Keighley Cougars and Hunslet have today entered into a reserves dual-registration partnership.

In order to support and expand the Reserves Championship competition, the RFL have relaxed rules regarding player registration, allowing clubs to set up such an agreement.

The aim of the link-up is to allow players of both clubs to get some much needed game time while also putting a more competitive side out against Super League and Championship opposition, with Keighley being the only part-time League One club in the competition.

The partnership comes into force with immediate effect with Hunslet trio Will Cooke, Michael Nuttall and Darren Williams all set to feature for Cougars Reserves against Halifax RL this evening. Jake Barnett has also been made available for future games by the South Leeds club.

Cougars player performance manager Frank Levy said: “Craig Lingard approached Gary Thornton a month or so ago about entering into a partnership.

“There’s been times this season that we have to had to field a young side as first-team players have been unavailable through either injury or suspension.

“This sensible approach from the RFL allows us to put a strong side out every game while also giving our younger lads within the reserves system as much experience around them as possible with more players with first-team game under their belt within the side.

“It is important to stress that we will still be the Keighley Cougars reserves but from time to time will have Hunslet players included, which is no different to the current structure with the majority of our own players also continuing to play for their community clubs alongside the reserves.

“We look forward to this partnership and welcoming the Hunslet players we are able to select into our side and great club.”

Hunslet chief Thornton added: “With not having a reserves team ourselves, the RFL have come up with a sensible approach to allow players to DR with another club's reserve team to allow them to get game time.

“There are restrictions as to who can and can’t DR in the reserves league, and not all our players will qualify, but when Linners contacted me to see if we had any players that fit the criteria, we were happy to utilise the system.

“For us it gives us an opportunity to play some of our guys who haven’t had regular first team football, or who are coming back from injury, to play rugby league.

“It will benefit us and the players concerned, by getting them playing and keeping up their match fitness.”