Ex-Robins coach Webster leads Wests to title
ANDREW Webster believes his apprenticeship at Hull KR helped him lead Wests Tigers under-18s to their first title in 30 years.
Webster joined the Tigers' coaching set-up after spending six years in east Hull learning under coach Justin Morgan.
Without that learning curve, Webster admits he wouldn't have got to where he is today, and is forever grateful to Morgan.
"My time at Rovers was huge," Webster told the Mail.
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"Justin made it clear to me from the start of my time there that he wanted me to coach the under-21s.
"I enjoyed every second of it because it wasn't just about coaching the players on the pitch, it was as much dealing with them off it.
"I got to understand what players that age were going through in their private lives.
"I was comfortable with that and it has definitely helped me bring this success to Wests in my first season here.
"It was a very worthwhile apprenticeship at Craven Park.
"I still speak to Justin about once a week and I appreciate everything he has done for me."
Webster admits his job as the Tigers' under-18s coach was made easier by a crop of talented players coming through their youth system.
"People talk about the significance of having steady players wearing one, six, seven and nine, I have been lucky," he said.
"They have been the key players for me this year and it has been relatively easy to mould them all into a good team.
"Our head of recruitment Warren McDonnell has done a fantastic job from grade one down to the academy.
"It's nice to report back to him and show we out-performed his expectations.
"My goal at the start of the season was to bring through as many players for the next grade as I could.
"From a squad of 25, around 12 will be taken on for the under-20s which is televised on FoxTel.
"If we managed to reach the play-offs then that would have been an added bonus, but to win the competition is a superb achievement for us."
No sooner had Webster enjoyed the celebrations, he was looking ahead to next year.
"My goal for next season is to continue the progression we have made," he said.
"We have to build on this success. We cannot afford to rest on our laurels and we won't be.
"I want to see more young players come through from junior level to the first grade like we did with Kris Welham at Rovers.
"Sport is about winning trophies so we will be aiming for that again."