One of Super League’s most senior players is calling for a review of promotion and relegation rules as he believes it is “too tough to survive” for new teams in the top flight.
Toulouse Olympique’s 36-year-old prop forward Harrison Hansen has described the current sink-or-swim attitude to newly promoted sides as “backwards-thinking.”
Former Kiwi and Samoa international Hansen is facing the fight of his life with his fellow Olympians team-mates to turn around a horrific start to the season and save the French club from relegation.
While the odds are stacked against Toulouse, their 38-26 win over Wakefield on Saturday gives them a chance, although Hansen believes it is the system that needs to change, not just his club’s win-loss ratio.
He told League Express, “This current system isn’t doing anyone any favours, not the clubs nor the players nor the entire game. I know (RFL Chairman) Ralph Rimmer has said we need to change but nothing’s happening.
“The system is backwards-thinking. What’s the point of promoting teams when you don’t give them a fighting chance? It’s near-impossible for any promoted team to stay up, given how it is stacked against them.
“Give them two seasons guaranteed and you would see a kick-on from most teams. Seven months isn’t adequate time for any side to establish itself in Super League.
“There are never any players about at the end of a season once you’ve gained promotion in the very last game, or at least of the right quality, to try and boost your squad.”
Former Wigan, Salford, Leigh and Widnes forward Hansen has experienced both sides of the promotion-relegation battle and he said it was “pointless” to continue seeing the same teams go up and down.
“People are investing a lot of money and players are risking contracts and careers and nobody is gaining from it. It must change; it’s too tough to survive.”
Hansen believes it will be a missed opportunity for Rugby League if Toulouse are relegated this season, adding: “I believe 100 per cent that this squad is good enough for Super League; we just haven’t had the time like the rest of the teams to establish ourselves.
“We haven’t come here to prop Super League up and make it comfortable for everyone else.
“We’re competitive in every game and when we get it right, we can knock teams off.
“It’s only been in glimpses this year because we’ve been through a lot of adversity and the system doesn’t help.
“We can add something on and off the field to the game as a whole but the system is stacked against us and we might never see what potential we could have had.”
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