CLAIMS THAT transfer dealings between Leeds Rhinos and Championship sides Hunslet Hawks and Featherstone Rovers could have broken RFL rules have been denied by all three clubs.
Hunslet and Featherstone have both signed players from Rhinos on one-year deals, with the understanding the players concerned will return to Leeds at the end of that. The Yorkshire Evening Post understands rival Kingstone Press Championship outfits have contacted the RFL claiming the transfers could be a way of bypassing rules surrounding dual-registration and loan deals.
Rovers have a dual-registration partnership with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, but signed Leeds’ Mason Tonks, Thomas Minns, Jordan Baldwinson and Alex Foster on one-year contracts in the off-season.
As Rhinos’ partner club, Hawks are allowed to field up to five Leeds players on dual-registration and have also brought in James Duckworth and Luke Briscoe as season-long signings.
RFL spokesman John Ledger confirmed: “We are looking into the circumstances of the transfers.”
But Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “It is disappointing Hunslet and Featherstone have had a shadow cast over them by this so-called investigation. Apparently some other clubs have complained. Normally when there’s a complaint there’s some evidence before the RFL investigate. I’m not aware of any evidence at all – or even what breaches are supposed to have been committed. It is mysterious and disappointing.”
Hawks coach Barry Eaton stressed: “There is nothing to look into. They are Hunslet players and it is just wasting the club’s time and causing a bit of upset to the players concerned.”
And Rovers team boss Andy Hay insisted: “We have got those players on contract at Featherstone Rovers. They are Featherstone players.”