Carl Forster will become the youngest head coach in the game next season as he takes charge of Whitehaven at the age of 24. He is a former Pilkington Recs player who signed for St Helens back in 2009. He made his debut for the saints in 2011 coming off the bench in a victory over the London Broncos.
He played for the club on five occasions but most of his first team rugby has came when being out on loan/DR. He has played for London, Rochdale, Swinton and Whitehaven. His stint at Whitehaven seen him become a firm fans favourite as he made 22 appearances for the West Cumbrian side in 2013 and 2014. He almost put pen to paper to a contract for Whitehaven. But Dr Koukash came knocking at his door and offered Carl a route back into Super League having been released by St Helens at the end of the 2014 season. Forster had a tough time at Salford making only 16 appearances for the Red Devils during his 18 month stint and was granted a early release on his contract.
He signed back on for Whitehaven for their championship shield campaign and became part of the four man coaching team that took charge of their final five games after James Coyle was sacked after a disappointing run of form left the Cumbrians needing a miracle to stay in the division. That coaching team which also involved Scott McAvoy, Craig Calvert and Dave Allen steered the team to three vicitories in five games but it wasn’t enough and relegation was confirmed with a narrow 20-18 defeat away to Oldham.
When speaking about taking the job Forster said “I was surprised when they offered me the job but they have been a board meeting on the Wednesday Night and other candidates hadn’t worked out so they decided to offer me the job.” “I took the job as I felt I would be doing the best for the club.”
“Next season is going to a hard slog with trips to Canada, London, South Wales but we need to prepare and get pre-season sorted. When we came in for the final five games it was a bit disorganized initially going from playing one day to coaching the next and we only had two days before the game (v Workington.) But this season will be totally different, the last five weeks have been brilliant with great results putting 40 & 50 on teams so we will be expecting to carry that on, I will be looking for an attacking side.”
Speaking about his options for players and his coaching staff, Forster said to expect announcements this week. “I’m having meetings today (Monday 26/9) and later on in the week with possible additions to coaching staff including people who are and aren’t already with the club. “I spoke to some of the lads about me taking the job and they said they loved the last six weeks, but not everyone is going to want to play under a 24 year old player coach so we will wait and see who stays.” “I’m wanting a 22/23 man squad and see if we can pick up a couple of loanees on the way. I feel we had too small a squad this season, we played Sheffield with only two fit subs.”
“We will be looking for Cumbrian lads for the majority of our squad, that includes for lads from Kells, Wath Brow & Egremont who will be looking for the step up to Semi-Pro RL, I was at the game at the weekend (Kells v Wath Brow) and there’s some good lads there but I won’t be making my decisions of one game. I will speak to the local lads like Scott McAvoy, Craig Calvert and Mark Stamper and Barry Richardson who are local lads but the final decision will be mine and I will need to see them play more.”
Carl has shown his commitment to taking the head coach role at Whitehaven by dropping down to part time in his day job. “I don’t feel it would be best for the club for me to be working five days a week then travelling to training.” Speaking about the club “I’m a passionate player who wears my heart on sleeve. I grew to love the club in my first tine and wished I has signed back on but I choose other other options.
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