Leeds Rhinos have recently given their backing to the continuation of the dual-registration initiative after agreeing to once again link up with Championship side Featherstone Rovers for the 2017 campaign.
It has been announced today that Jordan Baldwinson, Jack Ormondroyd, Josh Walters and Ash Handley are set to feature for Featherstone Rovers this Sunday against Halifax.
The debate on dual-registration has been a major talking point ever since it was introduced by the RFL for the 2013 season and it doesn’t look like it will stop anytime soon.
It was set up to aid the development of younger players and give them more experience of playing competitive rugby league.
The system allows players from one club to also play for another in a different division.
It differs from a loan deal in that there isn’t a minimum time period in place to decide how long a player spends at a club.
Therefore, players can switch between teams on a week-to-week basis, giving flexibility for both clubs.
However, there are some who oppose this scheme, saying it disrupts the lower-division clubs and reduces the amount of opportunities their own players get.
Furthermore, they also claim that Super League sides should run their own reserve teams.
This is to give their fringe players game time rather than sending them to teams in the lower divisions and hampering their own squad development.
Dual-registration has its supporters and its doubters but two clubs who have benefited from it are Leeds and Featherstone.
The Rhinos had a deal with Hunslet when they were in the Championship, but struck a partnership with Featherstone last season to dual-register players.
Leeds sent Jordan Lilley, Mitch Achurch, Jordan Baldwinson, Luke Briscoe, Anthony Mullally, Ashton Golding and Josh Walters to Rovers last season with the aim to get minutes under their belt.
For the likes of Lilley and Golding, they got vital experience of playing in a competitive environment, helping their development whilst also playing a part in Featherstone achieving their place in the Qualifers.
Head Coach Brian McDermott has confirmed that this relationship between the two teams will continue for 2017, and has shown his support for the initiative by insisting it will benefit all parties.
His Featherstone counterpart Jon Sharp agrees, as he sees his side boosted by quality players for the new campaign with Jack Ormondroyd and Cory Aston.
It isn’t just a short term impact for Featherstone either, as Leeds will be hosting training events throughout the season for Rovers’ youngsters, allowing them to improve their skills and fitness.
With that in mind, it looks like this partnership will continue to thrive for both clubs in the short and long term.
For Leeds, dual-registration allows them to give playing time to their talented youngsters while for Featherstone, they see positive results on the pitch.