investing heavily in the youth set up here.”
Pete Riding, head of youth performance, said: “We’re delighted to have John on board with us who will undoubtedly drive the culture of the youth set up at the Tigers.
“He brings a wealth of experience to the role which will only help our young players as they mature as players and men.
“John is a successful individual in a number of different areas which will allow him to impart his knowledge on to our players as they work to reach their potential and achieve success themselves.”