Super League have this morning confirmed the return of reserve grade rugby league from the start of next season.
An idea which has long been called for, all eleven English Super League clubs have approved a proposal for all Super League clubs, as well as Category 1 funded academies outside the top flight (Widnes Vikings and Bradford Bulls) to have a mandated reserve team.
It has also been confirmed that five other teams outside of Super League have applied to be included in the new reserve grade competition with the decisions regarding those set to be made by the end of the month. While reserve grade is to return, the dual-registration system will still be available and loan deals will also continue to be permitted.
Another change which comes alongside the re-introduction of reserve grade is that the regulations surrounding the academy competition which will change from it’s current under 19s system to an under 18 setup.
Super League CEO Robert Elstone said that “Super League is about superstars – players that get us on the edge of our seats, players that make our jaws drop, players that inspire us,” adding his belief that, in order to develop the stars of tomorrow, development pathways like the reserve competition are of paramount importance. “It is essential that we offer appropriate challenges to our young players on their journeys into Super League,” he added. “A well-managed, resourced and competitive reserve grade will provide that.”