Wakefield Trinity Community Foundation is delighted to announce that Lee Whiteley has been appointed as PDRL head coach ahead of the 2021 season.
Whiteley, who brings in a wealth of experience, currently plays his part in the coaching setup at Eastmoor and will continue to serve the Dragons whilst with Trinity.
From sustaining a serious brain injury at the age of 12 to playing for his boyhood club at 48, Whiteley’s Rugby League journey has been a rollercoaster, to say the least.
However, after spending the majority of his playing and coaching career at Eastmoor, Whiteley’s introduction into PDRL came through his charity work, helping raise funds for different institutions dotted across the district.
Despite enjoying a successful career as an able-bodied player, Whiteley’s childhood accident opened a locked door and, in recent years, made his PDRL debut.
Now, a number of years on, Whiteley faces yet another, but different, opportunity to stamp his mark on the Physical Disability game, something he is extremely excited about.
“I am thrilled about taking over what I regard as my extended family now at Wakefield PDRL, especially in the year that could, and should, produce some wonderful opportunities for the individuals within our ranks,” he explained.
“With the RFL announcing a Physical Disability tournament to run alongside the World Cup this October, I cannot think of any better motivation for anyone pulling on a PDRL shirt this year.”
Following his arrival at Trinity, Whiteley will link up with assistant coaches, Steven Godfrey, and current PDRL captain, Darren Dean, individuals he has much experience working with in the past.
“Once the opportunity arose, I immediately contacted someone that is an inspiration, both on and off the field, and I am very pleased to announce that Darren Dean has agreed to assist me in a coaching capacity,” said Whiteley.
“Alternatively, Steven is a veteran of the game and has coached at many levels, so will bring a freshness to the camp, something I believe will only benefit the dynamics of the group.”
Following defeat in a closely-contested Grand Final against Warrington before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, Whiteley’s plan is simple, promotion.
“We just missed out on the PDRL Championship in 2019, so the aim has to be to build on the fantastic foundations that have already been laid to go one step further and win the whole thing.
“We have some fantastic, truly inspirational human beings within our ranks who deserve nothing less than that – I just hope that we, as a coaching team, can add the icing on the metaphorical cake and make it happen.”
Following the end of his reign, the Foundation would also like to take the opportunity to thank Danny Thorpe for his invested and dedicated efforts over the two years he has been in charge.
During his time as head coach, Danny has led the side to the PDRL Grand Final, whilst being a big influence on the continued development of players and improving the image of the Physical Disability Rugby League throughout the district
Everyone at the Wakefield Trinity wishes Danny well for the future and both he and his family are welcome back to the Mobile Rocket Stadium when it is safe to do so.