Expand Super League if there is no relegation, says Harrison Hansen

Former Wigan favourite Harrison Hansen believes Super League should be expanded in 2021 if there is no relegation at the end of this season because of the coronavirus crisis.
Harrison Hansen won the double with Wigan in 2013Harrison Hansen won the double with Wigan in 2013
Harrison Hansen won the double with Wigan in 2013

Toronto chairman Bob Hunter says some top-flight clubs think it would be unfair for the bottom-placed side to still face the drop at the end of this season, given the disruption caused by the pandemic.

The campaign has been on hold since mid-March and with no restart date in sight, teams are braced for a congested schedule which could run until Christmas.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Hansen is now in France at Toulouse, who were leading the Championship before the lockdown began.

And with their sights firmly set on promotion, he believes it would be unfair to deny them – or another successful second-tier side – a place in Super League.

“If they don’t want relegation this year then fine, but promotion is something they need to do – otherwise what are we playing for?” said Hansen, who left Wigan at the end of the double-winning campaign after a decade with the club.

“If we’re just playing for top spot, that’s not the incentive, that’s not why we set out on this journey.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“If they’re going to get rid of relegation this year they should make it 13 teams next year. We’ll see how it unfolds but whatever they do, I think they still need to keep promotion and hopefully it’s us, because Toulouse would be a great addition to Super League.

“The stadium is unreal, we have good support and the style of play is very entertaining.”

Wolfpack had yet to win a Super League game before the break but Hunter said last month: “It has nothing to do with our zero and six record, and I know we’re not alone in expressing that. We, amongst other clubs, have voiced our opinion that we don’t think that this is a good year to do it [relegation] but that’s a RFL decision. The year has been so disruptive, I just don’t think it’s fair to any team.”

And over the weekend, Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell told The Guardian: "If we end up with a skewed fixture list and compromising integrity, you can be sure I’m not putting in six months’ graft if I run the risk of relegation at the end of it. I want those assurances by the time we look to get playing again. Until then, I’m not committing any more money to the sport, I’d be crazy to do so.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Hansen recently signed an extension to stay at Toulouse in 2021, just weeks into his new deal.

He had helped the French side to five wins from as many matches to move into pole-position in the Championship ladder.

“The goal is to get promotion, that was the goal at the start of the year,” he said.

“We hadn’t been playing our best before the break and we still hadn’t lost a game.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“With Toronto not in the Championship this year, it’s made this season an open playing field.”

A message from the Editorial Director, Gillian Parkinson:

Thank you for reading this story on our website.

But I also have an urgent plea to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality local news on this free-to-read site and in print, please purchase a copy of our newspaper as well.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on our town centres and many of our valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you buying a copy when you pop out for your essential shop or subscribing for delivery.

Our journalists are highly trained by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards anywhere in the world. Our content is universally trusted - as all independent research proves.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As Baroness Barran said in a House of Lords debate this week on the importance of journalists: "Not only are they a trusted source of facts, but they will have a role to play in rallying communities and getting the message across about how we can keep ourselves and our families safe, and protect our NHS. Undoubtedly, they have a critical role."

But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis. In return we will continue to forensically cover the local news - not only the impact of the virus but all the positive and uplifting news happening in these dark days.

We thank all our readers and advertisers for their understanding and support - and we wish YOU all the best in the coming weeks. Keep safe, and follow the Government advice. Thank you.

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: You can subscribe for delivery by contacting us at [email protected] or calling us on 0330 4033004 for details of a participating newsagent near you.