Updated: Saturday, 18th November 2017 @ 8:06am

New Mancunians RL head coach Mark Brennan has big plans for future of Rugby League in Manchester

New Mancunians RL head coach Mark Brennan has big plans for future of Rugby League in Manchester

By Alec Herron

Mark Brennan is excited to take on a new challenge, after the Widnes Vikings Academy man was appointed as Mancunians RL’s new head coach.

Brennan, who also lectures in Sport at Riverside College, joins Manchester’s Rugby League outfit as they sit bottom of the North West Men’s Division four.

He takes over from Vinny Webb, who left the role in May, and admitted the prospect of building a strong Manchester side enticed him to the club.

“This is a great opportunity to work with a forward-thinking and ambitious club,” said Brennan.

“It’s a chance to build a team and a club to develop Rugby League in Manchester.

“It will be great to see the club grow over the next few years and see how far we can go.”

Based in the Rugby League stronghold of St Helens, Brennan sees the importance of a successful club in one of the UK’s largest cities.

“With a population of around 500,000 people, Rugby League can definitely grow in Manchester,” he said.

“There are so many athletes in the city and Rugby League is not a particularly hard sport to learn, so if we can get them down to the club and they enjoy the game, the talent pool will grow.

“One of the key aims has got to be links with the local colleges and universities to bring players down and begin to form a bigger pool of players.

“We must also form an under 18s team below to feed players in.”

Brennan began his coaching career ten years ago, having previously played for Golborne ARLFC, before a lower-back injury ended his playing days.

Following two years at coaching level with Leigh Miners, he joined Super League side Widnes’ academy as scholarship coach.

Alongside a spell coaching and mentoring coaches at Thatto Heath, Brennan has been head coach of England Female Students for three years.

A third defeat in succession last week to Ashton Bears kept Mancunians propping up the bottom of the league table.

However, Brennan pinpoints areas the side can work on to start adding to the season’s sole victory over Westhoughton Lions in April.

He added: “The biggest challenge in the short term will be getting the players to become a unit and create a culture that allows everyone to enjoy their time at the club.

“There is no doubt that the club has got a great structure behind the scenes this just needs to show out on the field.”

Brennan will also be helping the club develop its flourishing Handball side, who played their first-ever game last month.

“Handball is something I have been involved with previously,” he said.

“I did some work with a Handball Club at Greenback in Liverpool to incorporate some Rugby League-based training within their sessions, which was a good experience.

“I would love to see the handball team develop in the same way as the Rugby League team will progress through the leagues over the next couple of years.”

Brennan’s first game in charge will be against Chester Gladiators at Hough End Stadium in Chorlton on June 15.

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