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Not a rugby ball in sight, as Hull KR’s academy players spent the afternoon at East Hull Fire Station seeing what it takes to be a firefighter.

The ‘lucky’ 13 scholarship players made the short trip from Craven Park to East Hull fire station on Southcoates Lane and were put through their paces by Watch Manager Martin Pelham.

The youngsters aged between 16 and 19 split into groups and undertook a road traffic collision simulation using cutting gear to remove a casualty from a car. They also hauled each other up the training tower in a full harness rope rescue and then undertook some classic drill-ground exercises involving hoses, tractor tyres and foam containers.

Firefighter Jon Hodgson is pictured above right on the drill ground with the ‘Rovers recruits’

Local media including TV, radio and press covered the event. Jo Brown, Learning Centre Manager at Humberside Fire and Rescue Service told the Hull Daily Mail that it was a rewarding exercise for all concerned:

“Our partnership with Hull KR is a really good opportunity to highlight our work and raises awareness of our role. We already do a lot of work with young people and what they have been doing today has been hard. It takes a lot of upper body strength which these lads have from their rugby league. The session was also about improving their teamwork and communication skills.”

Pete Grayburn, head of youth at Hull KR, explained more about the scheme:

“The lads down here are on our full-time programme. They do the education side of things alongside the training at Archbishop Sentamu. It’s not all rugby league focussed, as only a couple of them might make it as players. There are similarities between rugby and the fire service – discipline, attitude and application – skills that are transferable.”

All the players were impressed by the fitness level of white watch and the technical skill required for all of the activities. Whether a ‘return match’ can be arranged at Craven Park to see how firefighters handle ‘up and unders’, scrums and three man tackles remains to be seen!