Richard Thewlis says Huddersfield Giants should have been given financial help from the Rugby Football League to keep Jermaine McGillvary.
The 30-year-old winger, who starred for England in their World Cup bid last autumn, has signed a new deal with the Giants to keep him with them until 2022.
There was interest from clubs in the NRL but him staying in this country is a big boost for the English game.
Huddersfield managing director Thewlis says he should have been considered for one of the “central contracts” recently introduced by the governing body.
He told Yorkshire Post: “Jermaine was without a doubt the star of the World Cup from an England perspective and came back to us with an enormous profile, which we’d hope to see further enhanced in the series with New Zealand.
“We were aware that NRL clubs had been sniffing around and we all understand the salary cap differentials in play can make retaining players difficult.
“Our budgets and cap had been fixed by this point so we did approach the RFL to help Jermaine by making him one of their centrally funded players, which seemed to us an obvious fit as he had clearly done the majority of the media/promotional work Down Under and was both “the story” and “the face of England RL” alongside his wonderful playing performances.
“The request for financial support for Jermaine (which is enjoyed by other players and clubs) was not forthcoming and so the burden fell solely upon us.
“We were able towards the end of the season to both improve and extend Jermaine’s contract with us, which was great news for all concerned and I am sure will be well received by the supporters.”