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Leigh Leopards clinging to Super League by skin of their teeth

The first ever IMG gradings have been revealed today with Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors and St Helens leading the away with Catalans Dragons, Warrington Wolves, Hull KR and Hull FC also picking up Grade A licences.

Of course these Grades are at present illustrative for clubs moving forward but within a year’s time the Grades will determine which clubs take part in Super League for the 2025 season.

Any club with a Grade A has a guaranteed spot in Super League, but those with a Grade B do not.

As you might expect the vast majority of clubs have Grade B licences. In fact there are 17 clubs with Grade Bs whilst a small cluster of clubs at the bottom have Grade C licences.

What’s interesting about those with Grade Bs is that three Super League clubs do not rank within the top 10.

These are the Leigh Leopards, Castleford Tigers and London Broncos. Instead Toulouse Olympique rank above them in 10th as do relegated Wakefield Trinity in 11th.

Leigh sit in 12th meaning that if the rankings did determine Super League positions they would be holding onto their Super League status by the skin of their teeth.

This is quite surprising given the level of investment from Derek Beaumont, the success of their rebrand and where they finished in the 2023 season.

They took fifth spot making the play-offs having won the Challenge Cup Final against Hull KR. But they still ended on a score of 12.45.

Firstly, this illustrates how important on field performance is. It is well documented that a controversial Jake Wardle try coupled with a massive points difference swing on the final day of the regular season saw them lose fourth spot to Hull KR.

This would have awarded them further points in the IMG rankings.

But concerningly, due to errors made by the RFL and Castleford – who finished 13th – it seems the Tigers could be eligible for a further half a point.

This half point would take their score 12.46 and above the Leopards.

This shows that the Leopards have work to do before the 2025 season where these grades will determine Super League positions but Derek Beaumont will likely lead the way.

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