17th July 2019, 10:14
BULLS TO RUN RESERVE GRADE IN REVAMPED COMPETITION IN 2020
BRADFORD Bulls can this morning confirm the club will be running a reserve side in the revamped Reserve Grade competition next year.
The 11 English Betfred Super League clubs have approved a proposal for all Super League clubs, and clubs with Category 1 funded Academies outside Super League to have a mandated reserve team.
The launch of Reserve Grade will be accompanied by a change in the regulations which sees the current Under-19s structure replaced by an Under-18s competition – while dual-registration and loan moves will remain unaffected.
The Reserve Grade competition in 2020 will be administered by the RFL – with the fixture schedule to be finalised during the winter but is expected to run on a home and away basis, with no play-offs system at its conclusion.
Head coach John Kear has previously spoken of the how implementing a Reserve grade this year has benefitted his side – and believes it will have a positive impact on rugby league as a whole.
“The Reserves have been beneficial for us as it has allowed us to have people who put their hand up and force their way in,” said Kear, who is sponsored by Lowie Recruitment Int’l.
“Jon Magrin has forced his way back into the side, it benefitted Liam Kirk last year so it is well worth doing.
“I am looking forward to next year when you have to fulfil your fixtures – it will be beneficial for Rugby League in general and the Bradford Bulls.”
Dave Rotheram, the RFL’s Interim Chief On-Field Officer, said: “We have listened to the views of stakeholders – clubs, coaches and players – before making this proposal.
“The majority view is that the game would benefit from the reintroduction of a Reserve Grade competition, primarily as a next step in the development of players between Academy and senior rugby, but also to provide regular rugby for players on the fringe of selection, returning from injury, and a platform for later developers.
“It was important in making what is a significant change that we also took into account the impact on the other professional competitions – Betfred Championship and League One – and also the community game.”