Top Championship coaches back league restructuring

Three of the top coaches outside Super League have backed the sweeping changes that will impact on the game next year, as the pathway to Super League re-opens for Championship clubs.

Batley’s John Kear, Sheffield’s Mark Aston and Leigh’s Paul Rowley believe that the re-introduction of promotion and relegation is already having a huge impact on the game at Championship level, with the intensity of games already much higher than it was previously.

“The quality of the league has increased, it’s unpredictable and anybody can beat anybody. Every game is now a tough game and you have to always be at your best,” said Rowley.

“I think the chance of promotion has meant that high quality young players with lots of enthusiasm have signed up to Championship teams as a pathway into the top flight rather than just senior players coming into this league at the of their careers.

“There is a lot riding on this year and I think that the dual registration of players has also had a massive impact.”

Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston, who has won back to back Championship Grand Finals in the last two seasons, also claimed that the hunger to secure a top nine finish is clear to see and that teams are working harder than ever to ensure that they do not get relegated.

“There are five teams going down this season and you can sense the desperation, nobody wants to get relegated. Every team is getting better to avoid the drop and you really do have to have continuity this year to ensure you keep winning, this is no time to slip up,” said Aston.

Batley Bulldogs coach John Kear feels there has been increasing interest from Super League clubs for Championship players due to the high standard of Rugby League on show.

“The intensity has been raised massively and teams in Super League may be worried about two teams going down but we are going to lose a third of our league,” said Kear.

“It’s more important than ever that we turn up to every game and give it our all. You can see that the standard of the Championship has improved because Super League clubs are now looking to us for high quality players to sign up.” 

They were speaking on Super League TV’s On Report show.

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