Super League needs to have a Reserves league because it would benefit everyone involved.
A reserves system came back into the game prior to the 2016 campaign but it has still only got four Super League teams involved.
Wigan Warriors, St Helens, Warrington Wolves and Hull FC are the only top-flight clubs to run reserve-grades but due to there only being four teams involved, young players are only playing a handful of games per year.
And the four teams who finished in the top four in Super League after the regular campaign last year were Wigan, St Helens, Warrington and Hull.
Credit must also go to Championship side Halifax and League 1 outfit Keighley Cougars who also have second string sides.
But it makes you think, if Halifax and Keighley can afford to do it then why can’t well-backed Super League sides do it?
The Under-19s structure has worked well and there is no need to change anything about that. Players who are 17-years-old for example are testing themselves against bigger players who are 19 years of age which can only be good for their development.
However, Leigh Centurions and Salford Red Devils don’t even have Academies, never mind Reserves, though the former have just had approval for a tier 3 academy.
It is extremely tough for players who are too old for the Under-19s but are still on the fringes of the first team.
Their progress is being halted due to a lack of game time and they can do as much training as they want but they will not make half the progress that they should without playing regularly.
And this then ties in with the dual-registration system, which was introduced in 2013. For anyone who doesn’t know, dual-reg is where a Super League player can also be registered to play for a club in a lower division on a week-to-week basis.
Some Super League outfits might not even want a dual-registration partnership but they are forced to do so anyway because their younger players need game time.
Also, first team regulars who are coming back from injury can ease their way back into the swing of things by playing for the Reserves rather than being chucked back in at the deep end with a higher risk of sustaining an injury at the highest level.
Take Dom Manfredi for example, he played for Wigan’s Reserves against St Helens last month rather than playing for the first team straight away.
England Academy have named a highly talented 22-man squad for two Tests against France this autumn, some even with Super League experience.
But how many of those will be in a situation where in a year or two, they will also be stuck for game time?
In the grand scheme of things, it’s not expensive to run a reserve-grade but unless made mandatory, it is looking like clubs will not be running them anytime soon.
What are your thoughts on the current Reserves scheme? Let us know in the comments below.