Super League chairman Ken Davy has given fans an update on the future of the game as well as praise all those involved in the 2021 season.
Davy’s statement reads: “As the dust settles on another fantastic season in the Betfred Super League, it’s time to take a breath and reflect on the achievements we have seen this year.
“Firstly, I would like to congratulate St Helens on making it a hat-trick of Grand Final victories following a nail-biting 12-10 win over Catalans Dragons last weekend. To keep that level of consistency across three seasons is a remarkable accomplishment for the whole club.
“The Dragons proved formidable opponents in their maiden Grand Final appearance and I am sure Steve McNamara will be doing all he can to build on this season, which also saw them lift the League Leaders’ shield for the first time in their history.
“A special mention and huge congratulations must also go to the St Helens Women’s team who claimed a treble of their own this year, securing the Challenge Cup, League Leaders’ shield and Grand Final trophies.
“Next season we welcome a second French team into Super League for the first-time following Toulouse Olympique’s 34-12 victory in the Million Pound Game. I look forward to Toulouse embracing their opportunity in Super League and providing an additional route to the elite level for more French players.
“I would also like to thank our fantastic commercial and broadcast partners who continue to support and champion the sport. I was delighted that we were able to announce a two-year extension to Betfred’s sponsorship ahead of the Grand Final, making them the joint longest serving title partner for Super League.
“This announcement on the back of the news earlier in the year of an extension to our relationship with Sky Sports I think stands the sport in great stead for the future.
“In 2021 we’ve seen some great viewing figures for Super League games on Sky Sports this year with more games than ever before breaking the 200,000-viewer mark with over double that number tuning in to watch the Grand Final. The games attracting over 200,000 viewers involved 10 different clubs, showing that the game’s popularity with viewers is across the league.
“A final thank you must go to the fantastic athletes who turn out week-in-week-out giving the fans (back) in the stands plenty to shout and cheer about. Without your amazing skills our sport is nothing.
“We cannot start to look ahead to 2022 season without acknowledging the challenges still facing the game. As with all areas of society, Rugby League has been massively affected by the global pandemic and whilst the green shoots of recovery are beginning, I hope for a full return to normality next year and hope to see plenty more fans return to our stadiums.
“Our on-going talks with the Rugby Football League on re-alignment of the whole sport are progressing well and with the future of the sport as our sole focus, I hope we will be able to update everyone on this in the not-too-distant future.
“I, for one, am already looking forward to the start of the 2022 and another exciting and action packed Super League season.
“Let’s all look forward to an exciting future.
Super League Chairman”