Talking Rugby by Chris Marsden
Les Catalans started in Super League this year and are immune from relegation until 2008. But why did they start in Super League while Celtic Crusaders started in National League Two. I've been on the Celtic Crusaders official website and looked at their results and for a new team they have settled in well to the National League. But Catalans started in the Super League. Why?
Correct me if I'm wrong but Les Catalans/UTC were established before the Celtic Crusaders. That is the only reason I can think of why they were placed above Celtic Crusaders when the RFL probably didn't compare the clubs. Catalans signed four quality players – Stacey Jones, Ian Hindmarsh, Justin Murphy and Michael Dobson. The reason these four players were attracted to Catalans was the prospect of playing for a new Super League team. If they had started in the National League them four players wouldn't have come. They have made two decent performances all season that I can remember Wigan (Home) and Warrington (Away).
On Sky I've seen them play Bradford, Wigan and Wakefield and on all three occasions they completely collapsed. Then they only just struggled to win against a team of St Helens teenagers. Are they up to the standard of Super League? It was also unfair on the Widnes Vikings to dump them into the National League because only one team is supposed to be relegated from the Super League. But they were shoved aside for Catalans.
It's a very cruel sport. On Friday Wakefield matched a Leeds team who were played well and scrapped brilliantly and I think they were so much better than Catalans. The RFL are talking about scrapping the promotion and relegation in 2008. But that means Catalans will still be in Super League when they could have got better or worse. If they got worse they would be anchored at the foot of the table.
Also if promotion and relegation was scrapped it ends competition and excitement at the bottom of Super League and National League.