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User avatarMild Rover wrote:
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It is that time of the year when fans are poring over the SL ooc list, counting available non-fed spots and thinking outside the box about finding a prospect from RU.

However, it seems like the old mantra that there’s loads of talent in the Championship has drifted into disuse, and it isn’t difficult to see why. It’s roughly a decade since Chris Hill and Alex Walmsley stepped up from Leigh and Batley. There are others, mostly a little less notable, who have done so since - Chris Atkin hasn’t looked out of place when selected by Hull KR and Salford, since leaving Swinton, for example. However, it hasn’t been exactly a rich seam of talent and I wonder if people have thoughts on why… or want to challenge my premise and say that it is? It is, after all, the second highest standard this side of the equator - much better than academy level (for obvious reasons, and younger players have more potential of course) or even the reserves level when it is re-established.

Looking at some of the stronger Championship squads, it does seem to be at least as much a place players go to end their careers as a place to start. I do also wonder whether being a fringe squad player in a middling SL team and maybe having to give up a second income just doesn’t seem like a good career choice for some of the better, younger lads.
'Thus I am tormented by my curiosity and humbled by my ignorance.' from History of an Old Bramin, The New York Mirror (A Weekly Journal Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts), February 16th 1833.
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Well, Matty Ashton and James Bentley are a couple of more recent examples. It's a fair point though.

However, how realistic is it to expect regular quality SL players to emerge from the Championship when the 12 SL clubs all have squads of 30+ players, meaning basically almost the top 400 players in the country are unavailable to Championship teams? There's not much difference between the top 50 or 60 Championship players and the "bottom" 100 or so SL fringe players, and as you suggest there are some quality players who choose to remain at championship level because they have good jobs as well as playing part time.

When you add in the fact that most Championship teams can't afford/aren't allowed to run academies, you're basically relying on the odd late developer, be it an academy cast-off or a late bloomer from the amateur game. Even then, it's a big step to become a SL regular starter, let alone a Walmsley/Hill international quality player.

User avatarMild Rover wrote:
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I do wonder if more players could do with a year or two in the Championship, rather than hanging about on the fringes of SL squads when they’re 20 or 21 - but they’re worried about being forgotten about and SL clubs are worried about losing out on academy products without seeing any return on investment.

Joe Cator’s year at Leigh was better spent there than playing 8 or 10 games from the bench for Hull KR. He’s returned to SL and done well for Hull FC. I’d like to think that more young players (and SL and Championship clubs) might see that as good approach - but I there’s probably a way to go yet.
'Thus I am tormented by my curiosity and humbled by my ignorance.' from History of an Old Bramin, The New York Mirror (A Weekly Journal Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts), February 16th 1833.

Donnyman wrote:
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Mild Rover wrote:
It is that time of the year when fans are poring over the SL ooc list, counting available non-fed spots and thinking outside the box about finding a prospect from RU.

However, it seems like the old mantra that there’s loads of talent in the Championship has drifted into disuse, and it isn’t difficult to see why. It’s roughly a decade since Chris Hill and Alex Walmsley stepped up from Leigh and Batley. There are others, mostly a little less notable, who have done so since - Chris Atkin hasn’t looked out of place when selected by Hull KR and Salford, since leaving Swinton, for example. However, it hasn’t been exactly a rich seam of talent and I wonder if people have thoughts on why… or want to challenge my premise and say that it is? It is, after all, the second highest standard this side of the equator - much better than academy level (for obvious reasons, and younger players have more potential of course) or even the reserves level when it is re-established.

Looking at some of the stronger Championship squads, it does seem to be at least as much a place players go to end their careers as a place to start. I do also wonder whether being a fringe squad player in a middling SL team and maybe having to give up a second income just doesn’t seem like a good career choice for some of the better, younger lads.


Some interesting thoughts there and for me I'd now like the game to consider how to have a bigger SL without loop fixtures and without top clubs given dispensations.
The Phantom Horseman Cheeky half-back
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Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:55 pm
Posts: 731
Mild Rover wrote:
I do wonder if more players could do with a year or two in the Championship, rather than hanging about on the fringes of SL squads when they’re 20 or 21 - but they’re worried about being forgotten about and SL clubs are worried about losing out on academy products without seeing any return on investment.

Joe Cator’s year at Leigh was better spent there than playing 8 or 10 games from the bench for Hull KR. He’s returned to SL and done well for Hull FC. I’d like to think that more young players (and SL and Championship clubs) might see that as good approach - but I there’s probably a way to go yet.


I agree and althought the much-maligned dual registration system clearly had its flaws it also played a big role in the development for some players. Just look at Leeds, where Harry Newman benefitted massively from game time against men when he wasn't quite ready for eveything that SL would throw at him. DR probably also rescued the career of Alex Sutcliffe who was almost a forgotten player, it also helped with the development of the likes of Mikolaz Oledzki, Tom Holroyd and several others and that's just for Leeds.

My point is not to call for the return of DR but just that the Championship can really help the development of young players. Unfortunately SL is so attritional these days and with Covid thrown in too, clubs are having to reach further and further into their squad depth just to field 17 players each week.

User avatarBudgiezilla wrote:
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Joe Bullock did well after leaving Barrow for Wigan, but not too many 'star' in Super League, but a few are decent additions to some squads.
"I know you've had a bad day, but there's no need to take it out on me"

User avatarTonyM19 wrote:
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Hmmmm, define 'did well'.
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St.Helens 13 328 106 222 22 309.43 84.62
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Hull FC 14 308 279 29 15 110.39 53.57
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Hull KR 12 287 267 20 12 107.49 50
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Featherstone 14 579 189 390 26 306.35 92.86
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LondonB 14 404 357 47 19 113.17 67.86
Batley 15 404 302 102 20 133.77 66.67
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