Following the recent announcement of the Super 8s fixtures, all the hype surrounding them is underway, but the end of the regular season faced a problem in that the fixtures weren’t played simultaneously.
Confused? Baffled? Put it this way, the supporters of the game have complained continuously all season regarding the sport and one factor is because of its quality.
They have a point as it has dropped drastically in the past two seasons, some might say.
One reason being the RFL are attempting continuous ways to spread and develop the game, which obviously is positive but there’s one thing they haven’t considered.
That is staging a ‘final day’ drama for the end of the regular season as there was still plenty to play for across both the Super League and the Championship.
In the Super League, five clubs battled for a top four spot in the hopes of bagging four home fixtures and thereby, an easier run to Old Trafford.
In the Championship, a similar situation as the battle for the top four and a place in the Qualifiers headed down to the wire, with three positions all changing over the weekend.
But the problem is in both divisions, is that the games for each situation were staged at different times, which arguably defused excitement towards it.
The Super League’s battle turned out to go all the way and Wakefield’s defeat against St Helens all but confirmed them to be missing out on four home matches.
However, had Hull been downed by Huddersfield, the situation at Wakefield would have taken some importance out of the fixture.
Yes, there’s still plenty to play for as the points are carried over of course and so the 80 minutes there remains a stepping stone towards Old Trafford.
But had both games as well as Leigh’s clash with Salford been played simultaneously, this surely would have added excitement to all and possibly even discouraged teams to field ‘weaker’ teams in the build-up to the Challenge Cup semi-final.
Then look at the Championship, Toulouse having defeated Featherstone Rovers in a last minute drama took the race for the top four down to the wire.
But Halifax RLFC obliged and soundly defeated Hull Kingston Rovers at the MBI Shay a day later.
A positive of the situation is that Fax went within 60 seconds of the Qualifiers to having to wait another 24 hours, something that is rather bizarre.
However, staging both at the same time needs considering as had Fax failed and Toulouse succeeded in such dramatic style, then the game really would have had supporters show off their true passion and desperation, which is what sport is all about!
This is why in situations like these, a ‘final day’ weekend needs to be considered.
Surely Sky Sports could have split and sent Sky commentary to two different venues?!
A ridiculous idea? Not if it’s prepared in advance plus it’s only for the one weekend and it’s something different that could boost popularity for the game.
If not do something so obscure then the game will only continue to dwindle whereas such a situation gives clubs a reason to up their game that extra step on the day.
It could easily be done in July too with the football season still on hold so it is an experiment that should be considered.
Surely this would be easier on the supporters as well, enjoying a summer afternoon out watching the rugby league rather than rushing away from work midweek for such an important occasion?
An idea worth considering as it could give the sport the recognition it deserves and provide the excitement the supporters pay their hard earned cash to go and watch their beloved teams in action!
Photo by Halifax RLFC