Matty Faulkner: Identifying Talent!
As a local teacher, I have witnessed first-hand the hard work and investment City Of Hull Academy are putting into local communities and school rugby. Hull FC’s Masi Matongo once told me, “Grassroots Rugby is the foundation of the sport". In other words, without Grassroots Rugby the sport wouldn’t be sustainable, there would be no future for the super league and the sport will simply die out.
Having already worked with rising stars such as Will Oaks, Jack Sanderson and Jack Brown; Matty Faulker is working hard behind the scenes at both community clubs and schools, indirectly improving participation whilst actively scouting the next big talent to climb through the ranks at City Hull. I have known Matty for years and regularly bump into him whilst I am out filming games near and far to be showcased on GRM. I recently caught up with Matty to discuss identifying talent and developing lads into Super League stars!
1. Where did you play your amateur rugby?
" I played my amateur rugby at Holderness Vikings, In Keyingham. It was a great place to play my rugby and develop. I was quite lucky in the sense that I played with more or less the same 15 lads from the age of 9 to16. Some of the most notable times were playing in the Yorkshire Premier Under 16s and the National Conference Youth League at Under 18s, both great times! The best thing about playing at that age though is the people you meet.
2. What is your official role at City of Hull Academy?
" My role at the City of Hull is now 'Talent Identification, development and analysis coordinator'. This means I deal with the recruitment of players between the ages of 14 and 19, I also help put together programmes to help players not on our scholarship or academy, this caters for late developers. The final part of my role means I do the individual analysis for the academy and scholarship, which mainly involves stats and video"
3. Why are City of Hull so involved with Clubs and Schools across the city?
" The clubs are the start of our players careers, without them most of our players wouldn't have played rugby and certainly won't be playing at this level. The schools give us another way to identify talent, it allows us to look at athletes playing rugby who would normally play football or basketball on a weekend and recently we have run a testing program in schools which has been very successful. There are a handful of players currently on academy/ scholarship contracts that never played rugby until they went to secondary school".
4. Based on your involvement in the community game, are there any clubs & schools making an exceptional effort to improve the quality and quantity of youngsters playing rugby?
" All schools are making a big effort to allow their students access to quality rugby league the foundations at both Rovers and Hull FC play a huge part in this as well. It would be unfair for me to single out an 'exceptional school', as every school has different goals when it comes to rugby league, whether it’s participation or being competitive at the highest level, all schools are doing a great job!
"All community clubs are run by volunteers, and the hard work and dedication they each put in is a testament to them as individuals and our game as a whole. It would not be possible for me to pick out one specific club. As long as each club are providing a positive, safe and engaging development opportunity to local young players then they should be commended for that."
5. What sets City of Hull apart from other Academies?
" You can look at this question from a few ways, the facilities we have at our base up at Bishop Burton are first class, joined with the facilities at both our first teams and Hull University means we are covered on all bases for anything we may need!
You can also look at the amount of staff we have all focused on developing the lads we have in to super League players. Most academies will have 2-3 full-time staff and 3-4 volunteers, we have 9 full-time staff and 2 part-time staff members as well as 5-6 volunteer coaches and 25 scouts! Finally, as most people will know we have two super League outlets Hull FC and Rovers, if you look back to the Hull Derby in January there were 14 players in that game that are either currently in our system or have been in the system in the last few years. That speaks for its self I think."
6. Finally, if you could change one thing in Rugby League, what would it be?
"There’s a few changes that could be made, but I feel as though the main change is just letting more people play! Currently at all levels of the game you can only sign a limited amount of players, personally I don't think there should be a cap on the amount of players you can sign, especially at younger levels."
Thanks for sharing your views with GRM Matty, all the best this season at City of Hull!
Written by Shawn Boatin.