Maths has never been my best subject, especially when it involves working out percentages, and I will only be opening myself up to ridicule if I now try and fathom league placings when battling with deadlines.
It will, of course, be the norm’ after the RFL announced this week that the 2020 Super League table will be decided by win percentage rates rather than the standard points system.
It has stemmed from the very real threat of – due to coronavirus and its myriad knock-on effects – all clubs being unable to complete their 20 rounds before the regular season is due to finish in mid-November.
Inevitably, the RFL has come in for some criticism for this drastic move, saying it makes a mockery of the competition and is a needless panic measure, but, I would argue differently.
Although, admittedly, I thought the governing body might have held off for a little longer before making the decision, I feel it is the right one.
Considering how much decimation there has already been to the fixture list, barely a month after Super League restarted, with clubs forced into self-isolation and more than half already suffering at least one positive Covid test, it is almost inevitable there will be further disruption.
After their selfless efforts so far, flying into the UK on four successive weeks, Catalans finally get back into action in Perpignan today and with the added bonus of a crowd of up to 5,000 as well.
However, at the start of this round, they already had three games to make up having played just seven fixtures thus far.
Midweek matches had already been planned in for all clubs and it is already hard to see when Steve McNamara’s side will get those postponed games played.
Ironically, Wednesday’s decision briefly catapulted Catalans from fourth to first, despite them playing fewer games than any other club, highlighting just how the system can be skewed.
Indeed, although there is a proviso that a club must have played at least 15 games to have any chance of qualifying for the top-four play-off places, there is still scope for some clubs to feel they may be better not playing than actually playing. However, a club can only see a match postponed if it has seven or more players unavailable due to Covid-related reasons; it would be an absurd Machiavellian tactic to try and manufacture that situation.
Nevertheless, Hull FC, Salford Red Devils, Wakefield Trinity and Catalans Dragons have all been in that situation already and it is hard to imagine other clubs will not suffer, too, especially with infection rates back on the rise.
Leeds Rhinos have had two games called off without a single positive test or track and trace encounter. The RFL could have waited until further down the line but, no doubt, then they would have been accused of inertia or dithering .
It would also have opened up the possibility of people bemoaning they are favouring a certain side if it did then drastically alter the table just as the season’s culmination appeared in view.
At least this way, they cannot be accused of moving the goalposts; they have been proactive and, by being bold and decisive, they have looked to avoid any chance of confusion.
Hopefully, every club does somehow get to fulfil all its fixtures and this remains merely a back-up plan. Whatever happens, I’ll still keep my calculator close.
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Thank you, James Mitchinson. Editor.