Plans drawn up to revive reserves competition

The academy may switch to Under-18s and a mandatory reserves competition will be revived under plans presented to clubs last week.

Monday, 1st April 2019, 12:37 pm
Updated Monday, 1st April 2019, 12:53 pm
Dom Manfredi benefited from playing a reserve game last year
Dom Manfredi benefited from playing a reserve game last year

League Express today reported the Rugby Football League has proposed 11 clubs with academies rated as category one - including Wigan - field reserve sides as early as next year.

As part of the plans, which are still at an early stage, the academy may switch back from being U19s to U18s.

Warriors reluctantly withdrew a second-string side this year because so many other top-flight clubs had decided not to participate.

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But executive director Kris Radlinski said it was "crazy" reserves is not mandatory.

Until a few years ago, clubs operated a three-tier system with the first-team supported by an Under-21s (or reserves) and a U18s.

This was scrapped in favour of a single academy team, U19s - with no provision for older players - in a move many regarded to be a cost-cutting exercise.

Some clubs, including Wigan, arranged their own reserve matches on a friendly basis and Dom Manfredi benefited from playing half a game at that level ahead of his comeback last season.

Players too old for the U19s have to gain experience playing on loan or dual-registration for lower league clubs.

The other clubs with category one academies are St Helens, Warrington, Widnes, Castleford, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Bradford, Leeds, Catalans and the City of Hull Academy.

Wakefield and Hull FC are the only Super League clubs running reserves in England. Catalans run their own reserve team which play in the French League.