Promising west Cumbrian rugby league players received a coaching session from a former Great Britain star as part of a new college link-up.

Lee Crooks ran the rule over the teenagers as part of a taster day promoting Hull FC’s new partnership with the Cumbria Institute of Sport.

The Super League club have become the institute’s official rugby league partner.

It is the latest step in the development of the sporting and education facility based at Newton Rigg near Penrith.

Former Hull, Leeds and Castleford star Crooks is talent ID and development manager at Hull FC and visited after talks with the institute’s Darren Edmondson.

The new academy follows a similar link-up in football with Morecambe FC, which offers education and professional coaching to young Cumbrians.

Edmondson said: “The same as we have with football, we tried to find a club that would be potentially looking to recruit Cumbrian rugby players.

“We knew Hull are doing some work with Whitehaven, and the conversation was based on whether they would like to bring it to Newton Rigg and do a development centre out of here.

“They bought into it and they’re now our official rugby league partner.”

Edmondson has spearheaded the creation of the new institute, and this week saw a taster day ahead of an intake of rugby league students next September.

It showcased classroom work and a presentation, before Crooks took a coaching session on the new artificial pitch at Newton Rigg.

“It’s a big bonus that Hull have Lee’s role, part of which is developing new sites around Great Britain for Hull,” Edmondson added.

“I met him a couple of times, discussed how things would work, and for him to take a coaching session for a group of west Cumbrians is brilliant.”

The institute offers a Level 3 BTEC in sport and a fitness diploma, alongside daily coaching and strength and conditioning work.

Its football team competes in the National Football Youth League under its affiliation with Morecambe.

Edmondson added: “The idea was always to offer a range of sports to young people who want to push their talent on.

“The more link-ups and pathways we have, the better it is for Cumbrian youngsters.”

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