Wakefield sever ties with Doncaster over player row

Wakefield have severed ties with partner club Doncaster due to a row over players.

Dons coach Tony Miller hit out at Wildcats counterpart Richard Agar following his side’s play-off defeat to Dewsbury at the weekend.

Miller claimed that Agar “wanted to pick the team for me”, a suggestion which Agar has strenuously denied in a thorough statement on the Wakefield club website.

Agar said: “This is a ludicrous comment. At the start of the year we were struggling to get any football for players such as Vince Mellars, Kyle Trout, Frankie Mariano, Matty Wildie and Liam Kay. Tony did not want to use these players as he didn’t want to upset his own guys.

“While I fully understood and empathised with his position, I felt it was our duty to press for some of our guys some game time. That is the idea of dual-registration. Tony only wanted to include players such as Danny Cowling who he knew he would have for extended periods. Again, I fully understood but I was having players not playing for 5-6 weeks which was leaving them totally under prepared. We cut a compromise and he began playing Kyle and eventually Liam.

“At no stage did I ever try and pick his team. Anyone in the game who knows me would tell you I would never attempt such an act. I am appalled Tony would make such a comment. I would find it hard to pick his team as I don’t know half of his squad.

“We have consistently offered our players this year. As well as the previously mentioned, we have offered Chris Annakin, Bobbie Goulding, Oliver Wilkes, Reece Lyne and Peter Fox to name others.

“I am really looking forward to reading the paper Tony is proposing to write on the subject. If his post-match comments are an indication of what’s to come then it will be worth the wait.

“I hope when he gets over losing the match he realises that we were probably not to blame and he has had a good pool of players at his disposal almost all season, he has simply chosen not to use them.

“I felt our relationship had always been very cordial and we had been as obliging as we possibly could in regards to the loaning of players.  At no stage this season has Tony ever expressed any discontent with our arrangement. This is what makes it all the more surprising and disappointing he has chosen to take a cheap shot at our club and me personally at this stage in the year.”

The defeat to Dewsbury was Miller’s last game in charge of Doncaster – he has now been succeeded by Paul Cooke, who will combine coaching with playing.

The dual-registration system has caused controversy all year. It came as a consequence of the abolition of the Under 23s team at Super League level, with clubs encouraged to link-up with Championship clubs to give players not eligible to play in the Under 19s competition game time.

Some clubs, including league leaders Featherstone, Northern Rail Cup winners Leigh, champions Sheffield and Halifax opted not to utilise the system.

Both Swinton and Hunslet were active users of the system, taking players on a regular basis from Warrington and Leeds respectively.

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