Smith calls out Super League for being “open for manipulation”

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Hull KR head coach Tony Smith has criticised the current Super League system, claiming it has left itself open to manipulation.

The competition reverted to the former promotion and relegation system in 2019, leaving behind the controversial Super 8’s format.

Rovers are one of five clubs still battling it out for survival, with London Broncos currently sat at the bottom of the table.

“It’s amazed everybody how many points you need to be safe, whether that’s right or wrong that’s for others to discuss,” he told Hull Live.

Tony Smith isn’t a fan of the Super League system.

“I think it’s contentious. There’s a lot to lose for some team this year and for it not to be clear cut the way it’s been done, will leave a bitter taste in somebody’s mouth.  

“I’m not a fan of promotion and relegation but I certainly think this system is better than the last, which was bonkers. This is better-ish.

“I’m a licensing person – play by the rules and have the best candidates in the top flight. When I say best candidates I mean all round, to be financially stable and have a good business. They need to be in.

“What I’m suggesting is in years gone by there have been certain rules and regulations about fielding certain quality of teams. We’ve just left ourselves open as a sport now that anyone weak, anybody can decide to put out any kind of team they want for their own reasons.

In July, St Helens were criticised for fielding a weaker side against London the week before their Challenge Cup semi-final with Halifax.

St Helens coach Justin Holbrook rested a number of players against London.

Saints lost that game 32-12, which could still have a direct impact on the outcome of the competition.

“We’ve got no regulation over that anymore and whilst I’d be tempted to do it myself at certain stages… last week I probably didn’t put out the best team on paper but I certainly put out the best team that could physically cope.

“We’ve got no reply to anybody putting out a team of whatever standard they want which leaves the sport open for manipulation of how the competition could finish.

“For instance, if there were a couple of teams in the final week that were vying for promotion or fighting against relegation, if there was a preference a team could field a weakened team against one of those lesser teams and there’s nothing we could do about it.

“Promotion and relegation works on the basis of attrition and if it’s done properly the weakest team goes down. I think there will be conjecture at some stage this year unless one particular team goes down.”


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