With COVID-19 continuing to ravage Super League clubs, the end of season play-off structure has been altered once again. A revised format has been agreed by Super League and RFL Boards, with the top six teams now set to battle it out to become 2020 Super League champions.
The new playoff structure
The top six teams in the table will now qualify for the play-offs, with the seventh-placed side on standby should another team be unable to fulfil a fixture.
This means that the previous requirement of a club needing to play a minimum of 15 regular season matches to qualify for the play-offs has been removed.
The top two teams will skip the first round of play-off games, with the teams finishing from third to sixth playing elimination matches, which will take place on the 12th and 13th of November.
The winners of those games will then face the first and second place teams in the semi-finals on the 19th and 20th of November, with the matches being played at home venues.
The winners of those ties will then advance to the Super League Grand Final, which is being played at the KCOM Stadium on Friday 27th November.
Why has the structure changed again?
Both the Castleford Tigers and Hull Kingston Rovers had a number of positive COVID-19 cases, which meant the two clubs would be unable to complete their remaining fixtures, forcing them to end their respective seasons early.
This had a knock-on effect to the league’s other teams, such as Catalans Dragons, missing out on matches they would have needed to play to reach the minimum of 15 matches required to achieve a play-off spot.
With this in mind, the league, as mentioned above, has now removed this requirement, which allows Catalans to compete in the play-offs.
The structure was also revised in wake of the latest national lockdown measures, with increased concern over international travel, which would have impacted the Dragons’ regular season match against St Helens.
Who’s in the play-offs?
The Wigan Warriors claimed the League Leaders’ Shield after their win against Huddersfield Giants on Friday night, pipping rivals St Helens to first place, with the Merseyside club finishing second.
The Warrington Wolves were edged into third place on points difference percentage, with Catalans having to settle for fourth place, having played four less matches than the teams involved in the play-offs.
Challenge Cup winners Leeds Rhinos secured fifth spot, with Hull FC clinching the final play-off place and Huddersfield are on standby after finishing in seventh.
When are the play-offs?
Thursday 12th November, 7:45pm – Play-Offs Round 1 – 3rd vs 6th
Friday 13th November, 7:45pm – Play-Offs Round 1 – 4th vs 5th
Thursday 19th November – Semi-Finals – 1st vs lowest-placed Play-Off winner
Friday 20th November – Semi-Finals – 2nd vs highest-placed Play-Off winner
Friday 27th November – Super League Grand Final (KCOM Stadium, Hull)