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Knights laud city’s come together talks
YORK City Knights general manager Ian Wilson has hailed a bridge-building meeting with North Yorkshire’s community clubs as “a huge success”.
He is also confident the sit-down talks, which stemmed from a recent Twitter row documented by The Press, will act as a springboard to closer relationships.
Links could also be enhanced by a new dual-registration system which was mooted 12 months ago and which might come into force next year that allows players contracted to semi-professional clubs but not in the first-team frame to play for National Conference League outfits.
Five amateur clubs – York Acorn, Heworth , Selby Warriors, Northallerton Broncos and York Lokomotives – attended the meeting, at which player pathway from amateur to the semi-pro arena, was high up the agenda.
New Earswick All Blacks and Wetherby Bulldogs were unable to attend.
The meeting was prompted by a Twitter row, as reported in The Press, which stemmed from criticism of the Knights by former captain and current Acorn coach Scott Rhodes, and outspoken Widnes-based ex-Great Britain star Bobbie Goulding.
Wilson said the Knights were planning to meet the clubs anyway but admitted the get-together was stimulated by The Press’s coverage of the spat.
Acorn were represented by junior coach Alan Havercroft, although Rhodes – who had accused the Knights of “using and abusing” local amateur players, partly by chucking them into reserve fixtures with little preparation – was not in attendance.
Wilson said a range of topics, including player pathways and development, and “other ways the Knights can help to support community clubs” were discussed.
He also said he was “delighted some of the recent criticisms aimed at the club, that were made known on Twitter and in The Press, were refuted by all present”, and that “clarification on certain issues were given and accepted”.
As for the new dual-reg system, The Press revealed last year that a similar arrangement to that currently in place between Super League clubs and Championship clubs was in the pipeline to link the next tier down in the rugby league pyramid.
Wilson said he hoped the proposed “community dual registration” would be formally adopted by the game’s chiefs next month, saying it would be a “huge step forward for the sport”, which would help to create better working relationships between professional and community clubs.
Wilson added: “The Knights will now continue to work with the community clubs, and the North Yorkshire Service Area, to provide opportunities for players and coaches to develop and support club initiatives.”
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