A CONVERSATION between Greek Rugby League Association (GRLA) President George Stilianos and Woolston Rovers Head Coach Mal Holt has led to a ground-breaking partnership that is set to benefit both organisations.

This will see Greek domestic players given the chance to further their development at higher level in a traditional rugby league heartlands club.

The Greek players will also be offered opportunities to gain coaching qualifications and training and match experience while at Woolston.

Holt said: “This is a groundbreaking opportunity, not only for Woolston Rovers, but also for British Amateur Rugby League.

"The vision of both organisations is to develop players from both sides that will enable them to progress their rugby careers, and also from the Greek point of view it will allow their players to gain an insight in how the game is played in the traditional British Rugby League heartlands.

"This will then allow them to return to Greece with experience and coaching qualifications that will enhance the game over there.”

There is already a Greek connection at Warrington with national coach Steve Georgallis plying his trade as a player at the Wolves back in 2001.

National Conference League Division 2 side Woolston also field an open age side in the North West Men’s League as well as an Under 18s side and 17 Junior teams.

Woolston has been a successful nursery for elite players coming through their Junior ranks including Irish International and current Salford Red Devils backrower Tyrone McCarthy, and youngster Connor Wrench who recently made his Super League debut for Warrington Wolves.

The club has established links with the Warrington and Salford academies.

Holt added: “Woolston and Greece will work very closely in the build up to the 2021 Rugby League World Cup and beyond to enable the game to flourish in the Greek league.

“This is a great honour for Woolston Rovers, and we cannot wait to welcome the Greek players into the Green and Gold family.”

Stilianos said he was looking forward to the increased access to the development pathways Woolston will provide and would welcome the Rovers coaching staff or players if they were to make the trip to Greece.

“We are super excited about this partnership with Woolston Rovers and the solid pathway it provides to our players.

"Our track record of producing talented players is proven, as we recently had players playing in English League One and French Elite 2.

"We now have eight active men's teams in Greece, plus two more that are in the process of rebuilding, so our player pool is continuously growing.

"There are several players that are looking to test themselves at a higher level abroad and the NCL divisions are a perfect place for them to do just that.”

Greece will contest the 2021 Rugby League World Cup and will contain a minimum of eight domestic squad members.