Spicing Up The Super League Playoffs

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!

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7 thoughts on “Spicing Up The Super League Playoffs

  1. We should scrap the play offs in SL and just have a regular season. The top 4 play a 3 game league series with the top side having home advantage. The winner of the mini league then plays the NRL grand final winner for the world club challenge. The game can alternate between oz and uk or even nz if they ever do anything.

  2. Damn, that is a radical idea!

    See the beauty of my system is that, they don’t lose and games and they wouldn’t lose any gate takings because of it. They would probably make more money as more fans would turn up to see NRL teams play rather than Super League clubs who are dead ducks by this stage of the season.

  3. just can’t see SL clubs wanting 9th and 10th placed NRL clubs joining the playoffs and winning it.

    Think everyone would prefer a top 4 from SL and NRL in a world club challenge but that will never happen, so that’s why i reckon my idea would.

    also you you could do a mini league for promotion and relegation for SL, bottom 3 SL clubs and top championship side. Whoever finishes bottom they go down. That could run at the same time as the other mini comp for world club

    that would keep the bottom of the league exciting and pull in the crowds

  4. The problem is that you won’t get the NRL to change the way it does anything simply because it doesn’t have to. They have locked in their schedule for the next four years at least which means any changes that are made need to have zero effect on the set up the NRL has.

    There might be a chance to set up an expanded World Club Challenge, but even that is going to come at the expense of international football because once again, the NRL isn’t going to change its set up.

    That is why its so tough to come up with any changes that would work. You need to find a gap between March and October….and thats the entire season.

    That is why I think any chance we can get to utilize non playoff teams, we need to. These players and teams are match fit, ready to roll, and they are sitting at home watching on TV like the rest of us. Its like an untapped resource.

  5. I don’t like the idea, I think it gives an impression that undermines SL more than it adds benefits to it.

  6. I think the playoffs need fresh blood, it could give super league a big kick up the back side if nrl teams were successful. It would undoubtedly create bigger crowds over here and give better competition to the play offs. Only the deluded would think that a SL team could compete in the nrl for a season and come close to winning but 9th and 10th would be around the right level

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