A lot of focus today has been on who will leave the Championship for Super League with Leigh and Batley set to meet in the Million Pound Game tonight.
However, the question over who would be promoted to the second tier alongside Keighley Cougars who finished top of League 1 was yet to be decided following the relegation of Dewsbury Rams and Workington Town.
The League 1 play-offs boiled down to a Lancashire vs Yorkshire battle between Swinton and Doncaster for the final place in the second tier, made all the more important by the changing landscape of rugby league following IMG’s recommendations this week.
In the final it was Doncaster who opened the scoring after just three minutes, a recurring theme in this year’s big games. The try went the way of big centre Jason Tali who squeezed the ball down in the corner despite attention from opposition defenders.
So the away side led, but before the end of the first quarter, Swinton had drawn level through Jordan Case. He carved through Doncaster with ease to dot down under the stick which made the conversion a formality as the Lions took a 6-4 lead.
But, before the halftime break, Doncaster drew level through a penalty leaving nothing between the two teams going into the second half with Championship rugby beckoning both.
Just as in the first half, Doncaster struck first in the second. Not quite as quickly this time, but still fairly briskly after just 13 minutes.
This one came down the opposite flank through a lovely blindside move that caught everyone off guard. The conversion was missed but Doncaster still remained on the cusp of Championship rugby leading 10-6.
The score would remain that way until with less than 14 minutes to go when a lovely try conjured up by Gregson who burst through the centre of the field to tee up Mitch Cox for a vital try. Gregson thought he had scored himself earlier, so to set up such a decisive try was the perfect tonic to his earlier frustration/
Things improved for him and his side when the conversion was added leaving the Lions just over 10 minutes away from the second tier.
In the dying minutes of the game, Doncaster probed for a winning score and were even awarded six again as they marched up field. But then Jack Hansen nicked the ball with a one-on-one strip, burst clear and raced to the corner to wrap up the most sensational finish to a big game you’ll see securing Swinton’s place in the Championship for 2023.
The game and the result was the perfect tribute to Swinton legend Dave Robinson who passed away at the age of 78 this week.