After a recent recruitment drive, we are delighted to announce the appointment of Matty Barber as our new Head Coach and Dan Phillips as our Physical Disability Rugby League (PDRL) Team Manager.
The men were introduced to the team on a zoom call over the weekend and both are excited for a return to training and match play.
Team Manager Dan is a familiar face to those who follow our PDRL Team, indeed to the team themselves having played with them since the start of the squad in 2018.
He grew up in Warrington and has played rugby league from an early age, although a horrific road traffic accident in July 2014 meant his life took a different turn; this accident resulted in his right leg being amputated in February 2015. Dan is very definitely a man to whom adversity is no obstacle, he started training as soon as he was able and went on to compete in the Wounded Warrior Games in 2016 in New York, the British Para Triathlon Championship in 2016 (winning his class!) and then competed in the Invictus Games in Toronto in 2017.
He’s part of the reigning World Club PDRL Champions squad
In August 2018, he and his fellow Warrington Wolves PDRL team travelled to Sydney under the guidance of our fantastic former Head Coach Wil Maudsley (who has had to step down due to work commitments) to compete in the inaugural World Club PDRL Championship; we remain proud title holders of World Club Champions after winning against South Sydney Rabbitohs in Sydney in 2018. We are also UK PDRL Champions after scooping the title against Wakefield Trinity in September 2019.
Dan is married to Natalie and is the proud father of three children. Speaking of his appointment as Team Manager, Dan said;
“I’m honoured and excited to be able to help Warrington Wolves PDRL continue to grow and build on the foundations already laid down”.
Matty is a new face to the team although certainly no newcomer to rugby and feels he must’ve had a rugby ball in his hands from birth as his dad and uncle both played.
Warrington born and bred, he has played at Crosfields all his life and still says he hasn’t completely hung up his boots yet! As a school boy he gained a scholarship with Warrington and was coached by Foundation Director Neil Kelly, progressing to the junior and senior academy’s also representing Leigh Academy, Neil said this makes him feel old!
Matty went on to study Sports Development and Fitness at Priestly College and whilst there went on to win the national cup as Captain of their rugby academy. Subsequently selected to play for England students, Matty played in a Home Nation’s cup then a year later in a European cup in France where he was named player of the tournament.
Over the years, playing at Crosfields has brought him the titles of young player and player of the year, he’s won the Division 2 of the National Conference League with them in 2016 and Man of Steel for Crosfields. Matty also signed for Oldham playing one season in the reserve team and winning the grand final.
He’s married and has 2 children and 1 step-son and coaches his son’s team. We spoke with Matty on what the appointment means to him;
“It is a massive honour to become the new head coach. I’m looking forward to working with the team to continue the success which they have already achieved. I can’t wait to get going.”
Neil Kelly, Foundation Director said;
“This is an exciting year for physical disability rugby team with the first PD RLWC being staged in Warrington. The new coaching team will bring fresh challenges to our world club champions and both Matty and Dan really looking forward to getting back on the field and starting the season.”
Good luck to both of them as they enter into their new challenge, and we look forward to reporting on your progress over the 2021 season!