Championship clubs look to restrict dual-registration system to fringe Super League players

Joe Arundel, one of the Knights’ dual-reg stars in recent weeks

Joe Arundel, one of the Knights’ dual-reg stars in recent weeks

First published in Sport York Press: Photograph of the Author by

YORK City Knights general manager Ian Wilson says the dual-registration system should be restricted to up-and-coming Super League players.

Arguments have raged about the new ruling, which allows five players from a Super League club to turn out for their partnership Championship club in any one match.

It has enabled proven Super League stars such as Paul Wood, Richard Moore and Ade Gardner to get run-outs in domestic rugby league’s second tier as they work their way back to fitness and form.

However, four Championship clubs who have not entered into a partnership – Halifax, Featherstone, Sheffield, whom York play tomorrow night, and Leigh – want restrictions in place so only young, fringe Super League players can be used.

They also demand that only four dual-reg players can turn out in play-off ties and only then if they have played in at least half the Championship club’s regular season games. They say the “integrity” of the Championships is otherwise undermined.

Speaking in his matchday programme notes, Wilson said: “The dual-registration debate is providing journalists with plenty of column inches as clubs and individuals offer their opinions on the system.

“From a personal point of view I can sympathise with those clubs who cannot dual-register players due to the fact they are not in a formal partnership with a Super League club, and would support this rule being changed.

“However, the main issue in my opinion is around which players from Super League clubs are allowed to play in the Championships.”

The Knights partnered with Hull at the start of this campaign and so far have fielded seven players – Danny Nicklas, Jamie Shaul, Dean Hadley, Josh Bowden, Tom Lineham, Jack Briscoe and Joe Arundel – under such terms.

Wilson said: “For me, the number of players allowed (five) is reasonable, and in reality is only one more than clubs were allowed previously. The only difference is that the players can all be from the same club, whereas previously clubs could only have three players from any one club.

“Again in my opinion, a rule should be introduced to prohibit players either over the age of 23 or those who have played in, say, more than 50 Super League matches from being dual-registered.

“From a Knights point of view, this is how we have been operating our partnership with Hull and I believe we are working to the underlying principles of why the new dual-registration system was introduced, which was to provide talented young British players with a suitable pathway to reach the highest level they can.”

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