RFL declare support for reserve grade but decision rests with clubs

The RFL have declared the support for an extension of the reserves set-up, but says the final decision sits with the clubs.

There have been increasing calls for running a reserve team to be mandatory for Super League clubs to aid with the development of players and ensuring players aren’t lost to the game when they become too old for academy rugby at 19.

Only a handful of clubs currently run reserve sides, including Halifax in the Championship, which means there is a lack of a meaningful reserve structure and sporadic games.

Ralph Rimmer: “Reserve Grade playing opportunities are a vital component of the player pathway and the national governing body has been strong advocate of this for a number of years.

“The decision sits with clubs and the Rugby Football League can extend and develop the competition framework accordingly, alongside robust arrangements for dual-registration which support player development and protect the community game.

“It is also a vital part of growing the game geographically. I am confident that we are going to see more clubs join the Reserves competition next season and beyond.”

A number of clubs have opted against running a reserves side due to the cost, and that is a decision that rests with them, according to Rimmer.

However, he confirmed there had been a rethink amongst some clubs which may see an increased competition next season, though the RFL would be unable to make it mandatory.

Dave Rotheram, is Head of Coaching and Player Development for the Rugby Football League and coached at all levels of the game: “We have always believed that there needs to be a transition between age-banded and senior Rugby League.

“For many, the absence of regular competitive games means that they are not achieving their full potential. Reserve Grade Rugby League offers this.

“We have always worked in collaboration with clubs who would like to develop their players via Reserve Grade. From a Player Development perspective, insight from all stakeholders tells us that a second tier of competition within the club environment will optimise the development of players so that when they move up to First Grade they are better prepared for its demands.”

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