Coventry Bears: Captain believes rugby league can grow in Midlands

Simon Phillips
Simon Phillips previously played for North Queensland Cowboys in the NRL.

Coventry Bears captain Simon Phillips believes rugby league can grow in the Midlands.

The Bears will made their League One debut on Friday at home to Oxford after being invited to join the league in July of last year.

"It's important to the club to develop rugby league in this area and the lads have been going into schools," he said.

"It's part and parcel of being a part of this team - we have a duty to promote both the club and the sport."

The Bears will play their home games at the 4,000-capacity Butts Park Arena, which they will share with the city's rugby union side.

Rugby league's lack of Midlands impact
The Super League, the highest tier of rugby league in England, has never featured a team from the Midlands in its 19-year history.

The club previously played in National Conference League Division Three at an amateur level but the Bears have now recruited a squad ready for the start of the season.

"A lot of the lads have come from rugby union so they're still learning the game and we have a few young guys here too but it's all starting to come together," Phillips said.

Phillips, recruited from Australian club North Devils in Brisbane, previously played for the North Queensland Cowboys in the NRL and believes his experience can help promote the game in the Midlands.

"Being from Australia, everyone loves rugby league over there but the Midlands are not somewhere you associate with the sport," he added.

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