Hull FC coach Lee Radford has explained why the club has scaled back their reserve grade in 2018 – but insists they would fully support any move by the RFL if they campaigned for support from clubs to make it compulsory.
The Black and Whites were one of the clubs who were first to relaunch a reserve side two years ago – but, alongside fellow Super League side Warrington, they have changed their stance for 2018.
And the Hull boss said: “If there was an actual reserve league, it was structured and the RFL made it compulsory, I would hand on heart give up one of my quota spots for that to happen.
“You only have to look at Dean Hadley in our group, someone who would have benefitted massively from that in recent years – and people like Jamie Peacock, who didn’t even make the first-team until 22. If the RFL asked if clubs were behind making it compulsory, Hull FC would support it without question.”
Radford’s side will instead use their dual-registration partners Doncaster as their principal outlet for fringe first-teamers to play regularly in 2018 – where current coach Richard Horne is part of his own coaching staff at Hull.
He said: “With Richard being at Doncaster and on our coaching staff too, the allegiance there has become the strongest it’s ever been. We’ve loaned them three or four players got the opportunity to send our non-playing players there.”
But Radford admits had the current situation been in play when he began his career, he may not have made it at all.
He said: “I was 21 when I broke through myself at Bradford and it sounds daft, but without getting run over so many times as I did by senior players in the reserves, there’s a chance I wouldn’t have progressed as much as I did. You don’t want to lose players from the game, do you?”