Loan rules changed as clubs complete transfer business before deadline

The transfer deadline has now passed, but a change to RFL rules will have a big impact on the loan market in the closing weeks of the season.

Friday was the final date for transfers and loans between clubs in Super League, the Championship and League One.

Usually, a player becomes ‘club tied’ with the side they play for after this date and then cannot feature for any other club for the remainder of the season.

However, the RFL board agreed last week to amend this rule, given the number of clubs across the divisions struggling to put squads together through injuries, suspensions and unavailability. 

It means that clubs can still recall players who are currently out on loan and field them again in their own teams.

However, if they are to include those players in the end-of-season play-offs, they must be recalled before the final round of the regular campaign, which applies to all three divisions.

In addition, any recall of a player would have to be permanent and they cannot subsequently go back out on loan.

As a result of this, clubs can send or keep players out on loan now, knowing that they can still recall them later if required.

These new rules apply to the raft of loan signings made last week as clubs scrambled to finish off their squads for the deciding period of the season.

Two intra-Super League deals were completed as Wakefield Trinity signed Hull FC’s Jamie Shaul, while Sam Royle’s move from St Helens to Hull KR was extended.

Castleford allowed Cain Robb and Jason Qareqare to join Championship side Whitehaven, while Jacob Gannon left Warrington Wolves for Bradford Bulls.

Hull KR trio Bailey Dawson, Tom Wilkinson (both Midlands Hurricanes) and Max Kirkbright (Swinton Lions) left for League One spells, as did Wigan Warriors’ Logan Astley, Jack Bibby, Alex Sutton and Toby Brennan plus Leeds Rhinos’ Oli Field and Salford Red Devils’ Johnny Openshaw, all six of whom are at Oldham.

Ata Hingano’s move from Leigh Centurions to York City Knights for the rest of the year could be most significant at the top end of the Championship.

Elsewhere in the lower leagues, Widnes Vikings’ Brad Holroyd has joined Swinton, Pat Moran of Newcastle has linked up with Rochdale Hornets, and Keighley Cougars’ Anthony Dyne is now at West Wales Raiders.

Some clubs also managed to get last-minute permanent signings done, the headline moves of deadline week in Super League seeing fullback Matt Dufty join Warrington from Canterbury Bulldogs and halfback Will Smith arrive at Hull FC from Gold Coast Titans.

Warrington also offloaded Mike Cooper to Wigan Warriors, a move that was already set to happen at the end of the year.

Leigh Centurions and Featherstone Rovers made additions as they continue to tussle at the top of the Championship, signing Sydney Roosters’ Lachlan Lam and Bradford Bulls’ Dan Fleming respectively.

Dewsbury Rams brought in Connor Davies from Workington Town as they attempt to avoid the drop into League One, while Doncaster hope the signing of Jose Kenga from Swinton will help them go the other way.

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