Whitehaven rugby league head coach 'Charlo' to take on new role at club

Gary 'Charlo' Charlton, who will stand down as head coach at the end of the season and take on a new role. Credit: Whitehaven RLFC

Whitehaven RLFC has announced that this will be head coach Gary 'Charlo' Charlton's last season in the role.

Mr Charlton is to take on a new role at Haven and will become director of rugby. 

He replaced Carl Forster as head coach at the end of the 2018 season and led the club to the League 1 title in 2019, when he was also named coach of the year for that division.

This season has also been successful, with the club predicted to finish between 6th and 8th in the Betfred Championship.

His time at the club saw them change direction and focus on recruitment from west Cumbria.

He said: "I was approached by the board in 2018 and was immediately interested in the vision shown by the club, going back to local players, as me and Jonty [Gorley, asssistant head coach] both knew that the area has the talent if done right. We put together a great set of lads who really bought into what we wanted, and the result was a team full of enthusiasm and commitment.

"This season we were again written off, some even going as far as to say we wouldn't win a single game, in what is the toughest Championship I've seen, especially for a club like Whitehaven given the difference in spending and funding levels. Pound for pound spent we're right up there with the top clubs in terms of on field performance.

"We did have to look further afield in our recruitment this year, this was highlighted to us in the short 2020 season, but what we brought in was only to complement our core local talent, and as the season has gone on, as a team, we have got better and better."

He added: "My decision to step back from coaching and move upstairs so to speak hasn't been a sudden one. I have been talking to the Board about this for the past 3 months. I have been involved in pro rugby nearly all my adult life and felt it was time to take the step away from the front line, but I also want to give something back to the game and local area, so the role offered to me by the board was right up my street."

Mr Charlton also paid tribute to the staff and players of the club as well as his wife, Susan.

He will manage the club at his last home game of the season this weekend, when the club takes on Halifax on Sunday. This will also be Jesse Joe Parker’s last home game before his retirement. 

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