FOMRER Castleford Tigers player Jonny Payne is the new head coach of Featherstone Rovers Ladies team.
Payne, who also played for Oxford and Bradford, has been appointed ahead of the start of the women’s Super League campaign.
Teams will include Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, St Helens and Widnes Vikings,
Last season, Featherstone reached the Super League Grand Final and were Challenge Cup runners-up.
Payne, who played a key role in launching Castleford Tigers’ ladies side, said: “I am really excited about the challenge in front of us at Featherstone. It is going to be fantastic and I am really pleased to get the chance to coach here.
“Featherstone are one of the women’s game’s longest-established teams and it will be great for the girls to face some of the biggest names in the sport.
“I will be looking to create a professional environment, getting the players into the best-possible shape in time for the start of the new season.
“We have a great group of players in place and signed on for 2018 and are working with local teams to create a pathway to the Women’s Super League.”
More than 30 players make up the Rovers’ ladies initial Super League squad, with the club’s recruitment drive continuing towards April’s big kick-off.
The Rovers squad includes a handful of England internationals including skipper Andrea Dobson who captained England in the recent World Cup.
Rovers ladies will have full access to the Championship club’s medical department and training facilities.
Payne added: “The support from John Duffy (Rovers head coach) and his team has been brilliant and the girls are really going to get looked after this year, as we strive to enjoy a memorable first season together.
“The club is working very hard to provide an ideal platform for the girls to really kick on in 2018 and the players are embracing it.
“Pre-season training is well underway and I am excited by our progress so far.
“This is an opportunity for me to put my own stamp on things and piece together an impressive team, which performs on the field and provides a spectacle.”
Ladies home matches are set to take place prior to or following the mens’ Betfred Championship fixtures.
The ladies train at the LD Nutrition Stadium on Wednesdays (7pm). New players are invited to attend.