During the difficult 2008 season former star player David Hobbs had failed move the side forward after winning promotion in 2007. And so, after Danny Evans had seen the season out with the help of Jon Sharp, Rovers appointed Daryl Powell head coach in September 2008 and he immediately set about reforming the side. He had a wealthy of playing experience, winning 33 Great Britain caps in a distinguished career. He starred at Sheffield, then Leeds and finally Keighley where he began his coaching career, before moving back to Headingley. On starting at Post Office Road, funds were made available for recruitment and in came the likes of Ian Hardman, Tim Spears, Kyle Briggs and Jon Steel, as well as the notable capture of international star Iestyn Harris. That first year of 2009 saw Rovers improve, but it was ultimately a year of disappointment as a promising run in the Northern Rail Cup ended in a narrow defeat to favourites Barrow in a close semi-final, and a creditable fourth finish in the league saw playoff victories over Sheffield and Widnes before finally losing another close semi-final to Halifax.
The following year Rovers swept all before them and in a dominant display won the league leaders shield by some distance, but lost the Grand final to Halifax. New recruits Liam Finn and Ben Kaye added to a squad that Powell was gradually moulding. In 2011 Rovers retained the league leaders shield, but again suffered an annoying loss to Halifax, in the semi-final of the NR Cup. There were no mistakes in the Grand final and Rovers were crowned Champions after a 40-4 hammering of Sheffield. Johnny Hepworth, Greg Worthington and Andy Bostock were among the new faces that year. Powell received wider recognition for his work when he was appointed Engalnd assistant coach to Steve McNamara in the International Four Nations. In 2012 Rovers made it three in a row as league leaders, but had the double disappointment of losing both the NR Cup final to Halifax and the Championship Grand final to Sheffield. After another solid start to the season Powell left the club in May 2013.
The statistics he left behind as Rovers first team coach will take some beating. He was coach for 136 games, winning 103, with 3 draws and 30 defeats. This win percentage of 76.84% is clearly the best in the club’s history:
1 Daryl Powell played 136 won 103 drew 3 lost 30 =76,84%
2 Peter Roe played 80 won 53 drew 4 lost 23 =68,75%
3 Keith Cotton played 57 won 37 drew 2 lost 18 =66,67%
4 Keith Goulding played 72 won 45 drew 4 lost 23 =65,28%
5 Harold Moxon played 264 won 164 drew 9 lost 91 =63,83%
He is also the club’s 6th longest serving coach:
1 Peter Fox 304
2 Harold Moxon 264
3 Eric Batten 210
4 Bill Sherwood 204
5 Laurie Gant 181
6 Daryl Powell 136