Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell has pledged to keep a full-time team following his club’s relegation from the English Super League.
Hudgell admits the club will have to make cuts as they deal with a 50 per cent reduction in central funding to PS750,000 ($1.258 million) but says the players will remain full-time and recruitment will go ahead as part of a major overhaul.
Head of rugby Jamie Peacock, whose offer to quit in the wake of Saturday’s heart-breaking defeat by Salford was rejected by the chairman, will lead a root-and-branch review alongside new head coach Tim Sheens.
And, speaking on Monday, Hudgell says renegotiations have already begun with some of the players, who were all on Super League contracts.
“Clearly some savings need to be made and I think we can do that,” Hudgell said. “It depends to some extent on how well we are supported commercially and on pass sales.
“There will be some rationalisation over the next few weeks but my message overall is that we want to keep the core of the club intact so that we can benefit and be stronger for the experience of being in Super League and hopefully bounce straight back.
“We started the process today. We can’t totally commit but the initial indications are that we’d like to keep the core of that squad in place, while still making additions and bringing kids through.
“There will definitely be a full-time squad, I can say that straight away.”
England full-back Zak Hardaker, who is on the transfer list at Leeds, had been linked with a move to Hull KR and, while relegation looks sure to scupper that deal, Hudgell says the club remain in the market for new players.
“Tim is on his way home and he’ll be talking to some targets back in Australia,” he added. “Closer to home, we’ve identified some players we’re interested in, the difficulty was that, until Saturday, we didn’t know which division we would be playing in.
“I think we’ve a great opportunity with Tim coming in to start afresh. Whilst, if we had stayed in Super League, we would have been tinkering at the edges a little bit, this gives up an opportunity to be a bit more radical and cut away some of the excesses.
“You’ve got to bear in mind we’ve got a world-class coach and a world-class football manger, now we just need a world-class team, which is easier said than done.
“We’re under no illusions that it will be a breeze in the park (in the Championship) but we have to set a goal of top four and top one really.”