Investing in player development is the key, however the RFL's Performance department are way off key with recent proposals to categorise academies and scholarships.
Why they just cannot take a simple approach as outlined below is beyond me?
SL Club Scholarships
Consisting of squads of 30 players from U15's and U16's (20 x U16's & 10 x U15's)
These players are taken out of the Community game altogether and train, play and develop within a pro environment for a full season or two.
Training twice a week at their Scholarship club without any other rugby league distractions, being fully supported by the staff, systems and facilities the pro clubs have and also competing in a standalone competition run by the RFL with the sole aim of developing these young atheles that have been identified as being of the required standard to be part of the talent pathway at that particular stage.
Everybody would know where they stand, ie Pro clubs, Community Clubs, Players, Coaches, RFL etc etc and it would eleviate the chaos and disruption we currently have within the Community game at these age groups.
SL Academies - U18's & U21's
Again squads of 30 as a maximum and these players are taken out of the Community game altogether, training at their Pro club without any other rugby league distractions, being fully supported by the staff, systems and facilities the pro clubs have and also competing in a standalone competition run by the RFL with the sole aim of developing these young atheles that have been identified as being of the required standard to be part of the talent pathway at that particular stage.
Once the U21's have reached the age of 20/21 and can no longer play at that level they are either given a SL Contract or released.
At the end of each season a list of all U21's that are to be released from SL Academies are circulated by the RFL to all Championship Clubs who can then approach these players to sign them in the first instance for Championship U23's or Championship 1st grade competition.
** No Dual Reg system at Scholarship and Academy Level **
The only reason we have Dual registration is because the Pro clubs will not nail their colours to the mast with every player they bring in to the talent pathway under first grade and that in my opinion is a massive failing. They snap up certain players and then effectively fill any remaining shirts at the lowest financial cost with players who can do a job, rather than players they see as future SL players who they are prepared to invest the time, money and resources in.
If you identify players who you want within any talent pathway then they ALL need to be genuinely considered as having the potential of being future professional players who are given the courtesy of being developed for a full season within a pro environment, not a dual registration peice of meat that plays in an Amateur competition one week and pro competition the next because the pro clubs just need numbers to fill shirts at that level.
** The players have committed to the game and the pro clubs, so the pro clubs and RFL should commit to the players throughout an agreed contractual term **
Maximum squads of 30 players - NO DUAL REG!!!!!
Championship clubs to run U23's competition only, no scholarships or academies!!!!
This would free up financial resources and allow players who at 20/21 that are still not quite up to SL level an opportunity to continue with their development within a professional environment and competition. If after a further two years of development within a this environment no Pro contract was forthcoming then these players can return to the Community game.
We know certain players take longer to develop than others, investing in this model and keeping players within the talent pathway under this system will see a higher number of players developed within a pro environment for longer, as a result it is likely to produce a higher calibre of home grown player for the professional competition.
So folks that is the best investment the Pro clubs and RFL could make, but you try telling them to spend their cash, commit to it long term and be patient if they want to develop the sport at the top end.
I'll gaurantee you this.........we will have some basketball ace in the RFL Performance department will tell you that it just won't work!!!
Edited by LordCharles, 10 July 2014 - 08:35 AM.