HULL FC head coach Lee Radford believes the new Reserves Championship will be a “disaster” due to restrictions on which players can be used.
Hull and Wakefield Trinity were the only Super League clubs to run a second string team last season but all English-based top-flight clubs must do so in 2020.
Radford has been a long-term fan of the reserve grade system so was duly delighted when the decision was made to make it mandatory once more.
However, with the fixtures announced yesterday, he expressed his dismay at how the competition is set to run.
“We’ve got a reserve comp’ but from what I’m hearing there’s going to be restrictions on players – amateur players in particular – which I think will be a disaster,” said Radford.
“That’s because a lot of teams are going to have to pick a lot of amateur players up – and for amateur players it’s almost like a second chance for them to crack it (professionally).
We’ve got a reserve comp’ but from what I’m hearing there’s going to be restrictions on players – amateur players in particular – which I think will be a disasterLee Radford
“But if you are only allowed two then it’s going to be incredibly difficult for some clubs to field reserve teams.
“And then, if that’s the case, the reserve team competition is diluted and it doesn’t make it as strong as it should be; it sort of defeats the object a little bit.
“Is the reserves competition going to help? Now I’m hearing some of these things that are coming out of it, I don’t know. Which is a shame.”
Asked whether, given other coaches may feel the same, things could be altered before kick-off in the new year, Radford replied: “I think it’s set in stone.
“I think it was the CEOs who decided it.
“They asked for my consultation – and they got every wrong answer coming back so they listened astutely!”
Hull host Bradford Bulls in their first fixture of the Reserves Championship on Saturday February 1.
London Broncos, Newcastle Thunder and Widnes Vikings are the other non-Super League sides in the 14-club competition.
Each of the reserve teams will play 18 matches, with the last round of fixtures on the weekend of August 30 – and no play-offs, meaning the team finishing top will be crowned champions.
Leeds Rhinos will play at Castleford Tigers in the first round on Thursday, January 30.
Twenty-four hours later, Hull KR will host Wakefield Trinity, which will act as the curtain-raiser to the same Super League clash, before the remaining first round Reserves fixtures take place the following day.
Radford, though, is pleased with how Super League will look in 2020 with Toronto Wolfpack - and Sonny Bill Williams - arriving as well as a raft of quality NRL recruits dotted around the competition.
Hull alone have added Mahe Fonua, Manu Ma’u and Ligi Sao from Down Under but Gareth Widdop (Warrington Wolves), George Burgess (Wigan Warriors), James Maloney (Catalans Dragons), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Hull KR) and Aidan Sezer (Huddersfield Giants) have also made the move.
“I think the competition looks healthy with the recruitment that’s been done, some of the blokes that have come in and the team that has come up as well,” he said.
“I think they (Toronto) are going to be as strong as most teams in the competition.
“It all bodes well for a really good Super League 2020 and one we’re going to prepare for as hard as we can.”
Meanwhile, Cameron King - the Australian hooker who made such an impact for Featherstone Rovers this season - has gone the other way after securing a contract with Cronulla Sharks.