Leigh boss Paul Rowley has praised the new league structures that will be introduced in 2015, claiming the move is fuelling increased standards and excitement levels within the Kingstone Press Championships.
Speaking on a SLTV On Report Championship special, which also included Batley boss John Kear and Sheffield’s Mark Aston, Rowley said the new structures, which see the return of promotion and relegation, are already having a dramatic impact.
To accommodate changes that will see both the First Utility Super League and Championship become 12-team competitions next year, two clubs will drop out of Super League and five teams will be relegated from the Championship at the end of the current season.
In On Report, Rowley said he believes the Championship is now more competitive because of what is at stake.
“The quality of the league has increased, it’s unpredictable and anybody can beat anybody. Every game is now a tough game and you have to always be at your best,” said Rowley.
“I think the chance of promotion has meant that high quality young players with lots of enthusiasm have signed up to Championship teams as a pathway into the top flight rather than just senior players coming into this league at the of their careers.
“There is a lot riding on this year and I think that the dual registration of players has also had a massive impact.”
Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston, who has won back to back Championship Grand Finals in the last two seasons, also claimed that the hunger to secure a top nine finish is clear to see and that teams are working harder than ever to ensure that they do not get relegated.
“There are five teams going down this season and you can sense the desperation, nobody wants to get relegated. Every team is getting better to avoid the drop and you really do have to have continuity this year to ensure you keep winning, this is no time to slip up,” said Aston.
Batley Bulldogs coach John Kear feels there has been increasing interest from Super League clubs for Championship players due to the high standard of Rugby League on show.
“The intensity has been raised massively and teams in Super League may be worried about two teams going down but we are going to lose a third of our league,” said Kear.
“It’s more important than ever that we turn up to every game and give it our all. You can see that the standard of the Championship has improved because Super League clubs are now looking to us for high quality players to sign up.”
To watch the SLTV On Report Championship special, please visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4EpbJmCzPs