Radford labels “diluted” reserves league a potential “disaster”

Hull FC head coach Lee Radford has confirmed the club is looking at a dual-registration option for the upcoming season despite the return of the reserves league.

Radford has been a strong advocate of reserve grade and praised the decision to make it a mandatory field for all English-based Super League clubs in 2020.

However, the Black and Whites boss believes the newly-formed Reserves Championship could run into problems quickly after hearing about some of the proposed rules.

“There’s going to be restrictions on players, amateur players in particular, which I think will be a disaster,” said Radford.

“A lot of teams are going to have to pick a lot of amateur players up, and for those amateur players it’s almost like a second chance to crack it.

“But if you’re only allowed two, then it’s going to be incredibly difficult for some teams to field reserve teams. Then if that’s the case, the reserve league is diluted and it sort of defeats the object.”

The Airlie Birds were one of only two Super League clubs to have a reserve team last season, with no restrictions on amateur players allowing them to field a second-string side.

Having strongly campaigned for a mandatory top-flight reserve league for a number of years, Radford now believes the concept could be flawed.

“Is the reserve competition going to help? I genuinely, now I’m hearing some things what’s coming out of it, I don’t know, which is a shame.

Radford says player restrictions could destroy the Reserves Championship. Credit: Mark Cosgrove/News Images

“I think it’s set in stone, I think it’s the CEO’s that’s decided it. They asked for my consultation and I got every wrong answer come back so, they listened astutely.”

Hull ended their dual-registration link with Doncaster in October, a partnership that worked well for both clubs throughout last season.

As Radford awaits full confirmation of the reserves league rules, he has hinted at another dual-reg agreement with a lower league club for 2020.

“I said we weren’t going to at first, but now, because of this, there’s a chance we might.

“It’s undecided. We’ve got to sit down with the CEO and the owner, and decide how we go about it.”

Hull’s first match of the 2020 Reserves Championship is at home to Bradford Bulls on Saturday, 1 February and is their first of 18 scheduled fixtures.

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