More should be done to have a proper reserves league, insists Halifax coach Richard Marshall

Drew Darbyshire

Halifax head coach Richard Marshall thinks ‘the powers that be’ need to put a proper reserves system in place.

There are only a handful of clubs who will run second string sides this year while Warrington Wolves and Hull FC ditched theirs in the off-season.

And Marshall thinks the sport is at risk of losing players if clubs do not have a reserve grade.

He told “Without the reserves, we would be struggling to field a team. We have invested in that area and in my opinion, short-sightedness and lack of investment in it is detriment of the game.

“The powers that be need to instill it and make sure there is some salary cap budget left to one side for a pathway to develop players otherwise we are going to lose players in the game.

“Out of the central distribution, I think there should be a portion for reserve-grade development for every club in Super League and it should be voluntary for clubs outside of Super League who don’t get the finances that Super League clubs get.

“I’m disappointed that a couple of teams have pulled out this year but I can understand their frustrations because the competition isn’t formatted to allow you to the play the game. We need more support from the RFL and we need a liaison for the reserve grade.”

Marshall has opened up on the costs of running a reserve team, revealing it costs between £30,000 and £40,000 per-year.

And the Fax boss thinks it is worth every penny.

He added: “We fundraise for our reserve-grade, we auctioned off each individual shirt to raise the funds to pay for it. We think that is a worthwhile investment and we have got some wonderful volunteers. Our supporters trust is one of the best around but it works.

“We are looking between £30,000 and £40,000 to run it and that’s with medical, coaching, facility hire and coach travel included. We raise between £10,000 and £15,000 and the supporters trust will raise £20,000.

“It doesn’t come out of our budget and it’s beneficial, regardless of the cost. If you invest in something and give it enough time, attention and detail then you will get it back.

“We have had it back, definitely. We’ve got Brandon Moore, James Woodburn-Hall, Chester Butler, Conor McGrath, and Elliott Morris from it. To see them lads running around in the Middle 8s last year against Warrington and Catalans is brilliant and seeing it is the joy of coaching really.”