Analysing whether Hull FC’s IMG Grade A status is under threat

Aaron Bower
MKM Stadium Hull FC News Images

Photo: James Heaton/News Images

It’s been another big week in the IMG world in rugby league – with more details revealed about the grading schedules for the forthcoming months.

On Wednesday October 23, all of the sport’s professional clubs will learn what their official grading is – with the top 12 clubs getting a place in Super League for 2025.

But of all the clubs’ positions as things stand following a provisional release of the gradings late last year, it is Hull FC’s which offers some genuine intrigue. They were one of seven Super League clubs to be given an A grading after passing through the 15-point barrier at the end of last season.

But their score of 15.05 means they are only just on the brink of being inside the A bracket alongside the likes of Wigan Warriors, St Helens, Leeds Rhinos, Catalans Dragons, Hull KR and Warrington Wolves.

So are they under threat of losing that position? In short: possibly.

The challenge for FC could come in the performance aspect of the grading criteria. Clubs can earn a maximum of four points out of the available 20 – 20% of the total – based on where they finish in the league structure across the last three seasons.

READ NEXT: IMG grading dates revealed as Super League expansion addressed for 2025

The provisional gradings at the end of last season factored in finishes of 8th, 9th and 10th in the last three seasons – but the 2021 gradings will be removed from the equation at the end of this year, and replaced with where Hull finish this season. At the end of last season, the top 12-scoring clubs in the performance criteria were:

There is a real likelihood, therefore, that Hull could lose points in the performance criteria – with a drop of just one place taking their overall score below 15 points.

Leigh Leopards, for example, would almost certainly replace their 12th-placed finish in Super League in 2021 with a higher finish this year. Salford Red Devils will pull further away too – though Castleford Tigers are also in danger of losing points given how a 7th-placed finish from 2021 is going to drop off their performance criteria score.

Essentially, if Hull finish lower than 8th this year, they are at risk of losing their A grade – but they are not guaranteed to do so, Love Rugby League has been told.

Sources close to the club have indicated that FC have identified areas where they can further push up their score to potentially cancel out any drop that would come from league performance. However, it will without question be a razor-thin margin that once again determines whether FC finish the year as an A club, or a B club.

And with 20 per cent of the total grading up for grabs from league finish, Hull will be far from the only club nervously looking over their shoulders at where they finish in Super League – and how it will impact their final score come October.

READ NEXT: Where are they now? The Hull FC team from Tom Briscoe’s first debut