Super League facing potential play-off row involving Wigan Warriors and Huddersfield Giants

Super League chiefs are facing a play-off semi-final schedule headache – if Wigan Warriors or Huddersfield Giants finish second.

The top two – St Helens are firm favourites to lift the League Leaders’ Shield – aren’t involved until the second stage of the play-offs, when they have home advantage over the lowest-ranked remaining team and the winner of the other eliminator respectively.

The first semi-final will be on Friday, September 16, screened by Sky Sports, and the second the following lunchtime, broadcast by Channel 4.

Usually, the League Leaders’ Shield winners play in the earliest of the two ties, so providing the advantage of having longest time before the Grand Final, this year at Old Trafford on Saturday, September 24.

Should Saints finish top as expected, that would in theory leave the runners-up to play their semi-final on the Saturday (September 17).

However Wigan Athletic, the Warriors’ landlords at the DW Stadium, have a home match against Reading on that day, while Huddersfield Town, with whom the Giants share the John Smith’s Stadium, host Cardiff City.

Neither Saints, Wigan Athletic nor Huddersfield Town would be likely to willingly accept a fixture change, so Super League would have to make a ruling on the schedule, or the Warriors or Giants would have to find an alternative venue.

That happened with Wigan in 2008, when they beat Bradford Bulls 30-14 at Widnes in a play-off eliminator.

A Super League spokesman said: “Discussions on scheduling with all concerned stakeholders, including both Super League’s broadcast partners, Sky Sports and Channel 4, are ongoing.”

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