SUPER LEAGUE News & Rumours – “Wolfpack on Rocky Road to Restart”

Super League restart game schedule drops as teams scramble for restart. PLUS: The hits keep on coming for Sonny Williams and the Wolfpack.

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NEWS & RUMOURS – July 16, 2020

Super League releases rugby restart schedule and it isn’t all good. While the schedule looks like a jam-packed blessing for fans on the surface the game has been altered to fit safety and time measures, TV production is still taking shape and some teams are losing more than others:

A triple-header at Headingley is planned for the first afternoon back, with Hull KR set to take on Toronto Wolfpack in the first game, before St Helens meet Catalans Dragons and Leeds play Huddersfield Giants. The season has been shortened with every team required to play just 22 games before the play-offs begin, with loop fixtures being removed in order to bring the season to a close in November.” – Hull Daily Mail

“The fixtures announcement had been delayed on multiple occasions for a variety of reasons, with several clubs still locked in pay-cut disputes with players. There was then issues with Catalans wanting to play home games in France, where restrictions over crowds have been lifted, before a visa issue relating to Toronto’s overseas players surfaced this week.” – loverugbyleague.com

“Venues for the first three rounds after the coronavirus shutdown have been confirmed, with Leeds Rhinos’ Emerald Headingley staging three matches on Sunday, August 2 and then a pair of double-headers the following weekend, August 8 and 9. St Helens’ Totally Wicked Stadium will host all six matches on August 15 and 16, but from then on all venues are to be confirmed, though kick-off times for August 29 and 30 have been announced. All teams are facing midweek matches and most games after August are listed for either a Thursday or Friday.” – Yorkshire Evening Post

“Perhaps a bigger worry about the season resuming is the potential injury crisis that we will see, particularly when we start to introduce midweek matches towards the end of the season, when the players will be faced with playing eight games in six weeks. Unfortunately I think that the Super League clubs are trying to get a quart out of a pint pot. They are expecting players to take pay cuts, which I can fully understand, while asking them to play more than one game per week.”- totalrl.com

“The significance of home crowds to clubs and fans also means that dates and venues in the back end of the campaign will be reviewed as the season progresses, in line with government advice and in discussion with our host broadcaster, Sky Sports. The play-offs – comprising four teams – are scheduled for mid/late-November, while the Grand Final will take place at the end of November. Testing is now fully up and running and all Super League clubs will be back in training by the end of next week.” – therhinos.co.uk

We have needed the buy-in of our Clubs and support from Sky Sports and we’re delighted all parties have pulled together to allow us to announce our fixtures and provide the focus for the remainder of the 2020 season. It’s fantastic that all games in August will be live on Sky Sports. I’m also pleased to confirm that Sky Sports are supporting our efforts to explore other ways to bring as many games as possible into the homes of Super League fans.” – forty20.news

“But what we don’t know about yet is the fate of the Challenge Cup. There’s a simple reason for that. Of the 16 teams remaining in the Challenge Cup, five of those are non Super League sides. Unlike the top flight teams, Newcastle Thunder, Sheffield Eagles, Featherstone Rovers, Widnes Vikings and York City Knights do not know if they will play again this season. There is a desire from some Championship and League One sides to have some sort of competition this year, but serious questions remain over the practicalities of that given the costs involved.”- Hull Daily Mail

“Its been a bad week for the Toronto Wolfpack” might be the understatement of the Super League season with their campaign, best players and future in the league all in serious jeopardy:

Toronto Wolfpack have confirmed they will not be able to host games in Canada for the rest of the 2020 season. Their first game was supposed to take place in April against Hull FC, but that was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Currently, the city of Toronto is still in a partial lockdown. It has recorded over 1,100 deaths since the start of the pandemic.” – seriousaboutrl.com

“Toronto Wolfpack 2020 Season Members have the option to roll over their membership, or alternatively claim a full refund. Any members with the Go Pass bolt on, or the 2020 member scarf will be able to roll this over to 2021, or be refunded for this with their membership refund.” – torontowolfpack.com

Rugby league authorities say they are working with the Toronto Wolfpack to resolve a visa issue that could derail the transatlantic team’s attempt to resume play in England this summer. At issue are the visas that allow New Zealand star Sonny Bill Williams and six other imports — Australia’s Josh McCrone, Darcy Lussick and Blake Wallace, Australian-born Samoan international Ricky Leutele and New Zealand’s Chase Stanley and Bodene Thompson — to play in England.” – Bradford Today

“Wakefield Trinity have confirmed that Toronto Wolfpack winger Liam Kay will return to his former club on a loan deal for the remainder of the 2020 season before taking up a two year deal at The Mobile Rocket Stadium. The 28 year old winger originally made his first team debut for Wakefield back in 2012, but has spent the majority of his senior career in the Championship with successful spells at Leigh and most recently the Wolfpack for the last four seasons.”– forty20.news

I’m over the moon to be joining Wakefield, the place where I got handed my Super League debut,” said Kay. “I think the club itself has developed in leaps and bounds since the last time I was there so I’m really looking forward to getting back and getting stuck in.” – seriousaboutrl.com

“Fittingly Kay then became the first player to score in the top division for the Wolfpack when he opened the scoring against Castleford Tigers on February 2. In the face of a tough beginning to life in the Super League for Toronto, Kay has given his all every single time he has pulled on the Wolfpack jersey. A player and person that fans, teammates, coaches and staff have loved and respected throughout his journey with the Wolfpack, Liam Kay has been the ultimate team man every step of the way.” – torontowolfpack.com

Super Leagues teams are preparing to resume the season and are on the grind to prepare their facilities for play under new guidelines:

“Head of strength and conditioning Matty Daniels explained the thinking behind the move. He said;’ ‘The stadium lends itself to the systems and protocols which need to be put in place given the Covid-19 restrictions. ”The space inside the stadium allows us to spread the players out across a large area and ensures that everyone is adhering to the social distancing Government guidelines where possible.” – St. Helens Reporter