You should be able to run a reserve team, all pro/semi pro clubs should. They should be in their own league setup, not being farmed out to amateur clubs though.
But the "reserves" will be made up of the better local amateur players who are either just "reserve fodder" or players wanting to impress the pro side. Either way, local clubs will have their bast players taken to play in a relatively meaningless reserve championship and these players might get a shiny pro track suit.
The Ireland v NZ game wasn't the best technical spectacle but was a great sporting event because of the way Ireland beat the odds and the fun they're going to have asking their male counterparts how they felt when they beat New Zealand. "Oh, that's right, you've never done that have you?"
The under 16 league in the Midlands, when it was working, was effectively run using teams coached by the community coaches (who have now all gone) and was populated in the main by Rugby Union players keeping fit. Some of these players were very good and the odd one of them converted to league and made their way into the performance programme.
Any club that tried to develop league-only players from their schools development would get battered by county standard RU players and a lot of those players never came back. Any attempts to make the coaches do their jobs and recruit new players by extending the season and competing with RU failed as it was far easier to wait and grab some good RU players. Now we are reaping what was sowed back then.
The money from Sport England was, because of the rules of SE, not spent on the right things or over a long enough period. With the same money over 6 years rather than 3, the right people in the Midlands could have set something in place that had a fighting chance of long term success. Now it's gone back roughly to where it was in 2006 when we set up the first junior Merit League.
From day one of starting an amateur club, and one that is unlikely to ever be considered "elite", we have had trouble with the performance pathway.
The concept of a path to a pro career is great, but the pro game and the RFL do not seem to understand how the various systems and the attitude of people within the pro clubs has adversely affected the development of the sport at the grass roots. Somehow because we don't get paid to run rugby league, it seems that we aren't worthy of an opinion. That, despite the fact that some of us know a lot about sports development, running businesses, teaching kids etc. and (not in my case I admit) many years of involvement with the game.
Of all the issues within the game this is the one that has caused me the most grief and ultimately contributed to my lack of willingness to put as much time and effort into the sport as I had over the previous 10 years.
All the points made by Marauder, TaxiEgg and Defender1 are valid.
As a ref you are encouraged to keep well away from brawls because
1. You could get hit 2. You have a better view of any blindside hits.
Not like the good old days when refs would get in the middle of it, and maybe throw a couple themselves.
However, you have to use whatever means you can to stop it. Voice, body language etc. And certainly when it's stopped you have to separate the sides by a good distance before discussing and acting.
Not sure about this case, but a lot of refs now get fast tracked through academies and scholarships where the discipline is usually very good. Doing your time in the Pennine League and National Conference seems to be a thing of the past.