The partnership will include player exchange under the dual registration process but also see Leeds sharing best practice on a wide range of other strategies such as media and marketing.
Hunslet are currently under the control of the Hunslet Independent Supporters Trust (HIST) who are working hard to set the foundations for a long term financially viable business operating model.
Hunslet Club Chairman Neil Hampshire said, “We work closely with the RFL who have consistently held Leeds up as an excellent role model for Rugby League Clubs so the opportunity to work in partnership with them was too good to miss. I’d like to reassure our fans that this in no way affects our independence and it’s more about how we can learn and grow as a Club in the local community to be able to meet our long term goals. It’s the reality of where we are right now and I’m certain that more Super League and Championship Clubs will start to ‘twin’ together in the near future. In the meantime, we would like to wish the Rhinos the best of luck for Saturday’s Carnegie Challenge Cup Final at Wembley and hope they can bring the trophy home to Leeds.”
Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington echoed those sentiments, “I see this as a real chance for both Clubs to work together for the benefit of Rugby League across Leeds. I’m sure some fans will view this as Hunslet becoming a feeder Club for us but when you look at the reality of the situation it will actually be the Rhinos who are sending players to them. Hunslet has a very strong and proud tradition in the game and rightly so and I think what the current board are trying to do is commendable and should be supported so we are happy to help. In the difficult financial climate this could be the way forward for a number of Clubs.”
The partnership will begin with immediate effect though player movement will not commence until the 2013 season.