Patience needed as Jamie Peacock builds for Hull KR’s future

Jamie Peacock is settling into his new role as head of rugby with Hull KR.
Jamie Peacock is settling into his new role as head of rugby with Hull KR.
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HULL KR’s new head of rugby Jamie Peacock has warned turning the club into a Super League force will be a “slow-burning” process but he feels he has the ability to help achieve that aim.

The former England captain brought his illustrious playing career to a close in fine fashion by helping Leeds Rhinos, where he enjoyed such vast success, to the treble this season.

Jamie Peacock is settling into his new role at Hull KR.

Jamie Peacock is settling into his new role at Hull KR.

Now retired, Peacock has now taken up his new role – initially just two days a week before going full-time in January – working for their Super League rivals who, ironically, Leeds vanquished 50-0 in the Challenge Cup final last term.

Hull KR are approaching their tenth season in the top-flight but, although their trip to Wembley hinted at their potential, the East Yorkshire club still struggles to compete at the highest level.

They failed to make the top eight this year and had to battle for their survival in the nervous Qualifiers but the very appointment of someone as lauded as Peacock suggests they have already turned a corner.

“I can’t say that because we are only in pre-season,” he maintained.

“Mike Tyson said we’ve all got a plan until we get punched in the face and when in pre-season, nobody is punching us in the face.

“We’re looking good so far but the proof will be during the season and how we go along the years.

“We’ve put some changes in place already but there is no such thing as an overnight success in sport, we’ve got to be clear about that.

“You don’t just jump from 10th to first in the league – I don’t see where that happens.

“It’s a slow-burning process of what we’re doing but I believe we’re making good strides forward.”

Peacock is in charge of Hull KR’s football department helping head coach Chris Chester with off-field matters such as recruitment and putting in place training facilities while also playing a key role in planning the club’s youth policy.

He did concede, however that he once thought about heading down the traditional route of coaching.

“Brian Mac (Leeds Rhinos head coach McDermott) was interested in me becoming a coach and I think it is something I could do – I firmly believe that,” he said.

“But I find this more interesting; you have more time in this role to implement real change.

“Sometimes I think it can be too week-to-week as a coach.

“I like to think a little bit deeper about things and think where do the pieces of the jigsaw actually fit to make a long-term difference to a place whereas you have to be a brave person to be a coach. It is a very difficult position.

“And also I want to go on holiday in the summer! I don’t want weekends, every week, to be judged by the game and ruin my Saturdays and Sundays.

“Now, I will be involved, but more as a spectator.

“Game day is more about the coaches.”

Peacock, who turned 38 on Monday, maintains he will not have any influence on coaching and that will be left entirely to Chester, who is just 37 himself and completed his first full campaign as a head coach in 2015.

“My job is to create systems and structures that allow Chris to be the best coach he can possibly be,” he said.

“I have no involvement in the coaching side of things, it’s making sure I can create a system which makes him fulfil his potential as a coach and that will improve the players.

“I’m currently implementing a high-performance plan within the rugby department, and making sure that is seen through.

“There are 10 key objectives which need to be met and in this run-up to Christmas, it’s just ensuring that within pre-season everybody has met the standards that they set out to achieve right at the beginning.

“It’s me implementing a structure that holds everybody accountable within that and making sure that everybody delivers on what they said they’d do.”

Asked about his role in recruitment for 2016 – Chris Clarkson, Thomas Minns and Robbie Mulhern have all arrived from Leeds – he added: “I’ve had a lot of input into the squad but it’s about understanding the strengths of it and where’s best to spend the salary cap.

“Sometimes, a head coach’s job is incredibly demanding without everything else that goes on around it. The coaches that have been at Leeds in the past have been incredibly lucky to have people around them who can offload that pressure.

“Chris Chester has not particularly had that here, and my role will allow me to take that administration long-term away from him that as a head coach, you’re not able to do on the week-to-week, ‘we’ve got to win’ mentality.”