Coronavirus: Super League cuts regular season short and revises play-off format

By Sports Desk November 03, 2020

The Super League regular season has been cut short and a revised play-off format introduced after further positive coronavirus tests at Castleford Tigers and Hull KR.

After being informed that Castleford would be unable to play for another week and that Rovers could not fulfil their final three fixtures, a decision to wrap up the regular season this week was taken.

The top six clubs will now qualify for the play-offs, with the team that finishes seventh – Salford Red Devils or Huddersfield Giants – remaining on standby in case of further planning issues caused by COVID-19.

Super League has removed the previous requirement for a team to complete a minimum of 15 games, meaning Catalans Dragons will be able to take part in the knockout stages.

The teams that finish in the top two positions will sit out the first round of the play-offs, which are scheduled to begin on November 12, with the Grand Final taking place at the KCOM Stadium in Hull on November 27.

The final game of the regular season will see Wigan Warriors attempt to clinch the League Leaders' Shield against the Giants on Friday, knowing that defeat will hand the trophy to St Helens for a third straight year. Salford play Wakefield earlier in the day.

Saints' meeting with the Dragons, which was slated to take place on Thursday, has been cancelled due to the imminent national lockdown in the United Kingdom and heightened concerns over international travel.

Super League head of commercial Rhodri Jones said: "Nothing has been predictable in this 2020 season and we hope players, supporters and the media will appreciate why we have made this change.

"We believe this revised structure provides the best and fairest way to ensure the two most deserving teams reach the Grand Final.

"I'm sure everyone will be excited about five huge games, set to deliver an even more exciting climax to the 2020 season."

Related items

  • Bradford Bulls' Flanagan gets 10-game ban for 'attacking opponent's testicles' Bradford Bulls' Flanagan gets 10-game ban for 'attacking opponent's testicles'

    Bradford Bulls hooker George Flanagan has been banned for 10 games after being found guilty of "attacking an opponent's testicles".

    The incident occurred in the 32nd minute of the Challenge Cup clash with Featherstone Rovers on March 21.

    Flanagan, who denied the charge, was issued with the ban and a £250 fine after the Rugby Football League's match review panel referred the matter to a tribunal.

    The RFL described it as a "Grade F incident", the most serious grading.

    Flanagan was given an eight-match suspension in 2019 for a similar incident involving Toronto Wolfpack's Hakim Miloudi.

  • Sonny Bill Williams hints at boxing return after retiring from rugby Sonny Bill Williams hints at boxing return after retiring from rugby
  • Cam Smith retires: Storm and NRL legend's career in numbers Cam Smith retires: Storm and NRL legend's career in numbers

    It is the end of an era in Melbourne and the NRL.

    Cameron Smith – arguably rugby league's greatest ever player – ended speculation over his future by announcing his retirement on Wednesday.

    The 37-year-old star and future Immortal retires a one-club player – Smith was out of contract following 18 years with Melbourne Storm.

    After Smith officially put an end to his playing career midweek, we look into the numbers behind the Storm, Queensland Maroons and Australia legend thanks to Opta.

     

    430 – Smith holds the record for most NRL games following a glittering career in the Australian competition, having debuted for the Storm in 2002. He is the only player to have amassed over 400 appearances.

    310 – He also holds the record for most wins in premiership matches. Of those victories, 242 were as skipper – the most as a captain.

    2,786 – No player has scored more points in NRL premiership history than the hooker, well ahead of Hazem El Masri (2,418) and Johnathan Thurston (2,222).

    1,295 – Smith stands alone for goals kicked in the NRL – 353 more than any other player in premiership history.

    16,913 – Not just an elite kicker, Smith tallied the most tackles by any player since the beginning of the NRL era in 1998.

    3 – Smith ends his NRL career with Premierships in 2012, 2017 and 2020. It could have been five, but the Storm were stripped of Grand Final triumphs in 2007 and 2009 due to salary-cap breaches.

    42 – A Maroons veteran, he is the most-capped player in State of Origin history. Smith first appeared for Queensland in 2003.

    56 – Smith represented Australia more than fifty times. Only Darren Lockyer (59) managed more than Smith for the Kangaroos.

    33 – Lockyer (38) is the only player to have captained Australia on more occasions than Smith, who led the country to Rugby League World Cup glory in 2013 and 2017.

    2 – Smith was crowned the NRL's best and fairest player in 2006 and 2017. Only Thurston (four) and Andrew Johns (three) earned more honours.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.