Huddersfield Giants and Batley Bulldogs launch partnership
Huddersfield Giants and Batley Bulldogs are delighted to announce a partnership that both parties believe should become a blueprint model for all fully professional and semi-professional clubs to implement.
As well as the standard player exchange model which has been publicised by a number of clubs in light of the decision to scrap the Super League Reserve grade and have only an enhanced under nineteen competition, the two clubs have agreed a ground breaking player welfare scheme that the Bulldogs believe will be the envy of the Championship.
Giants Managing Director Richard Thewlis gave www.giantsrl.com the following details.
“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. We had firm ideas of what we wanted and in long conversations with Batley became aware of a clear gap in their offerings to their players and worked out a great way we could help. Whilst finances throughout the game are very tight we have welfare high up on the agenda so were surprised to find that overall the level of medical provision for part time players was not where we envisaged.
“John Kear and the Batley club are keen for that to change so we have devised a way whereby in essence 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 here at the John Smith’s Stadium. We have taken on an extra full time physiotherapist to cope with the increased numbers and extended our insurances to provide for all Batley players.
“Furthermore as the season develops and our partnership grows we have a number of ideas that both clubs can benefit from but these will come in time. For now we have to demonstrate tangible investment into our partner club and the above does just that more than any visit or sharing of best practice can do. We fully understand the reality of operating in the Championship and will support Batley in all areas of their business but we have no wish to impose anything at all on them and in all areas the choice is theirs.
“Naturally the main driver for us is to have a team for our fringe players or players returning from injury to play but again I would stress that we have no rights to our players being selected – every football decision at Batley remains 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.”
John Kear too was full of praise for the new scheme but like Thewlis added a note of caution to its implementation.
“Firstly it was nice to be asked by Huddersfield what we wanted if we were to go down the partnership road,” he added.
“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. People may not realise but for many lads injury in the Championship means not only do they lose their rugby money for a time they can also be off work and lose the ability to support their families.
“We know the game is tough and I understand the economic realities but I have long championed better protection for players and now with this scheme I know that my Batley players have access to top medical provision at all times. I believe this is something that the game as a whole should look at and it’s nice that we will lead on this key area.
“In terms of the Huddersfield players of course they can strengthen my team but also they have to buy into our culture at the Mount so it really will be a new challenge for me. I will have my core of 23 players and be able to add in some real top liners looking at the Giants squad and it’s a challenge that excites me. As Richard says I have total control who I pick for my 17 and straight away unlike last year the added bonus of the Giants could give me some rotation opportunities to avoid the fatigue that some of my players showed at the back end last year.
“Like all clubs I await the final rules and regulations as to how many dual registration players we can play at one time and an important point to me has to be that players have to play a minimum number of games throughout the year to be available for finals and play offs etc. Overall for Batley the positives here will I am sure outweigh the negatives. It’s all new to many clubs and it will be interesting to see which of us in the Championship at the years ends feels to have benefited the most from a Super League partnership."
The 2013 Season Ticket Early Bird Discount Deadline is fast approaching. Purchase your Season Ticket by Friday 30th November at 5pm to take advantage of some fantastic deals to watch the Giants in 2013.
For full details of the packages available including FREE Season Tickets for Under 12’s and Adult Tickets starting at just £99 please click here To download the 2013 Huddersfield Giants Season Ticket Guide please click here The John Smith’s Stadium Ticket Office is open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 9am-12 midday. The Ticket Hotline is 01484 484123 and supporters can buy online by clicking here.