Mason: We’re playing too many games

Former St Helens and Huddersfield forward Keith Mason believes the quality of Super League can be improved by reducing the number of games.

The 37-year-old, who made over 250 first grade appearances, believes the current fixture schedule is putting too much strain on players.

Speaking on Serious About Rugby League’s podcast, Mason wasn’t shy in sharing his opinions on the competition’s current schedule.

“I still watch the game with interest,” he said. “The first thing that stands out to me is the amount of games we are playing.

“At the moment there are 28 games plus playoffs and Challenge Cup, we’re talking about nearly 40 games a season for some.

“We have to make player welfare a bigger priority. For me 24 games is enough before the playoffs, like they do in Australia.

“If we want to get the best out of the players and see them perform to that elite level every week then that would be a good change.”

Adding further to his argument, Mason, who had a two-year stint with Melbourne Storm early in his career, believes Super League should copy the NRL format.

“There isn’t much difference between the two competitions,” he explained. “People put a big gap between Super League and the NRL but that isn’t the case.

NRL clubs have won six of the last seven World Club Challenge titles. Credit: Terry Donnelly/News Images

“The only thing in the NRL is they have that intensity every week, but they play fewer games and that is something we need to look at.”

Great Britain’s weary performances on their recent end-of-season Oceania tour had many questioning Super League’s schedule.

Mason has no doubt it contributed to their failures and believes it will continue to restrict the progress of the international team.

“It was obvious to me that the players were fatigued,” he said. “A lot of them had just played a full season, Challenge Cup and play-off rugby.

“We played four games on that tour but look how many players got injured. We were struggling for numbers at the end of it.

“We have to reduce the number of games for the player’s sake otherwise we will continue to do ourselves harm at international level.”

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