In case you weren’t aware, Super League clubs are currently sitting down with Rugby Football League executives to try and thrash out where the Super 8s league structure goes next season.
Senior officials from all clubs will meet on Wednesday and Thursday to thrash out the format of next year’s league structure – and it’s unclear, as yet at least, what it could look like. However, we’ve put forward several options – which would you like to see incorporated?
Things stay exactly as they are
It’s entirely possible that, following an interview Roger Draper conducted with the Guardian earlier this year, things remain exactly as they currently are for 2018. It could be that the Super 8s gets a stay of execution and the league system doesn’t change a bit – although that would undoubtedly be unpopular with coaches, players and indeed fans, all of whom have spoken out about the league structure in the past.
The points are reset after 23 rounds in all competitions
While the Super 8s does look odds-on to stay, there are tinkers that could be made. For example, the League Leaders’ Shield could be awarded after 23 rounds in Super League and all the top eight would start from zero in a scramble to make Old Trafford. You could also do the same for competitions like the Championship Shield, too – although that would be a tad more controversial, you suspect.
The Super 8s are scrapped and one-up, one-down returns
Scrapping the Super 8s would be the popular choice with many, that is without question. But if it does go, what next? How do you determine promotion and relegation? The simplest, purest way would be bottom of Super League going down, and top of the Championship going up. This, however, seems too simple for a sport which is so often innovative to the max.
The Super 8s are scrapped and lower-league play-offs return
One other way of doing things would be having a play-off system return in the Championship and League 1 to determine promotion. The Championship has had some memorable play-off finals in the past – think the likes of Castleford winning at Headingley and more. It could be a smart way to keep the number of games up, but reduce the dead rubbers the Super 8s can provide.
The most dramatic option of all – the return of licensing. Its multi-year run prior to the Super 8s certainly divided opinion – and would closing the door on the ambitious Championship clubs really be the way to go? It’s by far the least attractive option for some, because it kills off the promotion and relegation concept once again – but you can never be sure of anything in rugby league..