Doncaster Knights part company with Paul Cooke as coaching shake-up continues

Paul Cooke has left Doncaster Knights with immediate effect.

Tuesday, 7th May 2019, 10:13 am
Paul Cooke

A statement on the Knights website said the former rugby league star has left for ‘personal and career’ reasons.

Cooke was in his second spell at Castle Park after returning in 2017 to become backs and skills coach.

His departure follows hot on the heels of the appointment of new head coach Tom Smith, who will work alongside director of rugby Clive Griffiths before taking over from the Welshman at the end of next season. Former head coach Glen Kenworthy has been appointed as director of rugby development.

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Knights finished tenth in this season’s Championship, their lowest position since 2013.

Cooke posted on Twitter: “I’d like to thank Steve Lloyd and Tony De Mulder for their professional handling of this matter.

“Thank you Gaffer, Clive Griffiths, for your continued support and friendship.

“I’ll remain friends and in touch with people within the club and those leaving or left already for the rest of my life, keep in touch always and look forward to watching the new look Doncaster Knights in 2019/20 with a beer from the stands as a supporter of the club.

“Thank you to the players, you’re the life of the club, you work so hard day in day out, I love you all, you’re the reason I loved my time at such a special club. Good luck to you all next year and beyond.”

Griffiths told Knights’ official website: "From day one Cookey referred to me as “the Gaffer” and it quickly caught on with the majority of the Knights squad - there was mutual respect from the moment we joined forces. He will be sorely missed but I fully understand his reasons for moving on.

“Our discussions, held behind firmly closed doors, were to the point, informative and sometimes ’no nonsense’! When they were over that was that and we moved on safe in the knowledge that our Knights team would benefit accordingly for the next challenge.

“His contribution in his time at Castle Park has been extensive and I know someone is going to benefit from his knowledge and work ethic in seasons to come - union or league.

“His departure brings to an end a three man coaching panel that has provided our club with some great memories over the years and for that I thank him (and Kendo) most sincerely.”