HUDDERSFIELD Giants and Batley Bulldogs have joined forces.

The Kirklees clubs have today announced a new partnership that both believe should become a blueprint for all fully professional and semi-professional clubs.

Top of the agenda is a player-exchange deal, where younger members of the Giants squad will spend time playing for Batley in the Co-operative Championship – the tier below Super League.

Player exchanges between clubs are being introduced because of the decision to replace the Super League Reserve grade with an Under 19s competition.

But on top of that, the two clubs are pioneering a ground-breaking player welfare scheme which will enable Bulldogs players to receive medical support from their Super League rivals.

“We were a prime mover behind the change away from reserve grade to a partnership scheme and Batley were the obvious choice for us to start talking to,” said Giants managing director Richard Thewlis.

“We had firm ideas of what we wanted, and in long conversations with Batley we became aware of a clear gap in their offerings to their players and worked out a great way we could help.

“With finances throughout the game so tight we discovered the overall level of medical provision for part-time players was not as high as we envisaged.

“So we have devised a way whereby Batley players can receive immediate Super League-level medical treatment should they be injured.

“We will insure their players privately and give them full access to our medical department and as the season develops and our partnership grows, we have a number of ideas that both clubs can benefit from in time.”