Meet The Team

Tim Adams MBE


Tim is a chartered accountant with a long and distinguished involvement in Rugby League. He was chairman of Sheffield Eagles when they won the Challenge Cup in 1998 and was a director of Super League (Europe) from 1998 to 2002.

He has been the chairman of the RFL Benevolent Fund since 2004 and has been involved with RL Cares since the charity’s inception in 2011.

Tim also has a passion for horse racing and is a trustee of the Northern Racing College and chairman of the Leger Legends, a race which has raised over £1m for good causes in the last nine years.

Contact: via Tracey Barr –

Chris Rostron

Chief Executive

Chris has been involved in Rugby League for 20 years, having previously worked as a development officer with Bradford Bulls, where he established the club’s charitable foundation in 2004.  He joined Leeds Rhinos in 2006 to work with the trustees of the newly-created Leeds Rugby Foundation.

Chris left Leeds in December 2010 to join the RFL as Head of Partnerships, a role that involved reviewing all charitable programmes in the sport.  The outcome of the review was the establishment of RL Cares in February 2013, since when Chris has been head of the charity.


Mobile: 07917 282322

Steve Ball

RL Benevolent Fund General Manager

Steve has enjoyed a lifelong involvement in Rugby League, including roles as Chief Executive of Batley RLFC and Hull FC, chairman of Hunslet Hawks and a director at both the RFL and Leeds Rhinos.

A former schoolteacher, Steve was appointed full-time General Manager of the RFL Benevolent Fund in 2009.


Mobile: 07771 732326

Steve McCormack

Director of Wellbeing

Steve joined the charity in February 2019 when he became the sport’s first ever Transition Manager, a role that will see him help players prepare for the next stage of their lives at the end of their rugby careers.
Steve had previously worked as Player Welfare Manager at Wigan Warriors having enjoyed a successful coaching career at club and international level with Widnes, Salford, Whitehaven, Gateshead, Barrow, Swinton and Scotland, who he coached in three RL World Cups.


Mobile: 07477 873902

Francis Stephenson

Transition Manager

Francis joined RL Cares as a staff member in early 2020 after working with the charity on a consultancy basis. A former Wakefield Trinity, London Broncos, Wigan Warriors, Hull KR and England prop, Francis forged a successful business career in IT following his retirement in 2006.


Mobile: 07769 714992

Gareth Ellis

Wellbeing Programme Manager

Gareth was appointed to the new role of Wellbeing Programme Manager in November 2023 after a three-year spell as Football Manager and Assistant Coach at Hull FC.

That period followed a glittering playing career that saw him make almost 500 first grade appearances, including 33 caps for Great Britain and England. He started his career at Wakefield Trinity before joining Leeds Rhinos, with whom he won two Super League Grand Finals. At the end of 2008 he signed for Sydney-based Wests Tigers, where he was named player of the year in three of his four seasons with the NRL club.

He returned to the UK in 2013 to join Hull FC, where he spent seven seasons and captained the club to two Challenge Cup final wins at Wembley.


David Kirk


David joined RL Cares as the sport’s first full-time in-house psychotherapist in late-November 2022 after forging a successful private practice in the North West.

He has supported junior, first team and retired athletes in recent years in a consultative capacity with Sporting Chance. David has also spent the last five years providing psychotherapeutic support at St Helens, Super League’s most successful club.

He is a full member of the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) and on the accredited register of counsellors and psychotherapists compiled by BACP. In the last 10 years David has specialised in the field of addiction and has expertise in transactional analysis, cognitive behaviour therapy, cognitive analytic therapy and transpersonal psychology.


Mobile: 07838 255704

Steve Hardisty

Head of Curriculums and Work Programmes

Castleford-born Steve joined RL Cares in a new role in January 2021 and works alongside Steve McCormack and the other members of the team delivering player welfare services.

He had spent the last 10 years at Huddersfield Giants, initially as Player Performance Manager with the club’s Academy and the last six years as Player Welfare Manager with the senior squad.


Mobile: 07881 773749

Emma Goldsmith

Director of Community

Emma Goldsmith has worked in a range of programme management and business development roles across the healthcare industry. She has led multiple projects focused on improving the health and wellbeing of Rugby League communities, including Hull, Bradford, Wigan, St Helens and Salford.

Emma is using this experience to bring health programmes to the sport, including Offload and Ahead of the Game with a number of partners including the Big Lottery, Oddballs Foundation, Movember Foundation and RLWC2021.


Keith Senior

Head of Wellbeing Programmes

A former Great Britain international player, Keith won four Super League Grand Finals with Leeds Rhinos and also tasted Challenge Cup final success at Wembley with Sheffield Eagles in 1998.

Keith joined the player welfare team in a full-time capacity in the summer of 2020 after working with the charity part-time for the previous 18 months. He combines his role with the position of assistant coach at Sheffield Eagles.


Laura Murphy

Community Programme Manager

Laura is an experienced programme/project manager overseeing the strategy and delivery of sport, physical activity and health programmes across NGB’s, local authorities and commercial businesses.

This experience will be used to support the growth of Ahead of the Game and Offload, working closely with all stakeholders to deliver evidence-based health programmes to rugby league communities and NHS staff.


Wendy Barr

Health Development and Growth Manager

Wendy joined the team in November 2020 and brings a wide range of experience from sports development, health development and local authority roles to improve the health and wellbeing of rugby league communities.

She discovered her love of the sport as a student and captained the University of Leeds team before playing for Leeds Akkies, Chorley Panthers and West Craven after graduating.

Wendy works Monday to Wednesday and leads on health and wellbeing projects including Offload, working closely with local partners and professional club foundations.


Paul Wood

NHS Health and Wellbeing Programme Manager

Paul is a former Super League player who made over 350 appearances during a distinguished career with Warrington Wolves, Featherstone Rovers and England.

He played 339 times for Warrington, mainly at prop, and was twice a Challenge Cup final winner with the Wolves in both 2010 and 2012. Paul also played in the Grand final at Old Trafford in 2012 and 2013. In 2011 Paul was also part of the Warrington Wolves team to win the League Leaders Shield.

Paul has been delivering Offload fixtures since 2019 and is a presenter on the Ahead of the Game.


Bob Beswick

Wellbeing Programmes Manager

Bob joined RL Cares in January 2022 and combines the role ion the community team with his position as Strength and Conditioning Coach at Widnes Vikings.

Bob made 433 senior appearances in a professional playing career with Wigan, Widnes, Halifax, Leigh, Toronto, Newcastle and Ireland, for whom he gained 25 caps.


Mobile: 07841 166240

Sam Laird

Community and Welfare Officer

Sam is a former Royal Marine Commando with over 12 years’ service, including multiple tours of duty across the globe. He is a black belt in judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Since 2015, Sam has worked with veterans, young people, television personalities, entrepreneurs, professional athletes, sports teams and the NHS.


Damian Gibson

Community and Welfare Officer

Damian joined the health and community team in a full-time capacity in late 2022 after a successful 18 months working with the charity delivering the Movember Ahead of the Game project and Offload.

A Queenslander by birth, Damian made 18 international appearances for Wales between 1998 and 2008 and played almost 300 matches in a club career with Leeds, Halifax, Castleford, Salford and Sheffield after moving to the UK from North Queensland Cowboys in 1996.


Nav Uppal

Partnerships Manager

Nav took up her role as Partnerships Manager in January 2023 and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the sport to the charity having worked in rugby league both in the UK and Australia.

In 2022, Nav worked as Delivery Lead on the Rugby League World Cup after returning to the UK from Australia earlier in the year, where she spent a year as Executive Assistant to Labor NSW Senator, Kristina Keneally, and previously worked for over five years at the NRL alongside the Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Game Strategy.

A law graduate from Nottingham Trent University, Huddersfield-born Nav also spent four years working for the Rugby Football League in a variety of roles, including Salary Cap Administrator and Executive Assistant to the CEO.


Mobile: 07826 130 187

Tracey Barr

Head of Operations

Tracey is one of the sport’s most experienced administrators, having previously spent more than 20 years working for the RFL in a number of roles, including events management.

Tracey joined the charity in the summer of 2018 from Leeds Rhinos, where she spent almost three years as a commercial sales executive.


Mobile: 07976 835509

Catherine Maddy

Head of Events and Fundraising

Catherine joined RL Cares in the summer of 2021 after a successful 10-year career with the Rugby Football League, where she spent the last five years as Head of Events.

Born in Hull, Catherine graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) focused in Multimedia Technology.

During her time at the RFL, Catherine successfully delivered major events, including the Super League Grand Final, Magic Weekend, Championships Grand Final, season launches and the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.


Mobile: 07793 971246

Nigel Hansford

Head of Finance

Nigel is a chartered accountant who has taken care of the finances of both RL Cares and the RL Benevolent fund since August 2018.

He joined the charity with a wealth of experience of Rugby League, having held a variety or roles in the sport, including Financial Controller at St Helens and Finance Director of Wigan Warriors.


John Ledger

Communications Officer

John joined the charity in 2015 after spending seven years heading up the RFL’s media and PR team. During his time at the RFL, John revived the Rugby League Hall of Fame and was involved in the project to deliver the Legends statue at Wembley Stadium.

A former journalist at the Yorkshire Post and Sunday Times, John was England’s media manager on the 2010 Four Nations in Australia and New Zealand and is the secretary of the Rugby League Lions Association.


Mobile: 07762 967325