AS reigning Man Of Steel Jackson Hastings warned Super League about “a recipe for disaster”, the competition has announced its return.
The Northern Hemisphere league comprising English, French and Canadian clubs will restart on Sunday August 2, with three games behind closed doors at a venue yet to be announced: Hull KR v Toronto, St Helens v Catalans and Huddersfield v Leeds.
There will be 15 more rounds concluding with semi-finals and a grand final in late November. All teams will resume on the weekend of August 8-9 and initially, as in the NRL, only a handful of venues will be used.
That coincided with a word of caution on the part of Wigan’s Hastings about the potential dangers of over-using he same playing surfaces. Hastings Tweeted during the Sydney Roosters-St George Illawarra game on Friday:
Hope super league are watching this. So many ACL’s, Hammy tears etc. So many games on one field is a recipe for distaster it’s hard to watch. Player welfare has to come into consideration.
— Jackson Hastings (@JackoHastings) June 26, 2020
“Hope super league are watching this. So many ACL’s, Hammy tears etc. So many games on one field is a recipe for disaster it’s hard to watch. Player welfare has to come into consideration.”
Two Roosters players in the first half of that game, Victor Radley and Sam Verrills, suffered season-ending anterior cruciate ligament knee injuries with the world champions lodging a formal protest about the state of the surface at BankWest Stadium, where many games have been played since the resumption of the Australia competition a month ago.
Nevertheless, Super League games would be staged at “a small number of neutral venues that meet the stringent guidance from both government and the game’s clinical advisory group,” the competition’s media release said.
Super League executive chairman Robert Elstone was quoted in the release as saying: “We are in the final stages of confirming where the games will be played, and we continue to work closely with Sky Sports to deliver the best possible broadcast schedule for our fans. Further details of this will be confirmed over the coming weeks.
“Above all we know that fans want to get back into grounds to support their teams. We will continue to follow government advice and work alongside the RFL, clinical advisors and ground safety personnel to ensure that when that time comes, Super League is ready to welcome back its fans at the first opportunity.”
“Whilst the recent government announcements underline increasing optimism, the pandemic remains unpredictable. Our final fixture schedule needs to respond to opportunities that will unfold over the coming weeks and accordingly, full details of fixtures, venues and season structure will be confirmed as they become known.
“I would like to express my gratitude for the understanding and patience shown by Sky Sports, Betfred, and our other valued commercial partners, as we have navigated through this difficult time.”
“Finally, I would like to thank the fans and players for their patience, positivity and desire to see Super League back up and running post-Covid-19.”