OPINION: Is the Super League-Championship gap already widening?

Wakefield fans would have hardly believed their luck this morning, when the signing of Ben Jones-Bishop was confirmed on a one-year deal from Salford Red Devils.

Jones-Bishop adds to a growing contingent of new faces at Belle Vue, as they look to vastly improve on last year’s 12th-placed finish and even look towards the top eight in Super League.

But below the top flight, there could be a growing worry that Super League is becoming more and more of a closed shop. Wakefield were widely seen as the Super League team in biggest danger of going down last season, given how they’d changed coach mid-season and had brought in a number of new faces just before the Super 8s.

They managed to stay up, but this year, they’re clearly doing things differently. The Wildcats are understood to be almost complete with their squad plans for next year, and their team already looks a fair sight better than their class of 2015.

So is the gap between Super League and the Championship already getting bigger than ever before?

This will surely be a worry for those who run the game, as the idea was that the gap would naturally decrease in the years to come, not increase. Championship clubs were supposed to get stronger and threaten the existence of the status quo in Super League, but with clubs like Wakefield now planning efficiently and effectively, where does this leave the Championship?

After all, when you factor in all the circumstances surrounding Wakefield’s season last year, you begin to wonder if that was the best chance for a Leigh or a Bradford to get promotion and change the running order of the top flight.

Their preparations for the Million Pound Game were far from ideal with the off-field drama surrounding several key stars, yet they still got the job done and saw off Bradford, albeit in dramatic circumstances.

With a stronger Wakefield and the other teams in Super League also improving, where do the Championship clubs have a realistic chance of usurping a top-flight team in 2016?

Championship fans have already taken to social media expressing their concern, and such is the layout of the new structure, we won’t truly know whether those fears come to be true or not until the Super 8s begins midway through next year.

It’s all cheer for Wakefield fans at the minute as they look to build, recruit and improve. But the Championship is falling behind quickly, and it’s hard to see where a remedy comes from.