RFL earn high praise for their forward thinking

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Featherstone Rovers chief executive Craig Poskitt last night hailed Super League’s landmark decision to bring back promotion and relegation.

The ambitious Championship club could be one of those to benefit after the elite agreed to reintroduce movement between the divisions.

Craig Poskitt

Craig Poskitt

Featherstone have finished top of the second tier in each of the last four seasons, but been thwarted in their bid to attain elevation by the constraints of the now disbanded licencing system.

But, after it was announced a 
12-team Super League and 
12-team Championship will do battle in 2015 with the leading four Championship clubs thrown into a play-off series for promotion, Poskitt was understandably elated.

“As a club we can now start planning ahead properly knowing we can get back into Super League by what we do on the field,” he said.

“We’ve not been sat waiting for this decision – we’ve been proactive building towards getting there – but for our fans it has been frustrating.

“I’ve spoken to people who watched this club for 30 or 40 years, but decided to stop coming as, basically, they got a little bored.

“They saw us finish top in each of the last four seasons but never move up.

“We’ve an opportunity now to win those fans back.”

Poskitt says there has been an instant response in terms of commercial activity at the West Yorkshire club too.

“I took a phone call (last night)within a couple of hours of Super League putting out their statement,” he said.

“It was from someone wanting to put a really, really considerable amount of investment into the club on the back of this confirmation about promotion and relegation.

“It’s absolutely fantastic news for us and one of our owners has also spoken to me, saying how he firmly believes we could be challenging in Super League’s top eight by the end of 2016.”

Poskitt praised the RFL for endeavouring to find a “game-wide” solution to the sport’s problems.

“For the last two or three months they have really fought for the game as a whole and not just Super League,” he said.

“Blake Solly (RFL director of licencing and standards) has constantly been in touch with us and their support has been excellent.

“The three divisions of eight format has its critics but it suits us down to the ground and we feel we’ll be able to challenge in that middle eight at the end of 2015 and hopefully secure a place in Super League for the first time.

“It’s an exciting period for the club.”

Crisis-club London Broncos, meanwhile, are the favourites to be relegated from Super League at the end of this season but their cause has been aided after persuading State of Origin veteran Ben Ross, 33, to come out of retirement.

The prop, who won the 2003 NRL title with Penrith and made eight Queensland appearances, finished with Cronulla last season but has been tempted by another year and joins Melbourne Storm winger Denny Solomona on the way to the capital.

Hull KR have appointed Travis Burns and Josh Hodgson as co-captains. They replace Michael Dobson, who has returned to the NRL with Newcastle Knights.