Tomkins to Salford, reducing Super League and Rimmer’s risk

Sam Tomkins at Salford? Yeah, and Jonathan Thurston’s getting a run out for Hemel next week.

You can’t knock Dr Koukash’s ambition. You can’t knock Salford’s ability to command newspaper headlines on the back of Koukash’s not-so-secret moves for Adrian Morley, Rangi Chase and now Tomkins.

But hasn’t he got more important things to worry about than trying to sign a player whose next stop is the NRL or Twickenham?

Sunday’s win against Hull KR was a welcome boost for the Reds. Sunday’s attendance of just 1,989 was anything but.

Contacting Wigan is a statement of intent that, we assume, Koukash hopes will excite fans and boost the gates.

But he can’t honestly believe there is any chance of Tomkins swapping the DW Stadium for life just off the M60… can he?

Koukash is clearly a man in a hurry, but rebuilding Salford is going to take time and patience. No world-class players are going to be rushing there until the Reds have already shown some serious improvement – on and off the pitch.

Success for Salford surely means more than just a thrown-together bunch of mercenaries chasing Koukash’s money. It’s about a long-term vision that gradually repairs the damage done to the club over so many years.

Speaking of Hemel, they enter the sport’s semi-professional ranks on Sunday when they face Gloucestershire All Golds in the Northern Rail Cup.

The addition of Gloucester, Hemel and Oxford will reshape the Kingstone Press Championship One competition this year.

There are plenty of people who believe it is a disaster waiting to happen, and that Rochdale and Oldham – as the only two ‘traditional’ clubs in the competition – have found themselves in an unenviable position.

The success or otherwise of the new teams carries plenty of weight. Ralph Rimmer, the man now so closely linked with the semi-professional game, knows his own reputation is on the line.

If all three clubs go well in 2013, generating crowds, interest, players and results, then Rimmer’s status will be given a huge boost.

But if it all falls apart, the consequences for both Championship One and Rimmer’s credibility are dire.

Rimmer might well spend this week sat at Red Hall with a sense of nervousness.

However, there is at least one anonymous administrator who is looking forward to the new-look league.

“There’s going to big interest,” they said. “People want to see if it can work – and if not, they want to watch the car crash.”

Four games into the new Super League season, and already at least six of the current top eight are certs to reach the play-offs.

Having six teams out of 14 that can genuinely win the Grand Final is fantastic for the competition.

But it does not mean we should stop striving for even more unpredictability – and the only way to do that is to start getting ruthless. 

The number of teams in the competition needs reducing. Dropping to 12 would be a step in the right direction; chopping four and going to 10 would be ideal.

Every game would be intense, every game would mean something, and every game would attract a healthy crowd.

Super League should be a competition for the elite.


Got any thoughts on Salford, Super League or the new teams in Championship One? Drop your comments in the box below.

You can also follow Neil Barraclough on Twitter @neilbarraclough

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