Mailbox: Adopting a conference system

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Hi James,

Had some free time today and thought about a way that restructure of the league could work. All teams would be franchised with 32 team slots available. For arguments sake I have created 4 pools of 8 teams in conferences called Eastern, Central, Western and Expansion based on geographical location. Each team would play everyone in their conference home and away to finalise the pool.

Then the teams across all the conferences would create new conferences for the 2nd half of the season after a challenge cup or international break and the top 2 teams of each conference would then create a new pool called Champions pool, 3rd and 4th teams Middle Cup 5th and 6th teams Middle plate and 7th and 8th teams 1895 shield. Each new conferences would play each other again home and away with winners decided by who tops the conferences.

This way the first half of the season would contain your local derby matches and seeding of teams, whilst the 2nd half you wouldn’t get all the additional loop fixtures and you are playing teams that are ranked as a similar footing to you. Below as an example

Eastern
1. Hull FC
2. Hull KR
3. York City Knights
4. Newcastle Thunder
5. Doncaster
6. Sheffield Eagles
7. Edinburgh Eagles
8. Whitley Bay Barbarians
Central
1. Leeds Rhinos
2. Bradford Bulls
3. Wakefield Trinity
4. Huddersfield Giants
5. Halifax
6. Castleford Tigers
7. Batley
8. Featherstone Rovers
West
1. St Helens
2. Wigan
3. Salford Red Devils
4. Leigh Centurions
5. Widnes
6. Warrington Wolves
7. Oldham
8. Whitehaven
Expansion Overseas
1. Toronto
2. Toulouse
3. Catalans
4. Ottawa
5. New York
6. Valencia
7. Barcelona
8. London Broncos

Stuart Morris

Editor’s comment: The conference style system certainly gives flexibility to expand and incorporate more overseas teams, though whether some of the bigger clubs would ever agree to surrendering control over the “big games” remains to be seen. Saints and Wigan, for instance, wouldn’t want to be overshadowed by a Barcelona v Toronto clash, which could happen if the conferences become distant. There’s also the question of competition within the pools – Oldham and Whitehaven would have to improve considerably to be able to compete with Saints and Wigan, as well as improve their facilities.

Mailbox gives you the chance to get your voice heard and start the debate with the rugby league audience. Want to be featured? Email the editor: [email protected]