A big day – but for which club?

Upfront: The League Express opinion – Monday 14th Dec 2020

At midday today the Rugby League authorities will reveal which of six clubs will be promoted from the Championship into Super League to fill the vacant slot left by the departure of Toronto Wolfpack.

At the time of writing we don’t know which club will be successful. The decision of the panel deciding the outcome of the applications has been a closely guarded secret, as it should be.

In last week’s edition of League Express we published statements from all six contenders suggesting why they should each be the club to get the nod.

What was interesting about the statements they submitted was how they each dealt with different issues in an interesting and creative way.

We wouldn’t like to speculate on which club will be successful, but it is interesting to see the news associated with the application process.

For example, London Broncos now look to be certain to be moving home again next season, this time to groundshare with Wimbledon AFC at their newly opened stadium at Plough Lane in southwest London.

If that is to be their new home, it will surely be a significant improvement on their most recent home at Trailfinders Stadium in Ealing, which had a much smaller capacity and was effectively hemmed in by other developments.

So will the Broncos be successful today?

We shall soon know.

Meanwhile last Thursday the RFL revealed that Newcastle Thunder will be promoted to the Championship in 2021 to take the place of the club that will join Super League today.

And few people could deny that Thunder deserve their success.

If we judge the club on its stadium, then it was very strongly placed.

And if we judge Thunder on other criteria, such as the club’s owner and its financial strength, or the development of the community game in northeast England, then the signs all look promising.

And if we look ahead to next year, then the fact that the Magic Weekend will be back in Newcastle, and the World Cup will kick off there, suggest that it will be a big year for Rugby League in the northeast.

Thunder will face some obvious challenges in a higher level of competition, but we have no doubt that they are capable of dealing with them.

We would like to wish them the very best of luck.

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