August return now nailed on

Super League’s restart plans should be finalised on Friday, with a return at the start of August now looking nailed on.

A meeting of the Super League clubs is scheduled to take place on Friday, where it is expected the competition’s restart proposal will finally be agreed and public confirmation will follow.

Three proposals were tabled to clubs last month featuring three different Grand Final dates. League Express understands the most likely outcome is the proposal that will see the season run from the first week of August through to the end of November.

Fixture lists are in the process of being drawn up and the first game since lockdown is set to take place on the weekend of August 1st/2nd.

The first two weekends will be used to catch up on games that weren’t played before lockdown before a full restart, which will commence on the weekend of August 15th/16th.

Though no fixture plans have yet to be revealed, it’s believed Catalans are almost certain to be involved in the first game back as they have three postponed games to catch up on. That would mean one of the three clubs whose games with the Dragons were postponed – St Helens, Wakefield and Leeds – would also feature in the competition’s return game.

Catalans’ clash with the Super League champions was called off because of their involvement in the World Club Challenge, while the Wakefield game was postponed because of Storm Ciara. The match with Leeds didn’t take place due to the Rhinos’ decision not to travel to France over Coronavirus fears.

Coaches and players have grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of development in the league’s restart plans, though many clubs have started to shed more light on training arrangements, which all indicate the season should return in just six weekends time.

Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington confirmed last week that a public announcement should be made within seven to ten days, which falls in line with Friday’s meeting.

The pre-lockdown postponed games, which are likely to take place in the first two weekends of August, are:
Catalans Dragons v Leeds Rhinos
Huddersfield Giants v Leeds Rhinos
Hull KR v Toronto Wolfpack
St Helens v Catalans Dragons
Wakefield Trinity v Huddersfield Giants
Wakefield Trinity v Catalans Dragons

The Catalans aren’t expected to play all three games during the first two weekends. Instead they are likely to play an additional midweek game later in the year.