Rowley wants new quota rules following Jacks’ Toronto exit

This article originated in League Express.

Paul Rowley has slammed the current quota rulings and believes it is time for change.

The Toronto Wolfpack head coach has been left frustrated after the club was forced to release halfback Rhys Jacks, Canada’s national captain.

Despite playing for the country of his club, the RFL regulation class Jacks as a quota player, a valued spot in a club’s roster.

Clubs are permitted five overseas players and a maximum of seven non-Federation trained players, who are players not developed via English Academies.

As a result, Toronto have now reluctantly parted ways with the halfback, but it has prompted Rowley to hit out at the current regime.

“It’s a restriction of trade,” he said.

“I think it’s as big a deal as the Bosman rule. It’s stopping people, wherever they were born, who are skilled enough to earn paid employment from plying their trade. That’s the bottom and short of it.

Toronto parted ways with Jacks because he counted as one of their quota players, despite playing for Canada.

“For me, I’d have no quota system. Imagine if it was like this in other professions like GPs and doctors, there would be an uproar because it would be seen as discrimination.”

The cap on quota players has been enforced for many reasons, including a duty of care to this country’s developing players, with fewer overseas imports likely to aid their progression to senior level.

“But I believe our youth system has been fundamentally wrong for the last ten years and therefore the youth system doesn’t support the restrictive measures at quota level,” added Rowley.

“As a youngster, you can be in whatever system is presented to you, but the biggest lessons come when playing alongside quality individuals. Remove the barriers and allow the individuals in.

“There are a lot of good players across the world that are being restricted from playing over here. In Super League we want the best players over here that we can get, so don’t put loads of barriers up.”

Rowley also cited the contrast between eligibility at international and club level.

“It’s one rule for international and one for clubs,” he said.

“They’re saying they’re Canadian enough to play for Canada or English enough for England, and you could go through every country, but they’re not Canadian enough to play for Toronto.

“I think the most bizarre thing about this is a case like Gareth Widdop. He was born in England but if a club was to sign him he’d be non-Fed because he started in Australia.

“If you want to show how bizarre the rule is, that sums it up.”