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The Future is League

Is Tony Smith right about the play offs?

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I'd say top 5, 1st automatically GF. 2 v 5 and 3 v 4 home and away games and have an aggregate score like in football. Then both winners of the ties play at a neutral venue to decide who gets to old Trafford, possibly at an expansion area. 1st place also to play a Championship all stars side as warm up game for grand final.

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He's the Warrington Coach, not the Messiah.

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He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy!

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I'd say top 5, 1st automatically GF. 2 v 5 and 3 v 4 home and away games and have an aggregate score like in football. Then both winners of the ties play at a neutral venue to decide who gets to old Trafford, possibly at an expansion area. 1st place also to play a Championship all stars side as warm up game for grand final.

Think that's a pretty awful idea to be honest. League Leaders won't have a proper competitive game for 3 weeks. I wouldn't call a friendly game against a Championship Select a competitive game.

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I watch RL from Feb to November, and pay to do so.

I try and get pleasure from following my team - happy when they win, sad when they lose, throughout this period.

There is a pre season in Jan, when they play "meaningless" games.

Is it too much to ask for there to be a competitive meaningful set of games between Feb and September? Or at least for those involved to pretend that that is so? Is that so much to ask?

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Think that's a pretty awful idea to be honest. League Leaders won't have a proper competitive game for 3 weeks. I wouldn't call a friendly game against a Championship Select a competitive game.

At least the play offs will be competitive, at the minute they just arnt and finishing top of the table means absolutely nothing.

Maybe they can play an England side from the players remaining picked by Steve McNamara.

Last season Wigan could of played a game consisting of:

Tom Briscoe

Jodie Broughton

Kris Welham

Kirk Yeaman

Keiron Dixon

Rangi Chase

Danny Brough

Eorl Crabtree

Danny Houghton

Andy Lynch

Danny Kirmond

Elliot Whitehead

Joe Westerman

Daryl Clark

Craig Huby

Larne Patrick

John Bateman

That would surely be competitive, players attempting to stake their claim for national selection.

The play offs do need some extra intensity added, as the first couple of weeks just arnt worth watching IMO.

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At least the play offs will be competitive, at the minute they just arnt and finishing top of the table means absolutely nothing.

Maybe they can play an England side from the players remaining picked by Steve McNamara.

Last season Wigan could of played a game consisting of:

Tom Briscoe

Jodie Broughton

Kris Welham

Kirk Yeaman

Keiron Dixon

Rangi Chase

Danny Brough

Eorl Crabtree

Danny Houghton

Andy Lynch

Danny Kirmond

Elliot Whitehead

Joe Westerman

Daryl Clark

Craig Huby

Larne Patrick

John Bateman

That would surely be competitive, players attempting to stake their claim for national selection.

The play offs do need some extra intensity added, as the first couple of weeks just arnt worth watching IMO.

I'd rather a competitive play-off system be introduced that doesn't have contrived friendlies to fill up some time to be honest. The old top-5 or top-6 system would do just fine rather than what you've suggested. It's just a case of what do the rest play for after say 18 games when it's clear they won't make the play-offs and they can't get relegated?

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Maybe it's Tony's tactics and not the format that needs the change.

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I think he's right, it should be a top 6 play off and there should be promotion and relegation at the bottom.

That way almost every team has something to fight for, look back to 2006 and the Wakefield Vs Cas Million pound game, for all the wrong reasons it was the tensest and dramatic game of the season and the weeks leading up to it were intriguing and engrossing.

What we have now is teams whose whole season is pointless as soon as they’re out of the Challenge Cup.

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I think he's right, it should be a top 6 play off and there should be promotion and relegation at the bottom.

That way almost every team has something to fight for, look back to 2006 and the Wakefield Vs Cas Million pound game, for all the wrong reasons it was the tensest and dramatic game of the season and the weeks leading up to it were intriguing and engrossing.

What we have now is teams whose whole season is pointless as soon as they’re out of the Challenge Cup.

i'm prepared to bet the grand final had a larger crowd, higher viewing figures, more press coverage and more sponsorship interest than this 'million pound' game.

It is right that we focus on the top rather than bottom.

Agree somewhat about the 6 though - simply because the fans just havent really bought into top 8.

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He's only as right as everyone else.  

 

But then he would be saying this now that Warrington are a shoe in for the playoffs.

 

A few years ago Warrington may have been struggling to make the playoffs, so they may have been more open to the idea of a top 8.

 

In the end the rules are decided by the clubs and there are more clubs who will hedge that they are likely to end up in slots 7 and 8. Than there are in 1-6.

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I'd rather a competitive play-off system be introduced that doesn't have contrived friendlies to fill up some time to be honest. The old top-5 or top-6 system would do just fine rather than what you've suggested. It's just a case of what do the rest play for after say 18 games when it's clear they won't make the play-offs and they can't get relegated?

 

Pride? Or am I just having a senior moment? :)

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If they ever do change the format, I hope it doesn't include one team on a bye the week before the final. Then the yearly, boring discussion about whether the team benefitted from a rest or were not battle-hardened.

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i'm prepared to bet the grand final had a larger crowd, higher viewing figures, more press coverage and more sponsorship interest than this 'million pound' game.

Just to be clear, 152k watched Wakefield vs Castleford, less than half of the 349k who watched Hull vs St Helens in the Grand Final. And a last day of the season relegation decider is very rare so it also had a novelty value going for it.

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When the twelve team SL comes in :-) clubs will play 22 regular season matches.

Grand Final competition then becomes a mini league of the top four playing six high intense games.

Three home three away with the top two at the end of the group playing in the GF.

This gives a 28 game season.

To go further you could introduce a full play off system keeping all teams interested until Grand Final night.

Middle four teams play the same format for the Cup and the bottom four compete for the Plate.

The three competitions should give every team an extra six games at "their level" which may also keep the interest going until the final regular season games, as teams look to make the higher play off competition.

Supporters of individual clubs love their teams to have the chance of winning something and could get behind this concept.

Plate and cup final played at Salford the night before the GF making a weekend in Manchester.

Will it cheapen the Grand Final??

I dont think so and could give some exciting matches at the end of the season.

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I always liked the top five play offs. It seemed to me to heavily reward those teams that had earned their position in the league. To win it from fifth meant that teams had to effectively do it tough, really tough, and likewise from fourth and so on. Some say it was too complicated, but it rightly rewarded the top teams and made a playoff place something that deserved respect.  It made teams fight for their true position and treat the league with more respect on a week for week basis than some have accused Leeds of doing.

 

I was pleased when Trinity made the playoffs last season, but it wwas devalued somewhat by there being over half the sides in the division in the same club. Trinity's reward for a seven sequence winning streak was a visit to Headingley to play their part in a brilliant game, however in truth I don't think they should have been contesting the playoffs from eighth. It didn't feel as valuable to me as when we made it to Wigan under John Kear to take part in another do or die game, simply because too many sides are in the playoffs.

 

One thing I do contest in part though is that playoff crowds are as low as some would believe. I visited Headingley with Trinity last year, the atmosphere was pulsating, and the ground was thronged with supporters from both sides, Leeds however reported the shared gate as under 10,000. So once legitimate Leeds' expenses were deducted, what was Wakefield's reward for finishing in a playoff spot, at a guess the equivalent of a 4000 home gate.

 

In fairness the paragraph above is a little off topic, but I think a top five or six is the way to go, with the RFL or another independent body actually making sure that the rewards are shared to those clubs that have earned them. A reward for finishing eighth, no thanks. I'd also say that some people criticised the five/six team play off system as it was difficult to explain, but no more difficult than explaining the validity of having eight out of fourteen in the playoffs.  

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Moving the dividing line doesn't prevent meaningless games it merely changes which games are meaningless.

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My ideal play-off format would be top 5 with the top side going straight to the Grand Final and the four other teams play a semi and a qualifying final. However, this has the major flaw of the two week gap for the league leaders, and I don't see any way around that, the other 4 playing Friday then Tuesday would solve it but wouldn't be my choice at all.

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i'm prepared to bet the grand final had a larger crowd, higher viewing figures, more press coverage and more sponsorship interest than this 'million pound' game.

It is right that we focus on the top rather than bottom.

Agree somewhat about the 6 though - simply because the fans just havent really bought into top 8.

How did the relegation decider against the other playoff games though in terms of BARB figures and crowds?

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So once legitimate Leeds' expenses were deducted, what was Wakefield's reward for finishing in a playoff spot, at a guess the equivalent of a 4000 home gate.

Just to be clear, unless it has changed the proceeds from playoff games (after expenses) go to the RFL to go towards the prize money at the end of the season. All teams receive something based on their position, so there is still something to play for if you can't make the playoffs or just win one playoff match. As Wakefield were knocked out in the first round then as the lower ranked team compared to Huddersfield they finished in 8th place.

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Just to be clear, unless it has changed the proceeds from playoff games (after expenses) go to the RFL to go towards the prize money at the end of the season. All teams receive something based on their position, so there is still something to play for if you can't make the playoffs or just win one playoff match. As Wakefield were knocked out in the first round then as the lower ranked team compared to Huddersfield they finished in 8th place.

brooza, I think you're correct

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Just to be clear, unless it has changed the proceeds from playoff games (after expenses) go to the RFL to go towards the prize money at the end of the season. All teams receive something based on their position, so there is still something to play for if you can't make the playoffs or just win one playoff match. As Wakefield were knocked out in the first round then as the lower ranked team compared to Huddersfield they finished in 8th place.

 

I didn't know that.  I'd be interested to hear what the net benefit of Trinity finishing 8th and getting knocked out in the first playoff game was against coming in ninth.

 

The thing that stuck for me was that there seemed to be a very healthy crowd in at Headingley that evening for a marquee game, but the club with perhaps the most vocal chairman about how the game should be run for the benefit for the game of the whole only managed to attract/report and subsequently hand over receipts for an under ten thousand crowd, way under their average.  

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If you have a 14 team division and no p&r you need more than 6 teams in the play offs otherwise there really would be a plethora of meaningless games towards the end of the season.

 

Play the 5v8 and 6v7 games as a mid week preliminary round and you'd have a real incentive to finish in the top 4, you'd avoid playing 3 games in a week.

 

Change to a 7 team play off with a preliminary 4v7 and 5v6 sudden death round and you'd effectively get back to the 5 team play off that rewards the team finishing first whilst still giving meaning to most games in the run in (at least for 1 of the teams involved).

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If you have a 14 team division and no p&r you need more than 6 teams in the play offs otherwise there really would be a plethora of meaningless games towards the end of the season.

 

Play the 5v8 and 6v7 games as a mid week preliminary round and you'd have a real incentive to finish in the top 4, you'd avoid playing 3 games in a week.

 

Change to a 7 team play off with a preliminary 4v7 and 5v6 sudden death round and you'd effectively get back to the 5 team play off that rewards the team finishing first whilst still giving meaning to most games in the run in (at least for 1 of the teams involved).

Or 7 teams

 

Week 1:

Leaders get a bye

2v7

3v6

4v5

 

Week 2:

Leaders get club call!

 

Week 3:

Final

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