JAMIE PEACOCK’S surprise move from Leeds Rhinos has been described as an “inspired” appointment by Hull KR.
The former England captain – who had already announced he will hang up his boots at the end of this year – is to join the Robins ahead of the 2016 campaign as football manager.
His departure will bring to an end one of the most successful careers in Leeds’s history, which has seen him win five Super League titles, two World Club Challenges and, finally last season, the Challenge Cup.
Peacock has made no secret of his desire to remain in the game after the end of the current campaign, but his switch to East Yorkshire came out of the blue.
“It is an inspired appointment by Hull KR,” said Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington.
“I know Jamie will be very good at what will be a very different challenge.
“He has been at the heart of all our success over the past decade and his performances and influence at the club cannot be overestimated.
“He will leave a lasting legacy and all our best wishes will be with him when he swaps his training kit for a new suit at the end of the season.”
Peacock pledged to put what he has learned at Leeds into practice with his new club.
He said: “I have had a great time at Leeds and learnt so much about how the club is run from top to bottom.
“The Rhinos are a blueprint for a successful sporting business and the challenge for me now is to take those lessons and try and implement my own thoughts in a new environment.”
Peacock, who is in the 19-man squad for today’s clash with Catalans Dragons in Perpignan, added: “Now I have the next chapter of my career finalised, I am fully focused on finishing my time with Leeds as strongly as possible and leaving my home town club in the best possible position.”
Peacock believes Hull KR have “massive potential within a city that is rugby league mad”.
“They have invested wisely in their facilities in recent years,” he continued.
“I know a number of people over there already and I am looking forward to working with Chris Chester, Willie Poching, Mike Smith and Neil Hudgell in my new role.
“Whenever we have gone over there to play, it is clear Rovers have a fanatical supporter base.
“I think it is vital you have a hard core of good people who want the club to succeed to be able to build and plan for development in the future.”
Hudgell, Rovers’s chairman, said he was “delighted” with Peacock’s appointment on a two-year contract.
“He is a proven champion at the highest level in our sport and we look forward to working with him, drawing on his experiences and contacts and generally raising the profile and performance of the club in key areas,” said Hudgell.
“I’m sure he will have a big role to play in helping to attract young English talent to Hull Kingston Rovers and in helping to develop a winning culture on and off the field.”
Super League’s most decorated player, Peacock also won the title three times in Bradford’s colours, two Challenge Cups and the World Club Challenge twice.
He has more than 500 appearances under his belt and was made an MBE in 2012 for services to the game.
Ironically, his appointment was announced the day one of his teammates – Ryan Bailey – was released from his Hull KR contract for “personal reasons” after making just one substitute appearance.
Meanwhile, uncertainty over the future of Leeds Rhinos’ controversial full-back Zak Hardaker could continue for another week at least.
Rhinos are carrying out their own investigation into the behaviour of Hardaker and under-19s player Elliot Minchella, who have admitted assaulting a 22-year-old man at student accommodation in Leeds.
The duo were released without charge after each agreeing to pay their victim £200 compensation and write him a letter of apology as part of a community resolution.
But Rhinos began their own investigation into the incident, led by Hetherington and he confirmed the behaviour of other players is also being examined by the club.
Hetherington said: “There is no time limit on it (the in-house inquiry).
“It is a fairly thorough process and it will probably take another week or so.”
Hetherington added: “Other players had been out as a group. We are investigating the whole incident and the events leading up to it”
Leeds are today aiming for a sixth win from seven First Utility Super League rounds when they head to Perpignan.
The visitors are again without winger Tom Briscoe, who was due to undergo shoulder surgery today and is facing three months on the sidelines, plus prop Kylie Leuluai and captain and stand-off Kevin Sinfield.
Forward Mitch Achurch, who was in impressive form before a two-game lay-off due to a knee injury, could return among the substitutes.