Championship focus – dual registration

It’s the time of year that certain Championship coaches approach with caution.

Two of them have admitted to this writer in recent weeks to uncertainty about the dual registration rules and their complications, after the controversy of 2014 when Batley and Doncaster were initially docked three points and then had them reinstated.

A leading agent also called to check on the intricacies of the loan rules post transfer deadline, with all three directed to the operations department of the RFL, which holds ultimate responsibility.

It isn’t straight forward, but here we will attempt to present them in as simple terms as possible, with these details having been checked by the RFL’s operations team.

After the weekend just gone, players must have featured in a minimum of three games for the partnership club in the Championship or League One to play for them again this year.

At that point, they must decide whether to commit to their parent club or the one they have gone out to during the year – once they have featured for either after this weekend they must remain with them for the rest of 2016.

Players cleared by the RFL to continue to switch between clubs:

Ed Chamberlain (Widnes/Whitehaven)
Gabriel Fell (Wigan/Swinton)
Iafeta Paleaasina (Hull FC/Doncaster)
Jordan Baldwinson (Leeds/Featherstone) – now on loan at Rovers
Kameron Pearce-Paul (London Broncos/Hemel)
Liam Johnson (Huddersfield/Oldham)
Liam Marshall (Wigan/Swinton)
Matthew Haggerty (Salford/North Wales)
Matthew Wilkinson (Salford/North Wales)
Mikey Wood (Huddersfield/Newcastle)
Ted Chapelhow (Widnes/Whitehaven)
Tyler Dickinson (Huddersfield/Oldham)
Tuoyo Egodo (London Broncos/Hemel)
Toby Everett (London Broncos/London Skolars)
Will Maher (Castleford/Oxford)

The exception is when the player has played eight times or more for the partner club, in which case they can continue to switch freely between the clubs as before. A list of those players – provided by the RFL – is shown below.

There are further levels to the rules this season.

If the Super League club runs a reserve team, then players can continue to switch between that and the Championship/League One club. They just cannot play first-team rugby for both.

The difference in season timings also plays a part.

The rules have been set in order to provide clarity after the mid-season splits.

But because there is only one deadline for dual-registration (the end of the weekend just passed), and League One started their second part of the campaign before that, Rochdale were able to field Warrington’s Kevin Penny against Barrow on Sunday despite him not having played for them before.

He will not, however, be able to play for them on dual registration again now, because he has not played the requisite three games.

Still confused? So are some of the people that are involved.

The sport certainly doesn’t need more controversy about the eligibility of players, after Keighley suffered two years ago, being relegated from the Championship amid Batley and Doncaster’s deduction and subsequent appeal.

The clubs themselves have a duty to be as diligent as possible, and hopefully there will be no repeat this year.