Powell: We face an uncertain future

Castleford boss Daryl Powell has urged rugby league not to quit in light of yet more unprecedented challenges for the game.

A surge in coronavirus cases this week has thrown the 2020 campaign into doubt again, with Powell’s Tigers unable to field a team against Leeds on Thursday night.

Speaking on what lies ahead, Powell believes the sport must stand tall in the face of adversity and finish the current Super League season at all costs.

He said: “As difficult as it is, I think to scrap the season would be disastrous and I would hate to see that happen.

“We have to get through. It is really important but it will be tough. Cases are rising a bit more but we have to be really diligent and get through this.

“I think the Challenge Cup Final is in a couple of weeks’ time and that will be one of the competitions concluded, then of course there is getting through to the Grand Final.

“Rugby league is a tough sport, played by tough people from generally working class areas where they want to see the sport played.

“As difficult as it is I just do not think we should consider quitting. We do not quit in rugby league, we crack on as much as we can until it is an impossible situation.

“It may come to that, I do not know, but until there is no other option, we have to keep going.”

Although there is a belief the season will manage to finish, there remains huge concerns on the long-term damage the pandemic will have on the sport.

There have been no supporters at matches since Castleford defeated St Helens in March and Powell believes what happens next season will shape rugby league’s future.

“I think it will depend on next year how much damage will be done,” he said. “All sports rely on spectators going to watch them and paying the money at the bar or through the gates.

“Football is the biggest sport in the world but even that is going to be compromised massively if we do not get people in.

“Next season is going to be absolutely crucial. The start date for that and what happens with Covid is going to dictate what that looks like.”

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