Newly promoted Doncaster Rugby League Club have announced that they have formed a unique partnership with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats for the forthcoming 2013 season.
The Wildcats proved to be of great assistance to the Dons as they won both the Co-Operative Championship One league leaguers shield and grand final trophy, to register their most successful season to date in their 61 year history.
The Super League club allowed four members of their squad (Kieran Hyde, Russ Spiers, Danny Cowling and Lucas Walshaw) to become dual registered players with the Dons and their presence had a very positive impact on the club's players and coaching team.
Dons chief executive Carl Hall said: "As a club we're over the moon to go in to partnership with Wakefield who was arguably the most improved club in the Super League competition last season. The impressive number of victories they achieved in the run up to the play-offs was terrific and the result of their defeat against Leeds in the play-off eliminator was no true reflection of the game. The Wildcats really supported the Dons in Championship One last season and their dual registered players played a big part in our success of which we are eternally grateful."
There will be two key areas to this newly formed partnership - one being player development and the other being of a commercial nature. Both facets will aim to assist the Dons to continue to grow as a club and to also become a major and consistent force in the Championship.
The Wildcats will once again allow up to four of their players to be dual registered with the Dons for the 2013 season. The players in question have yet to be confirmed but it is hoped that the impressive Cowling and Walshaw will make a return to the Keepmoat Stadium.
There will be opportunities for Tony Miller and his Doncaster coaching team to work alongside Richard Agar and his respective coaching team at several of Wakefield's Super League home games. The Wildcats team of coaches will also get involved with a number of the Dons training sessions where ideas and training methods can be discussed and put into practice.
On the commercial aspect of the partnership, the Dons can confirm that a friendly match has been arranged between the two clubs on Sunday 27th January 2013 at the Keepmoat Stadium. Further details with regards to ticketing and the kick-off time will be confirmed soon.
Both clubs hope to announce further commercial initiatives as the partnership develops over the course of the new season.
Hall added: "I feel next season's Championship is going to be very competitive, as almost every club has strengthened their squads with Super League fringe players since the recent termination of the under 20's competition. These players are of a very high standard who have been, or continue to be on full-time contracts with the majority of them having good Super League experience under their belts. The Dons and the Wildcats share many characteristics in the way we operate and we're both ambitious clubs that are striving to become the best we can be. I genuinely believe this partnership will go a long way to help us achieve these objectives and will be mutually beneficial and rewarding for both clubs."
James Elston, Wakefield chief executive, said: "Doncaster is a club who, much like ourselves, have made some big strides over the last couple of years and we are both ambitious to kick-on further. It was a great experience for our younger players to be part of the success Doncaster enjoyed last year and we know from their experiences that it's a fantastic club for our youngsters to develop. Off the field they have also made some big improvements and we look forward to working closely with them to help that continue. With so many similarities between the two clubs we think the partnership has the potential to be a great success."
Halifax coach Richard Marshall has acknowledged that his team have not hit the heights this season, but have still shown signs of steady and positive progress.
Warrington coach Tony Smith has praised his side for never taking their foot off the gas against Wakefield and cruising through to the Challenge Cup final.