Former Huddersfield Giants favourite Paul Reilly has joined Underbank Rangers as their new assistant coach.
But the experienced Super League full-back has ruled out a return to action as newly-promoted Rangers prepare for their first season in Division II of the National Conference League.
Reilly will work alongside head coach Richard Knight, who also plans to finally hang up his boots after playing a number of games last season and grabbing a try in his side’s 20-6 home play-off triumph over Crosfields four months ago, and will help take charge of an Underbank side boosted by the arrival of four Australians from the Goulburn Bulldogs,
Full-back Chris Druett, half-back Joel Croker, and centre/back-row forwards Kurt Selmes and Mitch Turner will arrive in England at the start of February, with the quartet expected to add significantly to Rangers’ firepower.
Selmes and Turner will help plug the gap left by fellow Australian Matt Adam, whose two-year British visa has now expired, and Sam Rochford, who has been ruled out for the year after suffering a serious knee ligament injury during last season’s successful play-off campaign.
Knight knows these two will be a big loss.
But the recruitment of the four Australians, the arrival of Reilly, along with the very welcome return to the club of strike centre Kris Harrop after missing last season due to work commitments, the Bank chief knows he has the right individuals in place to make 2015 even better than 2014.
“We’re delighted with the way things are falling into place,” said Knight, who will play new Division III club Wibsey Warriors in a home warm-up clash on March 7 before hosting Leigh East in their opening Second Division fixture at The Cross on March 14.
“Numbers have been good since we began pre-season training on December 14, even though at this stage of the year a lot of our time has been spent doing the gruelling hill sessions.
“And we’re really pleased with the way our recruitment is falling into place.
“All four of our new Australians come with very good reputations, while getting Kris back will also make us stronger.
“He said one of the reasons why he decided to come back to us rather than look elsewhere was the fact we’ve now got Paul Reilly on board.
“We firmly believe Reills will act as a magnet in bringing many of the areas top young players to us, because he’s such a big name in the game around Huddersfield.
“At this stage, I know he’s got no intention whatsoever of playing for us, he’s just looking forward to helping me out.
“But I said before the start of last season that I didn’t intend playing any games and then virtually ended up on the field as long as I was off it!
“At the moment, I’m just delighted he’s decided to join us.”
The club’s new Australian players are expected to be unveiled at a club Fund raising Quiz Night at The Cross on Friday, February 13 (7.30pm), when everyone is welcome. It’s £5 per team of four to enter, including food, with prizes such as meals at Brambles and Tap House, as well as signed Australian NRL shirts from St George and Gold Coast.
The club’s official season’s launch will then be held at Bengal Spice on Saturday, February 28.