3rd November 2020, 15:44 | super_league

Betfred Super League to Move to Revised Play-Off Structure

Betfred Super League to Move to Revised Play-Off Structure

The 2020 Betfred Super League season will be reshaped through November in response to the impact of Covid-19 cases at two clubs, to produce a shoot-out for the League Leaders’ Shield followed by four elimination Play-Offs ahead of the Grand Final on Friday 27 November.

Following the confirmation yesterday (Monday) that Castleford Tigers are unable to play for at least another week after further positive tests, fixture planning for the remaining three rounds of the regular season was further complicated by news of a number of positive tests at Hull KR who this morning advised that they would not be able to fulfil their remaining three matches.

The Super League Board and the RFL Board has agreed on a revised format and Operational Rules (respectively), which will see the regular season wrapped up within the next four days, after which the top six teams in the table will qualify for the Play-Offs. The club that finishes seventh – either Salford Red Devils or Huddersfield Giants – will remain on standby.

As a consequence of the change in the Regular Season structure, the previous requirement for a Club to complete a minimum number of games (15) has been removed.

The two remaining Super League fixtures, both Round 20 matches to be played at Emerald Headingley on Friday 6 November, will see Wakefield Trinity and the Red Devils conclude their campaigns at 5.30pm on Sky Sports, which will be followed by the Warriors v Giants at 745pm, a fixture which will determine who wins the League Leaders’ Shield.  

The St Helens and Catalans Dragons fixture, scheduled for Thursday 5 November in Perpignan, will be cancelled, with both teams having already qualified for the top six, and due to an imminent national lockdown and concerns over international travel.

The Warriors hold top spot with a winning percentage of 75% after last Friday’s compelling derby victory at St Helens – but will face Giants knowing that defeat would hand the League Leaders’ Shield to Saints for a third consecutive season (on points difference percentage).

The top two teams will sit out the first round of the Play-Offs, while those finishing third to sixth in the table on win percentage move into the elimination matches. Those games will be played on November 12 and 13.

The winners will then face first and second in the semi-finals on November 19 and 20, at home venues, to determine who plays in the Betfred Super League Grand Final at the KCOM Stadium on Friday 27 November.

Super League Head of Commercial Rhodri Jones said: “The revised format to the play-off schedule provides fans and Sky Sports with an extended series of exciting knockout matches to finish the season.

“Nothing has been predictable in this 2020 season and we hope players, supporters and the media will appreciate why we have made this change.

“It has been enforced by the Covid cases at two clubs – but as those two clubs were already unable to finish in the top six, that provides the opportunity to rearrange the Play-Offs and to recognise the imbalance in completed fixtures, with Catalans Dragons having played only 13 matches while four of the other five teams in the top six have played 17.

“The Warriors have played 16, which strengthens the argument for them to play Huddersfield Giants in their scheduled fixture this weekend, with the opportunity to secure the League Leaders’ Shield – but needing a win to do so.

“We believe this revised structure provides the best and fairest way to ensure the two most deserving teams reach the Grand Final, while injecting great interest to fans by hosting more big matches at the end of the season.”

The five clubs at the bottom of the table after this week’s fixtures will stay on their current win percentages with the remaining fixtures struck out.

 

Remaining fixtures – all live on Sky Sports and available by the Our League app.

 

Friday 6 November (Emerald Headingley Stadium)

 

Wakefield Trinity v Salford Red Devils - 530pm

 

Wigan Warriors v Huddersfield Giants - 745pm

 

November 12 (Venue TBC) - Play-Offs Round 1 – 7:45pm

 

3rd v 6th

 

November 13 (Venue TBC) – Play-Offs Round 1 – 7:45pm

 

4th v 5th

 

November 19 – Semi-Finals (Venue of 1st)

 

1st v lowest-placed Play-Off winner

 

November 20 – Semi-Finals (Venue of 2nd)

 

2nd v highest-placed Play-Off winner

 

Friday 27 November: Betfred Super League Grand Final (KCOM Stadium, Hull)