IF Batley, Dewsbury, Fev, Keighley or Halifax disappeared from the scene then it would be a massive blow to the game. These clubs provide a good service in developing and promoting Rugby League to the local area. They have done so for decades. Without these championship clubs the game is weaker and we would see a lot less money and people playing and watching the game.
It is debatable wether it would be a massive blow to the game if NL clubs dissappeared, and it is debatable wether the game would be significantly weaker without them.
Now Shaw cross, Elland, Stanningley, Hunslet warriors, Heworth, Dewsbury Celtic, Drig, Leigh east, leigh Miners etc etc - if those disappeared that would be a massive loss to the game.
So Superleague is definately very important to the game to keep the best players from RU, swell the attendances at RL games, and provide a vehicle for a national/international profile, and my lord what would we do without the amateur clubs who run the kids teams. What would we do without development officers and the schools responding????
Sadly as I say it is debatable what value the NL clubs have to the game. OF COURSE there is some value but what??
As much as I love Batley take away away fans and probably there are 700 Batley fans.
If there was no Batley but Bradford marketed aggresively in the area as Batley's SL club or huddersfield did it or both would more than 700 Batley people go to Superleague.
That's maybe the point - I don't know - but most fans want Superleague. Use the HKR calculation - six times more people go to HKR now they are in superleague, than when they were in the NL's and doing nothing.
If Batley are Batleys club and they get 700 people, what if Batley didn't exist and RL fans in Batley were enticed by Bradford or Huddersfield - would 4,000 Batley people go to watch those clubs.
I know Hunslet are capable of a good 500 crowd, and that probably a few thousand south leeds people go to Headingley to watch Rhinos.
So for me this is something that needs examining because in 1896 Hunslet, Oldham, Halifax, leigh, Batley, Rochdale, etc were very important to NRU/RL.
The sad thing is the advent of RL junior development and the advent of Superleague in 1996 somehow has removed the importance.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not being controversial - But I thought when Hunslet nearly folded that would have been a crime. Much better that the club continued as an amateur club like Bramley. The ground was there and the club could have accomodated the Hunslet Parkside juniors, they run a summer side too now so to a certain extent it's not all about stretching every sinew to raise thousands just to stuff it in the pockets of players, because that seems to me all some NL clubs are doing.