It has been generally accepted that 8 teams is too many for the Super League playoffs. There are simply not enough quality teams in Super League to justify so many teams qualifying for the finals series.
Most people believe the ideal number of teams would be five, but that is a problem in terms of how many games you have played over the plkayoffs. Cutting back from 8 teams to 5 teams would lose the game a lot of money and exposure, and that really isn’t something the game in Great Britain can afford to do.
So what if you keep the top 8 finals system, and add a little something extra to the mix?
What if the top 6 teams from Super League qualified for the Super league playoffs, and then the 9th and 10th ranked teams from the NRL season were invited to take part in what would still be an 8 team finals series?
The 9th and 10th placed NRL clubs would have an extra week to travel to England for the finals series, so timing is not a problem at all. They would also provide a lot more quality than the 7th and 8th placed Super League teams.
This season would have seen the St George/Illawarra Dragons and West Tigers qualify. So imagine if this was week one of the 2012 Super League playoffs:
Wigan vs Catalan Dragons
Warrington Wolves vs St Helens
Leeds Rhinos vs Wests Tigers
Hull FC vs St George/Illawarra Dragons
I don’t know about you lot but to me, that looks pretty blood exciting!
I think this would create some interest in Australia for the Super League playoffs. The one thing you would have to overcome is issue of an Australian team possibly winning the title and taking the trophy back home to Australia. That would be a tough sell in terms of the lost marketing opportunities you create around a Premiership winning side, but if you can look past that I think it would make for a really interesting concept.
The NRL teams would be coming over to England after a big Mad Monday celebration and carrying the effects of jet lag, so its not like they would have any sort of advantage at all over Super League teams. Also, being away from home wouldn’t be a problem as being ranked as the 7th and 8th qualifiers for the Super League playoffs would mean they wouldn’t get a home game during the playoffs anyway.
I’ve been saying for some time that Super League needs to show it has some value to the NRL so that NRL clubs don’t just pick the eyes out of the competition and sign their best players. I also think that as a game we lose money when non finals teams simply don’t play any more games during the rest of the year. This would help fix both problems to a certain extent and maybe even help Super League final some relevance in the worlds biggest Rugby League market back in Australia.
So what do you think? Is this a good idea or a bad idea? Have your say by commenting on this article!
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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