Six things rugby league should scrap

James Gordon

Super League Castleford v Hull KR - Friday 1 March

A few things that we thing should be ditched to make things better…


The return of the reserves system from next season could spell the end of the dual-registration system, though the likelihood is that it will continue. If it does, then more stringent restrictions need to be placed, to prevent teams like Featherstone using more than 20 loan and dual-registration players in a season. It doesn’t help the integrity of the game having such varying strengths of the same team week on week, and it also harms those clubs looking to run sustainable operations producing their own players.

Announcing 19-man squads

The whole announcing a 19-man squad 48 hours before a game has descended in to farce this season, with a number of clubs putting out players on match day who hadn’t been included without any apparent sanction from Super League or the RFL (whoever’s responsibility it is these days). If clubs can so freely chop and change players, even if injury is a reason, then why bother. It’s probably an administrative task that clubs could do without too.

Ticket price hikes

Whether it’s delusion of grandeur or a genuine business theory, the fact the majority of rugby league clubs hike up their prices for fans buying on a match day is a nonsense. Yes it is understandable clubs wanting to get tickets sold up front, rather than relying on cash on the day, but they are missing out on casual fans. The theory is that you get a “discount” for buying up front, but that’s a load of rubbish – not one club has reduced prices for the advanced purchase, they’ve just added a few quid on a match day. If you’re determined to have a lower price for before the game, market it as a discount – not a “prices go up £2 on a match day”. Or just scrap it altogether. It’s not as if grounds are anywhere near full anyway.

Family game image

Let’s drop the notion that rugby league is a family game. It is no more of a family game than many other sports. It’s a load of blokes (or women) running as hard as they can at each other. The ugly scenes in Perpignan on Saturday are perhaps the exception rather than the rule, but the number of people rather mistakenly saying that rugby league is marketed as a “family game” was surprising. I’m not aware of any central marketing campaign around that in recent years, plus relying too heavy on a family game image is probably off putting to sponsors – given the large part of the sponsorship market cannot target families, specifically kids, anyway.

Loop fixtures

One year in, and we’re already sick of loop fixtures. Just how many times does one have to watch Warrington play Wigan. Get rid and be creative. Either make the league up to 14 teams, ala the Championship, invent a new competition – maybe against NRL clubs, or add some more representative fixtures to the calendar. You can have too much of a good thing, and the slumps in attendances and general feeling around repetitive games shows that.

Easter double header weekend

It’s nice to have two games to go to over the Easter weekend, but the facts don’t lie. The Monday games are often poorer in quality, crowds are lower and coaches by and large don’t like them. There is of course the issue of how you balance out who gets a home game and who doesn’t, but if you make use of the additional Bank Holiday weekends in May, surely that could be worked out.

What else would you get rid of in rugby league? Let us know in the comments below.