Rugby league legend and former Six Nations coach Graham Steadman backs The Players Platform

Rugby league legend and dual code international coach Graham Steadman has given The Players Platform (TPP) a ringing endorsement as father-son duo Dean and Will Richards prepare for its launch.

Steadman, who was defence coach under Dean Richards at Newcastle Falcons, says TPP is in good hands and will be the perfect platform in empowering athletes to reach their aspirations across elite football and rugby down to the grassroots game.

Graham Steadman backs The Players Platform

“If I was a young player looking for a club, Dean is certainly a guy I would trust,” said Steadman.

“His experience and knowledge is second to none. He taught me good values and the way in which he managed people.

“Whether it was the cleaning ladies who he made a big fuss of or the CEO – whatever level, he understood the importance that that person had to the club.

“That’s something I’ll always take away from my time at Newcastle.”

Coaching Ireland and Scotland at the Guinness Six Nations, the Yorkshireman is a former Great Britain, York Wasps, Featherstone Rovers and Castleford Tigers rugby league player.

Steadman, an inductee in Castleford’s Hall of Fame, played for the club in the 1992 Challenge Cup final against a star-studded Wigan side, which included the likes of Martin Offiah, Shaun Edwards and Andy Farrell.

Now assistant coach at West Yorkshire club Featherstone Rovers, Steadman gave us an insight into how talent is nurtured at the Bet Fred Championship club.

“Featherstone is a very traditional and community-based club and a lot of the quality players that have been through these gates have been from within 20 miles of the club,” added Steadman, who made the move from Featherstone to Castleford in 1989 for a then world-record fee of £170,000.

“Featherstone has always been based on the riches of young players coming through and the nice thing about that is that a lot of youngsters have been given the opportunity.”

With TPP’s mission to help rugby and football players – men and women – to play at the highest level possible, Steadman says clubs who give youth a chance, fit the mould of what the business aims to achieve.

“Here at Featherstone, we provide a platform for the players to show what they’re about,” he added.

“To all the young guys out there, never give up hope on your aspirations. I had a couple of knock-backs early doors, with clubs saying I was too small.

“I got myself on a weight training programme and I was very fortunate to work alongside a former Marine, who was my manager at the sports centre where I worked.

“Within the space of 12 months I put 8KG on, which built my confidence and also my physicality. As I sit here now, I’m very proud to say that I went onto a very illustrious career and I enjoyed every minute of it.”