Let’s focus on the Challenge Cup, says Wakefield boss

Wakefield Trinity chief executive Michael Carter has suggested Rugby League may have to prioritise the Challenge Cup when the sport returns to some semblance of normality.

Rugby League is currently on hiatus due to the coronavirus outbreak, with no clarity as to when the sport will resume its league programme. The current April 3 date pencilled in is seen as symbolic rather than realistic.

But Carter believes the RFL should ensure the Challenge Cup fixtures are completed as soon as possible if there is to be any chance of holding the Challenge Cup Final as planned on 18 July.

He said: “When we finally get back on the field, the first couple of weeks should be devoted to the Challenge Cup.

“We play round six, and we say that the quarter-finals are the week after and if you get knocked out, you can schedule a league game with someone.

“Then we’re into the semi-finals and we may have a chance of playing the final on the set date, which gives those clubs time to get up and running.

“There’ll be a lot of collaborative working along those lines.”

Carter also said that: “If you’re a realist, you’re looking at a 1st of June to end of November season, which gives us around 21 or 22 weeks.

“We will end up with some midweek games, and maybe a shortened version of the play-offs where it may be two semi-finals or, who knows, we go straight to a Grand Final with our top two.

“I genuinely still think it can be done, but there’s pain involved in that. It depends on what the response is over the next month in terms of the general health of the entire country.”

Carter also believed that the tumultuous times Rugby League is currently enduring should heal the rifts between many with the sport and put the game on a united front.

“We will end up with a sport that’s much closer together,” he said.

“We’ve clearly gone through a dive and hopefully this is a catalyst that gets us working way better together.

“We’re not a sport that’s big enough to survive if we’re not working together. I’ve been really impressed with the leadership from the RFL this week. Joe Public may not see that because they don’t see what happens behind closed doors.

“But the communication, information and messages coming out of the executives have been top-notch in my opinion. Nobody has a solution right now and if you think the RFL are going to dream up some magic solution, we’re dreaming.

“But I think they’re doing all they can and I’m hoping the clubs work together with them all to get us back to where we want to be.”