BARLA GB Lions head coach Gary Hewer is on board at Workington Town – as the new head of development.

With a strong reputation in the amateur game, Hewer is set to assist Town’s coaching team of Chris Thorman and Neil Frazer.

Hewer, who has coached both Distington and Egremont Rangers, will look to ensure the right technical and pastoral support is in place for those making the step up from the community game.

He will also ensure that Town is working in close partnership with key stakeholders including West Cumbria’s community clubs to collectively strengthen and grow the sport in the area.

Hewer said: “The need for stronger links between our professional clubs and the community game is a key step in improving rugby league within West Cumbria.

“I’ve always been an advocate for local players as the raw talent is out there within the Community game.

“It’s a big step up from amateur to professional and we have a duty of care to give as much opportunity and support to those in the community game that want to grasp it.’’

Head coach Chris Thorman said: “I’ve got a great team working with me at Town and Gary will add to that. Everyone knows their role but can muck in as well.

“As we did last year we’ll be working with a group of identified community players and part of Gary’s role will be to use his extensive experience to make sure they are looked after well, begin to understand our professional expectations, and improve with the ultimate aim of being Town players of the future.”

Hewer has extensive experience in player development and succession planning, having worked in the Rugby Football League National Player Development and Talent Identification Programmes.

And Town chairman Les Smallwood added: “It’s great to have Gary on board. A key strand of our club strategy is to enhance our relationship with the community game in West Cumbria and help develop a proven pathway into the professional game.

“That work is going well but having a dedicated and knowledgeable resource to concentrate fully on it will take us to the next level.”