Talks ongoing to decide how loop games picked, says Super League chief Elstone

Super League's new chief executive Robert Elstone
Super League's new chief executive Robert Elstone

Super League chief executive Robert Elstone says the format to pick next season’s ‘loop fixtures’ has not been decided.

The 12-team competition will revert to a more straight-forward competition in 2019, culminating in a five-team play-offs and the bottom club relegated.

But to stretch the season to 29 rounds, each club will play seven additional matches - one at the Magic Weekend - in addition to their home and away fixtures.

Some have criticised the measure, especially as the bottom club may unfairly be relegated.

Elstone, speaking on Sky Sports’ Golden Point, said: “We’re still looking at the best formula to generate those (loop games).

“We’re doing it with two criteria really.

One, we’re looking to generate really commercially exciting game, but we have to respect the competitive integrity of the league.

“That process is ongoing now at the minute, hopefully we will get the fixture list some time out in the autumn.”

He said expanding Super League to 14 teams - or cutting it to 10 - were considered before they settled on keeping the competition at 12 clubs.

He explained the extra matches were needed as 11 home games each was not enough for the top-flight outfits.

Elstone, brought in by Super League clubs to revitalise the competition, was heartened by the progress being made to improve the reserve grade for 2019.

“Ralph (Rimmer, RFL chief executive) and I have had this conversation, I would make it mandatory but I do think what we’ve got is a journey towards making that happen. and a more gradual transition,” he added.

Related: Talking RL column