St Helens frustrated by reserves stalemate

James Gordon

St Helens have confirmed they will not be running a reserves team in 2019 after talks for a formal competition broke down.

A reserve team still isn’t a mandatory requirement and even those that had committed to run a team are re-considering, following the lack of widespread support, despite the fact that a number of lower league clubs run sides.

Last season’s Super League League Leaders Shield winners will use the loan and dual-registration system to ensure its younger players gain game time.

Chief executive, Mike Rush, said: “The club are 100 percent committed to running a reserve team and did so for two seasons with only Warrington and Wigan also showing their commitment.

“Following this experience and lack of game time for the players, the club is awaiting the governing body to make the competition mandatory for all Super League clubs.

“We strongly believe that a three tier system, with under 18s and Reserves, is vital to the production of the game’s next generation of elite players for our club and international competitions.

“In 2017, the club played 14 games at this level while the next nearest club played seven and as a result we stated that a greater commitment from the centre was needed to make this a genuine competition.

“With regards to 2019, once again the competition is based on friendly matches with no formal competition and we was felt that the lack of certainty around such fixtures made it impossible to commit to.

“The club will explore the opportunity to play some games against other clubs at this level during the season using our top age Academy under 19s and our first team squad members.”