With the introduction of a reserve grade this year, does it dual-registration still have a purpose? Or does it dilute an already small player pool?
The whole point of dual-registration is that is serves a dual purpose to both clubs. One club can send their players to improve fitness or match sharpness in a semi-professional environment. Whilst the other club can have access to an extra pool of players.
But with the introduction of a new reserve grade, has that purpose now gone away?
Whilst it is true that the semi-professional environment can greatly improve a players performance, and give them a more rounded rugby league education.
But at reserve level, there are experienced players playing in that level as well. As long as they haven’t played in the first team, they can play reserve rugby.
Widnes Vikings Head Coach Tim Sheens explained some of the downfalls of players coming on dual-registration.
He was speaking after their 38-12 defeat against London Broncos, where Warrington Wolves pair Dec Patton and Leilani Latu turned out for the Vikings.
He said: “It’s diffcult coming in on one training session. I look back and think I should have started Joe Lyons at seven and brought Patton on later, rather than the other way around.
“That’s certainly not a slight at those two, but its down to not having enough time with us. They literally only had one session with us.
“But I’m happy with the arrangement. The big thing is bringing people in who understand our game.”
Sometimes, you have examples of players playing with no training sessions either. And its a big thing, learning new teammates and learning new drills on the pitch.
For that reason, I do not think it has a purpose now. Even in dual-registration now, there is a growing practice of Super League clubs getting Championship players to play for their reserve teams, usually because they do not have enough players.
It needs to be either one or the other. There either needs to just be dual-registration or just a reserve grade. Whether we want to admit it or not, we don’t have a big player pool, and I fear we would be stretching it too thin if we continue with both.