After the dust has settled after the controversy surrounding the Super8s Qualifiers and the Million Pound Game, the teams who will be competing in the Championships in 2017 have been decided.
Jamie Peacock’s Hull K.R. must be thinking that the Gods have sided against them after they were resigned to play in the Million Pound Game after losing the last match of the season against Huddersfield to a last minute drop goal by Danny Brough (we remember, a tie would have been enough for the Robins). To rub the dirt in even more, they also lost this last match in dramatic fashion after Salford came back to score two tries in the last minute of the match, ultimately sealing victory in extra time with a drop goal again.
Of course sympathy for the Robins in the rest of the Champiosnhip is a little hard to find after Jamie Peacock’s remarks that money should be invested in the Superleague and not in the Championship
Yes Jamie, isn’t Karma a bitch?
Nevertheless, Hull KR are going to be the team to beat in 2017 after announcing that they will stay fulltime.
Other fulltimers in the Championship are feeling the pinch though. There are massive rumblings from Sheffield where the very future of the Eagles seems to be in some doubt, and the Bradford Bulls also seem to be struggling to keep things together. Meanwhile its not going smoothly for all part-timers either, as rumour has it that Halifax have asked their players to accept a cut in wages.
After a very successful season for the Bulldogs, finishing third in the league, the club have concentrated on strengthening the squad very early. New signatures include Joe Farrell from the Rams and Macauley Hallett from Swinton, as well as Trae O’Sullivan, Brad Hill, and Danny Bravo. On a season long loan from Castleford are Will Maher and Tom Holmes (you can keep up with the latest squad news here). All these players add depth to the squad and Batley can look forward to another exciting season next year.
In his first season as coach, Matt Diskin will take over an intact team from John Kear, to whom we say Goodbye, Thank You and Good Luck at Wakefield!! It will be interesting to see how Matt fits his future role, and the question that everyone at Batley is asking is, can The Bulldogs repeat this season’s success?
Thanks also go to players leaving the club, among others Keegan Hirst, who will be following John Kear to Wakefield and to full time Rugby.
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And while the Rugby League have their sights on expanding the game in France and as far as Canada with the introduction of Toronto Wolfpack to Championship 1, the game in Cumbria is dying after both Workington and Whitehaven dropped out of the Championships and Barrow failed to get back in. The future of the game in the far North-West looks very uncertain at present.
Somewhat surprisingly perhaps, Toulouse failed to gain direct promotion to the Championships, as Rochdale Hornets finished the campaign at the top of the division, and had to beat Barrow 32-22 in the Super8s final to earn the second promotion spot. Congratulations go out to both teams, but it was somehow symptomatic of the situation in the Rugby League World that a “new” team from France grabbed the last promotion spot from a Cumbrian team filled with tradition. The Heartlands are bleeding out…
The line up for next years competition then is thus..:
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