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