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Rugby League

Harlequins RL boss Rob Powell determined to prove doubters wrong

Harlequins RL boss Rob Powell is determined to prove age and a lack of professional playing experience is no barrier to succeeding in Super League.

Powell became the competition’s youngest head coach last November when he was handed the chance to follow in the footsteps of Brian McDermott at the Twickenham Stoop.

The 30-year-old filled the role on a temporary basis towards the end of last season following McDermott’s decision to quit for Leeds, having served previously as part of the club’s backroom staff for four years.

Sceptics suggested he was the cheap option given Quins’ well-documented financial concerns, but his efforts recruiting and retaining players impressed chairman David Hughes, who rewarded him with a two-year-deal.

The Sheffield-born coach was even making the business of winning look easy for the first few rounds as his team topped Super League for the first time in their history.

Unfortunately, reality has now kicked in and at the weekend, they suffered their second defeat of the season to Warrington, who broke another record in process. The 82-6 score line inflicted on Powell’s men was the highest winning margin in the competition’s 16 years. Powell, who guests on the latest PROBIZ Tryline, said: “You can’t say it’s just a blip. If you lose by 30 points you can call it a blip, but if you lose by 80 it’s a reality check that the group is not where they and everyone else thought it was.

“We have to be stronger than that. We cannot go losing by that many points again in this competition. It would just not be fair on the owner, the fans or anyone else involved with the club.

“What we won’t do is got into our shell and get worried about it and think that we’re a poor team now because you don’t win four games out of your first six if you are a poor team.”

Elsewhere in the podcast, Powell talks about his experiences with the Lebanese Rugby League team and how it came about, and helped him on route to the top job at Harlequins The salary cap in Super League is discussed as well as he celebrates the advantages of the system, which makes our game’s top-flight so competitive compared to other sports and countries.

Powell added: “When you have the salary cap, or a draft, it means that little dynasty’s come along and then others come along and, I think, that’s what makes it exciting.

“If you can bring the right players in, create the right sort of culture and can find that little bit of magic chemistry that the winning teams have then you can do something in the competition.”

As ever, there is a comprehensive run-through of the most recent news from Super League, and the Independent’s Dave Hadfield will give you the lowdown on the latest round of action.

PROBIZ Tryline is available to listen here on The Independent website and through iTunes. Click here for more details.