2021 NRL Player Movements
5 months ago | LeagueUnlimited Media
Super League's decision not to readmit Toronto Wolfpack into the next year's competition has sent shockwaves throughout the sport and left the northern hemisphere's premier club competition with a major problem to solve - just who will replace them?
The clubs voted heavily in favour of rejecting the Wolfpack's application to re-join the league next season, after they had forfeited all remaining fixtures following the suspension and subsequent resumption of the competition earlier this year.
The fall-out from the Wolfpack's withdrawal saw numerous players miss out on wages, although hopes were high that the Canadian outpost club could re-emerge under new ownership in 2021 and re-take its place at the top level.
However, there were question marks surrounding the new owners' financial guarantees, while clubs based in England have understandably felt a little uneasy about readmitting a club based thousands of miles away during such a tough period for the sport.
And although the Wolfpack headed into their maiden season as outsiders in rugby league betting markets to challenge for silverware, their exit from the sport has left a hole that the governing body has decided must be filled.
Super League has confirmed that it will be admitting another team to replace the Wolfpack in next year's competition, and in this article we will profile some of the clubs in the running.
Toronto Wolfpack unable to return for 2021 season
Toronto Wolfpack can confirm that regrettably the club's application to re-enter the Betfred Super League for the 2021 season, under new ownership, has not been approved.
Full Story → https://t.co/2paDP6WxFk pic.twitter.com/XN7rIicLWT
— Toronto Wolfpack (@TOwolfpack) November 2, 2020
On paper, Featherstone can make the strongest case to be promoted after having lost to Toronto in the 2019 Championship play-off final. In finishing runner-up, the Rovers can fairly lay claim to being the legitimate choice for elevation, but, though their stadium is as good as many in Super League, the club's close proximity to existing outfits may count against them.
Featherstone Rovers are going to the Million Pound Game! pic.twitter.com/H0h3hhv1lc
— Rugby Football League (@TheRFL) September 29, 2019
Relegated from Super League at the end of last season, the Broncos can also make a strong case for readmission. Backed by a wealthy and ambitious owner and continuing to operate a full-time team at Championship level, the Broncos would broaden the competition's footprint beyond its northern heartlands.
The Centurions have enjoyed two one-season spells at Super League level since the inauguration of the competition in 1996 and are also equipped to splash the cash on players. Their modern stadium is the envy of many of the sport's elite clubs, though their claim does not boast the same legitimacy as Featherstone or London's.
The inclusion of Toulouse in next year's Super League would be an exciting prospect, as it would strengthen the sport's presence in France and create a derby with Perpignan-based Catalans Dragons, who've made a real mark at the top level during the last 15 years. However, following the difficulties faced by Toronto, the admittance of another overseas side could be seen as a risk.
It's clear that Super League faces a difficult decision ahead of the 2021 season, with several seemingly strong candidates ready and willing to step up to the top level. It could be one of the most important calls made by the sport in a generation.