HUDDERSFIELD Giants will not interfere with Batley coach John Kear’s selection plans.
That’s the message from the John Smith’s Stadium on the day the two clubs officially entered into a partnership scheme.
As part of the deal, younger members of the Giants’ squad will gain valuable experience by playing for the Bulldogs in the Co-operative Championship – the tier below Super League.
The partnership system has been introduced in the wake of the decision to replace the Super League Reserve grade with an Under 19s competition.
The Giants will also offer medical support to Batley’s players as part of the agreement, which the Bulldogs admit is a massive boost.
But even though the player-exchange scheme is vitally important to Huddersfield, club officials have made it clear they won’t be dictating which of their players get the nod.
“Naturally, the main driver for us is to have a team for our fringe players or players returning from injury to play,” explained Giants managing director Richard Thewlis.
“But I would stress we have no rights to our players being selected – every football decision at Batley will remain 100% with John Kear.
“Our players who are not in that week’s main squad will train alongside the Batley lads and it’s up to them to earn the shirt there and then perform.
“I have no doubt that such a key change for us will bring its challenges, but frankly rugby league is all about challenges and meeting and overcoming them.
“The pleasing thing is that we have a willing partner who will benefit enormously from what we bring to the table and I look forward to being able to report many positives as the season unfolds.”
Batley boss former Giants coach Kear was also full of praise for the new scheme, and can’t wait to put all the wheels in motion.
“Firstly it was nice to be asked by Huddersfield what we wanted if we were to go down the partnership road,” said Kear.
“Too many times in our game I feel the semi professional clubs are excluded from decision-making and the beauty of this partnership is that it is exactly that – a partnership.
“It allows us to maintain our identity and be masters of our destiny and the big winners are our players.”