Another radical change to the Super League season could see the campaign come to an end this weekend, with an extended play-off structure brought into place instead.
League Express can reveal Super League’s fixtures working group has explored the possibility of shortening the season and adding additional teams to the play-off picture.
Initially, talks had been kept informal but key figures from several clubs, including Leeds and Warrington, have shown support for an extended play-off system that would reduce the number of games players are being asked to play while adding a level of meaningfulness to the remaining fixtures.
Five clubs are currently chasing four play-off places and with no relegation at the end of the season, some remaining games are effectively dead rubbers.
With player welfare already a concern, and Covid-19 cases continuing to wreak havoc across the competition, there are growing calls to change the structure again.
That could see a five, six or even eight-team play-off structure put in place to fill the two weekends that would be left vacant by cutting the regular season short.
As it stands, there are five weeks of the season remaining, with the Grand Final set to take place on November 27th at the KCOM Stadium.
Currently, there are two weekends scheduled for the play-offs, but five, six and eight team formats are all based on four weekends of action.
Clearly, a change to the schedule would mean all clubs haven’t played each other twice, but with Catalans already having five games cancelled, including many against top-half sides, it is not perceived to be as big a concern as it would have been in other circumstances.
It means players are also not being asked to put their bodies at risk for meaningless games after a brutal schedule, while it would mean that Sky Sports would have a set of fixtures that all have a clear importance, as opposed to the current format.
Though a decision hasn’t been made yet, talks are set to take place this week.
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