North Wales Crusaders have announced a two-year partnership deal with Betfred Super League side, Widnes Vikings.
The deal sees both clubs commit to working together until at least the end of the 2019 season.
As part of the arrangement there will be opportunities for the club to bring in players from the Vikings’ squad on loan throughout the season.
The Vikings will also be providing off-field support to North Wales Crusaders, providing advice and expertise to support the club to develop the club infrastructure.
Commenting on the deal, Andy Moulsdale, CEO of North Wales Crusaders, said: “North Wales Crusaders are pleased to have agreed a partnership with Widnes Vikings for the next two years. Having spoken to James Rule and Denis Betts, it was clear that this will help both clubs on and off the field.”
“Taking on young full-time players on season long loans will benefit both clubs. Denis has pledged to work closely with our coaching department which can only be a positive.
“In addition, James and I have had several chats about off-field opportunities. I’m keen to stress to all Crusaders supporters that this is a partnership that is geared to progressing the club as opposed to the dual-registration system that we have had in the past.
“We are holding a fans forum/supporters club meeting on Sunday to answer any questions on this.
“We look forward to working with James and the Widnes Vikings.”
Crusaders head coach Mike Grady added: “It’s fantastic to have an agreement in place with Widnes and I’m looking forward to working with Denis Betts and the team at the Vikings as both clubs look to progress.
“Whilst we have a good size squad, we’ve got plenty of games coming up this season and the opportunity to bring players in on loan will only strengthen our squad for the coming season.”
Denis Betts, head coach of Widnes Vikings, said: “Competition for places has never been more intense in our senior squad, so developing a partnership of this nature is vitally important.
“This arrangement will enable us to secure loan placements for our players, working closely with the coaches at Crusaders to ensure that we are providing them with individuals who will enhance their playing group.
“Naturally, this partnership also benefits our club, ensuring that players who don’t make the match day squad have opportunities to stay fit and ready for first team action.”
“We are looking forward to working with Crusaders over the next two seasons.”