ST Helens reserve coach Ian Talbot will take charge of Championship One club Rochdale Hornets after the two clubs agreed to form a partnership.
The move is one of a number of link-ups between Super League clubs and those from the Championship after the Rugby Football League decided to replace Under-20 and Under-18 competitions with a single Under-19s league.
Saints have also forged a similar agreement with Whitehaven, which means that the club will be able offer young players opportunities on four levels.
“This partnership is a culmination of three months of hard work with Rochdale and we are delighted they have agreed to link with us,” said Saints general manager Mike Rush, who has reverted to his old role after holding the position of caretaker coach for the last six months.
“The move will give our players the opportunity to continue their development at a higher level and we look forward to watching them progress.
“As part of the move, Ian Talbot, our Under-20s coach, will be taking up the head coaching position at Rochdale whilst ex-Rochdale and GB international Matt Calland will also join the set-up as head of youth and work with the first team squad.”
The partnership will see up to five St Helens dual-registered or loan players play for the Championship sides.
Hornets chairman Mark Wynn said: “We are thrilled by this partnership. It is an opportunity not just for Hornets but for rugby league as a whole in Rochdale.
“Any ambitious youngster in the town can now see a path which leads right to the very top of the game.”