SUPER LEAGUE News & Rumours – May 29, 2020: “Money, Power, Respect”

Players Play for Power Amid Cap Concerns as Super League Restart Starts to Take Shape. PLUS: Sonny Williams, Greg Inglis and the return of NRL.

-

NEWS & RUMOURS – May 29, 2020

After eliminating one of the more ambitious restart scenarios from their list Super League has all insured that the 2020 season will be shortened:

“It is understood the most ambitious of the plans, the third option with the January Grand Final date, is no longer under active consideration by the 12 clubs. The league has also set a target of playing in front of fans again as soon as October.” – Warrington Guardian

“The third proposal of extending the season into January, with games on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, was the most radical suggested and offered an opportunity to play the entire season minus the Magic Weekend, but that option now looks off the table.” – Hull Daily Mail

 

After concerns that the salary cap would be lowered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic Super League confirmed after a vote that next year’s cap would remain at £2.1m:

Super League sides will be allowed to spend up to £2.1m on players next season – the same as at present. A statement from the competition confirmed: “At a general meeting this afternoon [Thursday], Betfred Super League clubs voted unanimously in favour of retaining the salary cap at existing levels for the 2021 season.” – Yorkshire Post

Clubs voted unanimously to retain the salary cap at the existing level of £2.1m for 2021, but need more time to consider plans which could see the league return in mid-August.” – skysports.com

A host of clubs had previously called for the cap to be slashed by £300,000 as they deal with the financial damage caused by coronavirus. But every single club voted to leave the salary cap at £2.1million for next season at Thursday’s general meeting.” – Hull Daily Mail

“In recent weeks, Hull FC and Hull KR had led the fight to reduce the salary cap, with Leeds Rhinos, Castleford Tigers, Huddersfield Giants and Wakefield Trinity also campaigning for change. The position of those clubs was based on the belief the game needed to address the major financial concerns it is facing, with a reduction in the cap helping those sides worst hit financially by the coronavirus pandemic, while also keeping the integrity of the competition without a massive divide in wages being spent.” – Hull Daily Mail

The decision was reached at a general meeting this afternoon, and follows some calls for the maximum spend on players’ wages to be decreased from £2.1m following the difficulties experienced this year due to the season suspension and lockdown forced by the coronavirus pandemic.” – St. Helens Star

“Hetherington insisted: “You don’t need to be an economist to work out if your income is going to be significantly reduced, that has to be reflected in your costs. “Everybody has got to share in that pain and players are part of that mix. The players have already done their bit, significantly. Players – and staff – have got nowhere near the credit they deserve for their actions this year. Players at every club have taken significant cuts this year, up to 50 per cent in some cases.” – Yorkshire Post

 

Official Super League statement regarding the salary cap from executive Chairman Robert Elstone:

“The unanimous vote is another example of the unity shown by our clubs in response to the significant challenges posed by Covid-19. “Whilst we will continue to apply the existing levels of scrutiny to all costs, today’s decision underlines our commitment to ensuring Super League remains strong and competitive, and also shows confidence in our ability to manage the competition through these uncertain times.” – superleague.com

 

Smells like the start of a movement. Player power has gained across leagues around the world but has remained remarkably static in rugby league as the sport struggles with stability. The pandemic has opened the doors to all types of new challenges and has expedited many an issue. It would seem player power in Super League has come to the forefront again:

“Super League players will on Wednesday launch a campaign to have a bigger say in the sport’s key issues – starting with the proposals to lower next year’s salary cap. The GMB union – which now has around 80 percent of the competition’s players as members – has formed a committee made up of senior figures from each Super League squad. They want more of a say in the running of the sport, with proposals to bring next season’s salary cap from £2.1million to £1.8million top of their list.” – mirror.co.uk

“Carvell insists it is time they had a say on matters that directly affect them, following in the footsteps of the Rugby League Players Association which is in a strong position Down Under. Around 80 per cent of Super League players are now involved in the union and throughout the day they will be posting blue squares on social media, followed by the message: ‘United we stand to work together for a greater game #onevoice’” – Hull Daily Mail

 

Featherstone Rovers coach James Webster and others still have mixed emotions about Super League’s restart:

“This year’s Championship Grand Final winners are due to be promoted, in place of the 12th-placed Super League team. Rovers lost to Toronto Wolfpack in the 2019 title decider and are unbeaten in all competitions this season. “I don’t think there will be relegation,” Webster said. “I think it all depends on how much integrity the competition has. If it has got some integrity about it, then there should be [promotion].” – Yorkshire Post

“Hull KR head coach Tony Smith has warned that a January finish to the season could have disastrous consequences both short and long term. Super League is planning to return in August, with three proposals on the table after being drawn up by clubs. While playing almost a full season would allow Super League to fulfil their commitment to Sky Sports and swell the coffers of cash-strapped clubs, Smith believes the integrity of next year’s competition would be compromised and it would lead to an inferior product.” – Hull Daily Mail

 

Sonny Bill Williams on his very unique first season with the Toronto Wolfpack:

“The biggest thing is the amount of support. You go away from home, and as a Toronto side, we’ve played all our home games away from home also, the amount of support I’ve got from a personal point of view has been really uplifting.” – seriousaboutrl.com

 

More Inglis:

“Inglis will be 34 when he makes his debut for Warrington in March. After overcoming fitness and mental health issues since retiring in April 2019, Inglis was confident of helping Warrington break their title drought – like he did in 2014 when South Sydney claimed their first premiership in 43 years. “To bring something back like that, getting it over the line, it wouldn’t be just me adding to the team,” he said.” – canberratimes.com

Super League clubs have been offered Canterbury Bulldogs back Kerrod Holland for the 2021 season. The 27-year-old is off-contract with the Bulldogs and TotalRL understands his representatives have alerted clubs to his availability in the past week. Holland made his NRL debut with the Bulldogs back in 2016 and has made 61 appearances for the club since, including 14 last season.”- totalrl.com

 

Looks like the artificial crowd noise technology has come a long way. NRL fans seemed impressed after the league returned to action this week:

“Super League would no doubt have watched on with interest and noted the overall positive reaction to the crowd noise. We’ve gathered some of the best reaction from players, coaches, journalists and fans to rugby league’s long-awaited return below.”- Hull Daily Mail

 

Warriors’ Adrian Lam is trying to keep the momentum going after three-month layoff:

“They had won five of their opening seven league games to take an early lead in the table. And fans had seen some exciting combinations from the likes of Bevan French and Jackson Hastings, as well as the return from injury of Dom Manfred. “When we broke, we were on top of the table and we were playing some good rugby league,” said Lam. “The important thing for us is to make sure we just get back into that rhythm and that’s something the coaching staff have to work on.” – Wigan Today

 

The “return Round” has a nice ring to it as rugby league got back to business in Australia:

“It was the opening game of the NRL’s return round due to the coronavirus pandemic. The competition was suspended on March 23 – but it got back underway on May 28 behind closed doors. Parramatta got off to the perfect start as Marata Niukore barged over next to the posts in the third minute, with Lebanon international Mitch Moses adding the extras.” – loverugbyleague.com

 

Wolfpack add intelligence?

“The IT solutions company, who’s UK base is in Warrington, will also be offering the Wolfpack advice on their digital strategy. Like the Wolfpack, Agrinote Holdings are also a transatlantic company. They have connections in the UK, Europe and North America.” – seriousaboutrl.com