HE has only been in the job a matter of weeks but Hull KR’s head of rugby Jamie Peacock has shown he is pulling no punches by insisting Hull isn’t the “hotbed of talent” so many think it is.
Recently retired from his brilliant playing career, which finished as a treble-winner with Leeds Rhinos, the former Great Britain captain is now settling into his new role at Craven Park.
Part of his remit is taking the East Yorkshire club onto a next level that has eluded them so far and putting in place solid foundations throughout the football side of the business.
That includes working on its youth structures which, of course, are undergoing a major transformation after it was controversially announced in July that Hull KR and Hull FC would combine academies for 2016, playing under a new City of Hull Academy.
With former Wakefield Trinity head coach James Webster in charge, it is hoped that it will nurture the very best talent ready to provide both clubs with Super League players.
Hull has long been dubbed a “hotbed of talent” but Peacock admitted: “I don’t think there are as many children playing the game in Hull as people think.
“There isn’t enough to say there is a hot-bed of talent within the game. If you look at the number of Hull players that have gone on to play for England for both sides, it hasn’t been enough over the years and we – KR – are looking to change that. I think with the Academy, we’ll be able to do that but it’s about the clubs’ foundations working well and that was brought up in a recent meeting we had (with FC).
“We have to be in the schools making sure that rugby league is the number one sport within the city and that’s not something only we or FC can focus on, we both need to target it.
“That message was understood in the Academy meeting. The best analogy I can use is like the International Space Station.
“Russia and America do not get along on Earth and they’ve probably not been as cold since the Cold War but up there three astronauts have to get on.
“If they don’t, it won’t work and we understand a lot of people were against the academies ‘merging’ but we understand that it is us against Super League with that and we have to make it work. Time will tell if it is the right decision.”
In the build-up to Leeds’ Challenge Cup final win, ironically over Hull KR, Peacock, 38, was memorably quoted: “You see the good side of me when I play; the other five days out of seven you don’t see me shuffling round the house, in a bad mood, grumpy because I’m in pain.”
So, is he more sprightly now since retiring with a record ninth Grand Final win in October?
“For the first couple of months I was thinking ‘is this (pain) going to go away?’” he said.
“Yet by November I was feeling good, I had a spring in my step and now I just take it for granted that it doesn’t hurt getting up out of seats, or in and out of cars, or up and downstairs, or in and out of bed. It’s a good feeling. I’m not moaning about the game but it is good to feel this way.”