The ideal situation for Super League would be if the core big M62 clubs plus several expansion clubs, were competitive.
This would mean:
Wigan, St Helens, Warrington
If we had these ten clubs out of fourteen competitive then we would have reached the "balanced playing field" situation of the NRL. SL would be a sensational viewing experience each week with huge crowds. That will take a long time to achieve given the current financial resources inequalities and the current economic recession.
In the interim we should hope and aim for at least five core M62 clubs and three diversity clubs to be competitive.
You forgot huddersfield who as a better funded club than Bradford are more of a threat at the top. You forgot Widnes who should run to full salary cap. Competetiveness along the M62 is fundamentally based on being able to spend full salary cap on a regular annual basis.
The expansion clubs in GB lack both the fans and the quality juniors coming through, one can only hope that as RL builds as a game in those areas they will improve on both, and maybe quality local players coming through from those regions will stimulate the fan base.
I'd like to see Bradford, Salford and Wakefield realise decent stadia to improve their fanbases and income. In time if there's a lot of equal competition for the best junior talent around the M62 game, whilst Crusaders and a London club get the pick of the best across their regions that may help level things up as well.
The development of SL as a top to bottom competetive league is a long and slow process due to an underdevelopment of the game and it's infrastructure. Some clubs have had a decent stadia attracting the fans and full cap since 1996, some haven't got either of those pre-requisites yet and may not for a few years more.
There's a few other twists that give the top clubs an advantage but in the main a club needs a decent stadia that attracts fans and a full salary cap team on the pitch, whilst an expansion club also needs it's junior infrastructure to get up to the standard along the M62.
As for the French sides it's easy to blame the coach, but we still need to see young players coming through that are SL standard, you can pick them out at Wigan, Saints, Leeds, Hull, Fartown and even Wire
now, and point to a number of Londoners at Quins, but I feel that you can't see the same at Les Catalans - yet you have had a French Junior RL for many many years. The feeling is Toulouse were judged on a lack of quality home grown players, and refused entry last time accordingly.
What we may see as the next pick of 14 SL clubs may be just about the best we can do for a long time to come. Hopefully the conditions will remain for clubs to continue to build up income and standards, albeit slowly, whilst competetiveness builds as a result.
If conditions change, Like sugar daddies pulling out, stadia not coming off, and kids not coming through in areas away from the M62 then sadly the league may end up with either a rump of four or five easy beats, or will move to a fallback position to increase standards and competetiveness by going back to 12 clubs or even 10 with them playing each other three times.