Hunslet have hit back at the criticism both they and Leeds have faced over the dual-registration system.
The revised system hit the headlines last week following the announcement that Super League veterans Kylie Leuluai and Richard Moore would play for the Hawks at Leigh, which came after Swinton had played Warrington prop Paul Wood in their opening Championship game of the season the previous weekend.
Leuluai was ultimately prevented from playing by the UK Border Agency, although the RFL are continuing to work over resolving the issue surrounding overseas players turning out for partner clubs, while Moore played for the majority of the 40-0 defeat to the Centurions.
But Hunslet are unhappy at the negative press afforded to both them and the Rhinos, pointing out that several clubs in the Championship are making use of the system in the same way.
In a club statement, the Hawks said: “We note with interest that the high profile option of fielding Kylie Leuluai and Richard Moore in last week’s game at Leigh Centurions drew much attention. When in actual fact Dewsbury, Doncaster, Keighley, Swinton, Whitehaven, Workington and York all fielded dual registration players with over 100 Super League appearances between them at the weekend. Two of these players represented Dewsbury.
“This is not a criticism by any means, we are simply highlighting that this is happening across the majority of clubs. These clubs are operating within the rules, but it does outline that the change in our approach to dual registration is necessary to remain competitive.
“It also outlines a significantly unfair and bias press attitude to the Hunslet and Leeds partnership given that we are operating no differently to a number of other partnerships.
“The club stated that our dual registration strategy for 2013 would be an arrangement whereby we would have four players from Leeds Rhinos joining the club on long term dual registration agreements. Since that initial announcement, we have always been open and honest about our plans in both our communications to our supporters and the rugby league community in general.
“In an ideal world of course, ourselves and all Championship clubs would not need to enter into partnerships or dual registration agreements. In our case as a ‘supporter owned’ club and without a significant benefactor or significant crowd levels we have to look to other means of sustainability to maintain and grow our club and more importantly to make Hunslet Hawks competitive on the field. To that end we make no apologies for acting within the rules.”