LEE RADFORD would like to see lower league clubs be afforded more relaxed quota rulings.
The Hull FC head coach believes there are countless players on the other side of the world that could make the grade in Super League, but aren’t given the opportunity because of the risk of signing an unknown quantity.
The emergence of Papua New Guinea, who featured several Queensland Cup players in their side as they beat Great Britain, highlighted the talent pool away from top-grade rugby.
Radford believes clubs in the Championship and League 1 should be given as much help as possible to tap into that market.
As it stands, clubs outside Super League can still only have five full overseas player spots, but there are no limitations on non-federation trained players.
Radford would like to see that be used more prominently.
“The quota is obviously a big factor in not giving players an opportunity,” he said.
“Some are reluctant to go to PNG because they aren’t tried an tested, and with that they don’t get a chance because there’s a big question mark.
“But there’s a huge talent pool in the Queensland Cup. Fonua, Rankin and Tuimavave, for example, were all playing at that level at one time.
“But now it’s more difficult than ever because of all the criteria you have to meet. We had signed Chris Satae for 2020 but had we gone over a certain date before bringing him over he wouldn’t have hit the number of games required and we wouldn’t have been able to get him.
“But I think if we can maybe open the quota up a bit more at the lower level, it will encourage those clubs to bring some players in and everyone benefits.”
Radford admitted that there still had to be a level of accountability in the development of homegrown players.
“It’s a fine line between producing your own and bringing them over,” he said.
“But if you’re focused on pushing through your own, they have to be good enough to take over the bloke in front of them.
“There’s an argument to say that if you bring more overseas players over it helps your own blokes too, because they train with better players and play better opposition too. That’s just part and parcel of it. There are arguments both ways, but the balance could be better.”
© League Express (Mon 2nd Dec 2019)