Halifax coach Richard Marshall has said the potential to dual-register players from Super League side Hull Kingston Rovers is a “no lose situation” ahead of the return of promotion and relegation in 2015.
The two clubs announced a ‘partnership’ last week that will give Marshall access to unwanted members of Chris Chester’s squad, as well as an exchange of coaching and administrative ideas.
But Marshall, who played alongside Chester in the Fax side that finished third in the top flight in 1998, made it clear that “no one else will be picking my team”.
“I think there have been positives and negatives with dual reg in the past,” said Marshall, who saw the potential downsides from the inside during his time with Warrington, whose link with Swinton is often held up as showing the system’s flaws.
“But in our situation, which is completely different to a club like Swinton, I honestly think it’s a no lose for us as long as the terms of the agreement are clear, which they are.
“We have 25 contracted players for next season; what we don’t have is the finances of some of the other teams.
“This is an informed decision for us; Hull KR were not the only club we spoke to but they are the one we felt we could work with best.
“I have met with Chris and Willie Poching and they know that if we don’t want any players, we won’t take any.
“I know people have concerns about this, but we do not have to play their players and we are not being dictated to.
“At the start of the season, I don’t think we will take anyone unless the situation changes dramatically; we have our own players and they need a chance to play and show us what they can do.
“No one else will be picking my team, that’s for sure.
“If I ever thought that was the case, the agreement would be null and void anyway.”
Marshall acknowledged the dressing room politics of bringing in temporary reinforcements from outside his contracted squad could have negative ramifications, but insisted that could be overcome.
“It can be disruptive, but I think that’s down to the way it’s managed,” said Marshall, who said he would know by “Wednesday at the latest” which Rovers players would be available for selection in any given week.
“I would hope any players who do come in will be of the kind of quality that would make our contracted players want to play with them.
“I do not want players who are in a comfort zone anyway; I want players that can adapt and are ready to be challenged.
“The reality for all of them is that if they are not doing the job that Halifax needs them to do then I will find someone else who can, whether that’s from Hull KR or somewhere else.
“In that regard, it doesn’t make much difference.”
Potentially, Fax and Rovers could both end up in next season’s “middle eight” play off series, with a contingency plan already in place between the clubs to govern player availability.
Marshall said Fax would retain access to any KR player who had qualified to feature in the play offs, but would not be able to field them against their parent club.