CURRENT RULES on eligibility for the Super-8s stage of the season will damage player development, Hunslet Hawks coach Barry Eaton fears.
Players now become ‘club tied’ when they feature in the Super-8s, Qualifiers or Championship, meaning they cannot turn out for any other team during the current season.
Five Leeds Rhinos players – Rob Mulhern, Robbie Ward, Josh Walters, Jimmy Keinhorst and Jordan Lilley – have played at least three games on dual-registration for Hawks this year and therefore are eligible to play in the Championship Shield. But if they turn out for Hawks, Rhinos will be unable to recall them during any future injury crisis this term and Eaton reckons that is bad news for the clubs and players involved.
“It’s silly,” he said. “They [the RFL] haven’t thought about player development – it could mean players don’t play for eight, nine or 10 months.
“I understand they want to prevent anything untoward going on, but I think maybe a bit more thought about player development is needed.”
Eaton is hopeful half-back Lilley and prop Mulhern will be available to him from the start of Hawks’ Shield campaign, which begins at Dewsbury Rams on Sunday.
And he said Walters and Ward could feature at the “back end” of the season, if they are not required by Leeds first.
Walters is in Rhinos’ squad for tonight’s visit of Warrington Wolves in the Super-8s.