SHAUN Wane has accused the RFL of effectively closing the door on clubs recruiting potential overseas stars.
And he admits he won’t be taking a risk on signing any more ‘project players’ from Down Under, such as Kiwi Anthony Gelling, unless there is a change to the rules.
The RFL’s decision to block any open age players from playing for the rebranded Under-19s has left Gelling out in the cold.
And asked was the measure deterring clubs from taking chances on young overseas players, he said: “It will, definitely.
“If it happened now, I couldn’t risk (signing a young player from overseas). The changes were made midway through Anthony’s contract, but it has affected us, there’s no doubt about it. It doesn’t make sense to me – I think it’s unfair.”
Wane made it clear that he has no regrets about bringing Gelling on board 18 months ago.
The 22-year-old was working full-time in construction when Wane plucked him out of obscurity and threw him a career lifeline. He continues to show flashes of his promise, and Wane reckons he could go on to establish himself as a first-team regular.
However, a change to the reserve competition this year has barred Gelling from playing for the U19s competition – the previous U20s allowed three open-age players.
And with overseas players unable to go on loan to lower-league clubs, Gelling is only able to play for Wigan’s first-team.
With the utility needing to maintain his match-fitness, Wane admits red-tape will ultimately influence his team selection.
“The only way he can play is in our first team, which is against what we are about here,” said Wane.
“I want players to earn it and deserve to be picked.
“It will happen when I have to put him in, for his match-fitness. I might have to rest a young kid who is doing really well, which is wrong.”
Gelling returned from injury to score two tries against Wakefield, but was squeezed out of the frame for Sunday’s 36-6 victory over Bradford.
Wane added: “He needs to concentrate and once I see him concentrating there’s a chance he can come back in.
“I’m glad we took him on, he’s only young and he see loads of improvement in him.”