The new league structures recently announced by the RFL certainly offer an exciting future for the sport. The return of promotion and relegation will mean that there will be far more competitive games right through to the end of the season.
Currently we have 14 teams in Super League, 14 in the Championship and 9 in Championship 1.
From 2015 that will move to 12 in Super League, 12 in the Championship and 14 in Championship 1 with that league being increased by the introduction of a new team who will be confirmed by the RFL in due course.
Super League and the Championship will each play a full season home and away.
The regular season will also see the introduction of a “Magic” weekend for the Championship in addition to the Super League “Magic” weekend.
At the end of the season Super League and the Championship will then be split into three groups of 8.
The top 8 will compete for the SL Grand Final as Now.
The second 8 will comprise of teams finishing 9th to 12th in Super League and teams 1st to 4th in the Championship. They will compete to see which of those 4 will earn the right to compete in Super League the following season and which of the 4 will play in the Championship.
The bottom 8 will then compete to see who will get relegated to Championship 1. The team finishing bottom will be relegated and be replaced by the team finishing top of Championship 1. The team finishing second from bottom in the Championship will then go into a further play off competition with teams finishing 2nd to 6th in Championship 1 to decide the final Championship place for the following season.
It really will be a case of “Every Minute Matters”!
To get us to that operating model the 2014 season is being billed as ” The Transitional Year”.
How will this work?
Firstly, at the end of this season teams finishing 13th and 14th in Super League will be automatically relegated to the Championship.
Secondly, teams finishing 10th to 14th in the Championship will be automatically relegated to Championship 1.
Finally, to complete the transition, the team winning the Championship 1 Grand Final will then be promoted to the Championship.
So what does that mean for us at Hunslet?
Well that’s simple really. We would need to win the Championship 1 Grand Final this year which would then see us in the Championship at the start of the new structure in 2015.
Make no mistake this is a fabulous opportunity for us but there are a number of other Clubs in Championship 1 this season who will be thinking exactly the same. This will be an exciting and competitive league but we feel we have gathered a squad that gives us every chance of achieving our goal. Nonetheless we will need to be at our very best every week and there will certainly be no easy games. This will be a very tough competition to win.
As a Board our medium term goal is to secure promotion to the Championship and establish ourselves as a solid competitive side in that league. This will be supported off field with continued hard work to:
Strengthen our links with the local community
Retain our current Business Partners and Identify new long term Business Partners
Retain our current sponsors and Identify new long term sponsors
Establish closer and stronger links with Leeds City Council allowing us:
Stability through a long term lease
A joint approach to increasing revenue streams
To assess the feasibility of creating a new Community Stand opposite the main grandstand
Of course a key factor in all of this is that you as our fans buy into this vision and help us to achieve it. The best way to do that is to continue to attend regularly, bring along your friends and family and spread the word that Hunslet is the place to be. Don’t forget our recently launched membership packages which also allow you to support the Club financially whilst receiving a wide range of benefits in return. There are packages to suit all pockets so I’d urge you to consider them.
It’s exciting times ahead, so let’s take this journey together.
I am Hunslet. You are Hunslet. We are Hunslet.