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Tony Smith hints at Super League loans for Warrington Wolves players not selected for first team
TONY Smith has hinted that Warrington Wolves may send players on loan to struggling Super League rivals Bradford Bulls and London Broncos next season.
With both clubs having experienced financial difficulties there is uncertainty surrounding who and what will be needed to keep them competitive throughout the 2014 season, but Smith is open to lending out some of his fringe players should it benefit all parties concerned.
“It is too early for those clubs like Bradford and London to know what they need, because they are just focusing on getting across the line at the moment,” said Smith.
“But certainly, there will be considerations there for what will be best for our players and their development.
“At the moment they are considering themselves as Super League players for Warrington, not any other club.”
That includes young Welsh prop Ben Evans, who spent last season gaining significant Super League experience with Bulls.
Bradford were keen to continue the loan deal into next year, but once Bradford’s difficulties became clear Smith decided to bring the young prop back to Wolves’ Padgate training ground.
“We’re not sure on the Bradford arrangement with Ben at the moment,” he added.
“I am sure they would like it to continue, but they are in the midst of working out a whole lot of issues.
“So right now he has come back to train with us in order to get his body ready for playing next year.
“As to where that will be we are unsure of that at the moment, but he has been really good for the few days he has been back.”
Should Wolves be unable to find Super League loan clubs for those players too old to take part in the Academy under 19s competition, Smith is confident that the partnership agreement with Championship club Swinton Lions will continue into the new season despite their own financial difficulties and rumours of a takeover.
“We’ve got a partnership arrangement in place for next year,” Smith confirmed.
“We will still be able to play our fringe players who are over 19 on a partnership basis with Swinton.
“But nothing is decided in terms of who yet. As it stands all of our players see themselves as Super League players with us and we will see them like that too until we make our decisions based on pre-season.”
Wolves made heavy use of the agreement last year in the wake of the sport-wide changes to the Academy structures in England, with Gene Ormsby, James Mendeika, Rhys Williams, Gareth O’Brien, Ryan Shaw, Brad Dwyer, Gavin Bennion, Adrian Morley, Lee Briers, Paul Wood and Chris Bridge all playing in the blue of Swinton at times in 2013.
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