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Death to the Rah Rah's

CHALLENGE CUP - TIME FOR A CHANGE

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If they do restructure the league sizes, I'd look at changing to a group format. It would be the best way to generate more guaranteed fixtures (needed for season tickets to guarantee a gate) as well as guarantee cross-league fixtures to keep some interest up.

Could go with

SL - 12 teams (22 fixtures + Magic Weekend)

Championship - 12 teams (22 fixtures)

Championship 1 - 14 teams (26 fixtures)

Cup Qualifying Rounds (all seeded):

Qualifying Round 1 (48 clubs, NCL D2-3, CL South, Regional League qualifiers and Student qualifiers).

Qualifying Round 2 (52 clubs, NCL PL & D1 clubs enter).

Qualifying Round 3 (56 clubs, Championship, Championship 1 & 4 French clubs enter).

Qualifying Round 4 (40 clubs, SL clubs enter).

Winners of Round 4 into Challenge Cup competition.

Losers of Round 4 into Challenge Trophy.

Losers of Round 3 into Challenge Vase.

Challenge Cup - 4 x 5 teams (2 home + 2 away).

Challenge Trophy - 4 x 5 teams (2 home + 2 away).

Challenge Vase - 8 x 7 teams (3 home + 3 away).

Quarters, Semis & Final.

All games on same weekends. All finals at Wembley.

You'd shave off one fixture a year with this format (Round 5 of the Challenge Cup), as well as guarantee 2 big home games for the smaller clubs in the group games and one round against a SL team for a CC1 & NCL team, making it a big money spinner for them. All Cup comps are linked. The Cup dream is there for all still.

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Personally I love the challenge cup - a big tie in a knockout is brilliant.

I'll forever remember games like Wire v Wigan at Widnes when we beat them to get to Wembley for the first time in almost 20 years.

Semi finals are outstanding events.

Absolutely. Those knocking the Challenge Cup will fall silent if their club makes it to the semis or beyond.

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Ok you saying that as a Bulls fan as you have had a few trips to the capital and also stand a chance of winning the cup at some point in the future. Batley put up a great fight yesterday, but ultimately they didn't win. If you have read the proposal in League Express the likes of Batley etc. would still get a chance to play a Super league team if they reached the last two of their respective competition as well as get the chance to play at Wembley, so those clubs are not being denied the

That would reduce the one-sided scores that have been common place in this competition since the game went full time

We have a bee in our bonnet like no other about one sided games like no other sport. It will happen at any level at any time. If say Wigan beat Widnes by 80 do we say lets have 13 in SL, Leeds beat Bulls by 76 Lets make it 12 to stop these one sided games. If games are one sided at ANY level in ANY competition then so be it. As a regular contributor on here and if you take the time to look at my post I post unbiasedly about the Bulls. I am a RL fan and concerned about the game and constant - if you excuse the terminology - farting around with the game can do more harm than good. Toulouse not so long back, a French semi pro club got to the Semis if memory serves me correct beating SL opposition along the way. Why should the Cup be placed in the hands of SL clubs? What about the extra revenue that the visit of Hull, Leeds or Wigan can generate to say Gateshead, Oldham or Skolars.

O and if you want me to refer to my club we got stuffed 71-10 in a CC Cup semi-final before the game went fully pro.

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id leave the challenge cup as it is, but move the Northern Rail cup final to Wembley as a curtain raiser to the Challenge Cup - would give the smaller clubs a long overdue day in the big time and something to aim for.

Best idea so far.

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The Challenge Cup Final already comes close to selling out without suddenly needing to find dedicated spaces for about 10,000 fans wanting to cheer on the Northern Rail Cup final.  Given that the Challenge Cup needs to start around 2.30-2.45 the NRC match would have to kick off at, what, noon?  Allowing for extra time and presentations.

 

Also, the Challenge Cup is sponsored by Tetley's and the Northern Rail Cup isn't.  Been to Wembley on Challenge Cup final day?  See how much branding the sponsor gets all over the stadium?  Are they going to want to share that?

 

The Northern Rail Cup Final is already a grand day out and key date in the rugby league diary.  By making it a curtain raiser for the main event of the Challenge Cup final you'll devalue it.

 

IMO.

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id leave the challenge cup as it is, but move the Northern Rail cup final to Wembley as a curtain raiser to the Challenge Cup - would give the smaller clubs a long overdue day in the big time and something to aim for.

Agree with this, I mooted something similar last week.

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The Challenge Cup Final already comes close to selling out without suddenly needing to find dedicated spaces for about 10,000 fans wanting to cheer on the Northern Rail Cup final.  Given that the Challenge Cup needs to start around 2.30-2.45 the NRC match would have to kick off at, what, noon?  Allowing for extra time and presentations.

 

Also, the Challenge Cup is sponsored by Tetley's and the Northern Rail Cup isn't.  Been to Wembley on Challenge Cup final day?  See how much branding the sponsor gets all over the stadium?  Are they going to want to share that?

 

The Northern Rail Cup Final is already a grand day out and key date in the rugby league diary.  By making it a curtain raiser for the main event of the Challenge Cup final you'll devalue it.

 

IMO.

Yep - the sponsorship issue is a problem.

 

I have no issue with a double header in principle, my problem with it as it was back when it was trialed is that I think you qualified if you were knocked out before Rd 5, which tbh is a bit of an incentive for a club like Fev and Halifax to make sure they were knocked out by that stage so that they would have more chance of a Wembley trip.

 

If you would do a 'shield' competition, it should be the last two lower division clubs left in the comp - using QF's and Semi's if needed.

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I'd plum for getting the NRC/Challenge Plate (or whatever you want to call it) on it's own at Wembley, not as a curtain raiser. Let it grow. Might only start off around 10k but could develop into a great weekend.

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I'd plum for getting the NRC/Challenge Plate (or whatever you want to call it) on it's own at Wembley, not as a curtain raiser. Let it grow. Might only start off around 10k but could develop into a great weekend.

That would certainly be a brave move but it is a massive gamble. What does Wembley cost to hire £200,000 - £300,000?.

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That would certainly be a brave move but it is a massive gamble. What does Wembley cost to hire £200,000 - £300,000?.

 

400k is what we heard when Sarries booked it.

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400k is what we heard when Sarries booked it.

But you wouldn't require the entire facility so can imagine it costing a lot less.

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Moving the Northern Rail Cup to Wembley would immediatlely alienate the sponsor, Northern Rail. They'd just love the idea of thousands of fans travvelling on Virgin Trains to the capital rather travelling around the North on their trains.

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Moving the Northern Rail Cup to Wembley would immediatlely alienate the sponsor, Northern Rail. They'd just love the idea of thousands of fans travvelling on Virgin Trains to the capital rather travelling around the North on their trains.

Actually all of those people travelling by Virign might be a great advert for Northern Rail..

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Just to be clear, the Challenge Cup makes a profit, provides the club game's six biggest TV audiences of the year by a significant margin over the rest, and the biggest physical attendance being one of only two matches to attract over 30,000.

And those who say the game is financially in trouble and complain about the lack of exposure want to scrap it.

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it should be saved.Run two cup comps or even three one for the full time pros one for semi pros and one for the amateurs.Theres very few shocks in cup now days. IF for example we reward the top two teams in championship a place in the pro cup what reward for there seasons efforts. At least its something since promotion isnt on the table or may be even the top ten teams to have a comp of 24 where top 8 in super league get a bye in round one and join the 8 winners in round two.

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Just to be clear, the Challenge Cup makes a profit, provides the club game's six biggest TV audiences of the year by a significant margin over the rest, and the biggest physical attendance being one of only two matches to attract over 30,000.

And those who say the game is financially in trouble and complain about the lack of exposure want to scrap it.

+1 (minus the first four words)

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Just to be clear, the Challenge Cup makes a profit, provides the club game's six biggest TV audiences of the year by a significant margin over the rest, and the biggest physical attendance being one of only two matches to attract over 30,000.

And those who say the game is financially in trouble and complain about the lack of exposure want to scrap it.

There's no place for common sense on here!

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We have a bee in our bonnet like no other about one sided games like no other sport. It will happen at any level at any time. If say Wigan beat Widnes by 80 do we say lets have 13 in SL, Leeds beat Bulls by 76 Lets make it 12 to stop these one sided games. If games are one sided at ANY level in ANY competition then so be it. As a regular contributor on here and if you take the time to look at my post I post unbiasedly about the Bulls. I am a RL fan and concerned about the game and constant - if you excuse the terminology - farting around with the game can do more harm than good. Toulouse not so long back, a French semi pro club got to the Semis if memory serves me correct beating SL opposition along the way. Why should the Cup be placed in the hands of SL clubs? What about the extra revenue that the visit of Hull, Leeds or Wigan can generate to say Gateshead, Oldham or Skolars.

O and if you want me to refer to my club we got stuffed 71-10 in a CC Cup semi-final before the game went fully pro.

I think you're correct to say that one sided games can occur at any level, RL is just that kind of game where a team gets a roll on and becomes unstoppable, though the example of the Wigan v Bulls semi, even though it was a good time ago, isn't really THAT different to the conditions we see today.

I would mention that you say the game "went fully pro", though, of course, it never did; only the top division went fully pro. So the semi you quoted was actually very much like the Rochdale Bulls game last weekend, with one fully pro team and one made up of part-timers.

Incidentally, the only other team making a pretence of being full-time back then was Leeds - who had over 80 put past them in a play-off by Wigan and were beaten by a bigger margin than we were in the semi, which I guess proves the point.

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Leave it as it is.

 

Maybe move the Final back the then end of May if we absolutely must make any changes.

 

Or include CC games in the season ticket and increase central funding to the Championship clubs to negate any gate losses.

 

But leave the structure of the Cup alone.

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I think you're correct to say that one sided games can occur at any level, RL is just that kind of game where a team gets a roll on and becomes unstoppable, though the example of the Wigan v Bulls semi, even though it was a good time ago, isn't really THAT different to the conditions we see today.

I would mention that you say the game "went fully pro", though, of course, it never did; only the top division went fully pro. So the semi you quoted was actually very much like the Rochdale Bulls game last weekend, with one fully pro team and one made up of part-timers.

Incidentally, the only other team making a pretence of being full-time back then was Leeds - who had over 80 put past them in a play-off by Wigan and were beaten by a bigger margin than we were in the semi, which I guess proves the point.

Exactly about the semi and I meant SL going fully pro. All these random ideas by even the hierachy in RL really do get on my proverbials though. This is why the game never really progresses to the extent it should. For me I'd leave the Challenge cup as it is. I'd open up the earlier rounds to more and more teams, amateur that is. Invite a Russian side, maybe more French, the varsity sides, a Scottish select team, Ireland league select team. It is our only fully RL competition so lets celebrate it. Lets not play into the hands of SL clubs cos 3 fixtures or so were one sided this week. Imagine if a path was open for an Oxford Varsity team could at some stage potentially play Wigan. (Hypatheically of course). To make that potential close even harder is a mere self strangulation for RL.

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We should definitely keep it. Good public profile, great history, etc.

 

Because of its presence on the BBC, it's a great way of exposing new people to the game. Perhaps we could build on this idea - using it as an opportunity to aggressively promote the sport e.g. by keeping ticket prices as low as we can, making sure children get in free, encouraging visits from various groups, clubs and schools.

 

On the cup itself:

 

I wrote an article here about how the RFL might want to consider an unobstrusive handicap for when teams come from different divisions/tiers of the game - for example, take interchanges from the higher level team and give to the lower level one.

 

John Ledger of the RFL responded with their current thinking here.

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I'd make the round more regular, at present; R4 - 3 weeks - R5 - 9 weeks - QF - 2 weeks - SF - 4 weeks - Final. I'd probably move the final to earlier in the year too, maybe July, I don't understand why it has to be on a Bank Holiday, it went from May Bank Holiday to August Bank Holiday.

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I don't believe a handicap is a way forward. It would completely devalue the competition's integrity. Sporting contests are about which team is the best in the same set of laws of the game. If a lower league team wins under a handicap, what does it really prove?

If the laws are changed, they have to be applied to both teams. Whether it benefits one over the other is down to that individual team, but things must be equal.

I think, without changing the game too much, having more substitutes on the bench and allowing more interchanges could be a positive for the cup. If players get tired in the lower team, they can have more rests. There's be more specialist cover in the bench instead if utility players. And for the higher teams, it would allow them to blood more youngsters, whilst keeping the odd star on the bench "just in case".

I can't say for definite, but I'm pretty sure that football allows for different numbers in the bench in different competitions (though you're only allowed 3 subs still).

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handicapping would kill it completely...

aside from scraping it.....i would be in favour of having 2 comps (challenge cup for SL clubs & challenge trophy/bowl for championship clubs),as many have said, is the only viable option....the challenge trophy/bowl final has to be played at wembley

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it should be saved.Run two cup comps or even three one for the full time pros one for semi pros and one for the amateurs.Theres very few shocks in cup now days. IF for example we reward the top two teams in championship a place in the pro cup what reward for there seasons efforts. At least its something since promotion isnt on the table or may be even the top ten teams to have a comp of 24 where top 8 in super league get a bye in round one and join the 8 winners in round two.

Exactly what I was about to say (ish). Leave the CC as it is but run a cup or two cups for the semi pros and the amateurs.

 

It's only really the fourth round that you could perhaps argue there are more whitewashes than not but there's bound to be a gulf between Full time pros and other players. The other cup(s) could be games(s) prior to the CC final at Wembley, it'd make the ticket price more acceptable and could even increase the attendance.

 

Marketing of the Challenge Cup in it's current guise could be better. I got an email promoting the Final (which is what the RFL seem to have their hopes pinned on), together with a mention of the fourth round games, on the eve of the Leeds v Cas game

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