Finally. It’s what we’ve all been waiting for as our eyes now turn to the Middle 8s, or the Qualifiers, or whatever you want to call it.
Quite frankly the next seven games are the most important games in Hull KR’s recent history and will determine our immediate future, as they could be our ‘route’ back to the promised land of Super League, or our demise for another season of Championship rugby.
The worst case scenario for the Robins, even worse than Dull FC winning back to back finals at Wembley, is that we don’t even qualify for the Million Pound Game and miss the chance to have our hearts broken again.
The dreaded relegation / promotion play-off encounter must be the very least that Tim Sheens and the players have as a target by the end of September.
The very best is that we win enough of the seven games to be in the top three of this mini but very major league and qualify for Super League as of right and renew hostilities with our nearest and dearest from the West of the City, amongst others.
We have seen in recent weeks Super League quality signings coming to the club for this year and beyond. Justin Carney, Mose Masoe and all time Super League leading try scorer Danny McGuire have committed to the cause, with the public statements declaring that this is regardless of what competition the Robins line up in, in 2018, which leads me to ask myself and now the readers some questions.
Given that Super League rugby, at this stage, isn’t guaranteed for Rovers next year, far from it, isn’t Hudgell taking a massive punt on the fact that supporters will continue to keep the turnstiles moving next year in numbers anything like this seasons excellent figures and continue to spend large amounts of cash on merchandise etc?
As we have seen in the past the hard core fan base remains always, but will the fans of this year who have been buoyed with a winning team on the pitch continue to do so, to watch Championship rugby again. A significant sustained drop in attendances will impact greatly on revenue which pays the players wages. Big name players must surely want big name salaries (in comparison to less established, younger players).
Or does Neil Hudgell and the powerbrokers at the RFL have something up their sleeves that will see the Robins competing against the Dullers regardless of what happens in the 8’s?
Rumours abound that Super League will be increased to 13 possibly 14 teams next year and with question marks hanging over Wakefield’s future in the competition could it be that plans are afoot to ‘promote’ the Robins regardless and possibly the TransAtlantic new kids on the block.
The attendances enjoyed by the Red and Whites are in comparison with many of the current Super League teams and more importantly to opposition chairmen our away travel boosts the numbers at ANY other top flight club and boosts the coffers of others.
As any Rugby League fan knows it is impossible to second guess what the RFL are planning, besides increasing Nigel Wood’s salary again, and any Rovers fan will testify Neil Hudgell and the board have backed the club to the hilt over the years but have also said its not a bottomless pit of cash so would he be foolish enough to start gambling his own money on the outcome of a seven game season that can turn sour in the blink of an eye and the loss of millions.
But if certain assurances were in place already the recruitment process may have begun ahead of schedule. Hopefully we have no need to get help from any other source because we secure our place as of right, but if the worse happens be prepared for the howls of derision from the dark side as the faithful of the GatesHull Thundersharks get all their FAT ‘ladies’ singing about been rescued by Fat Nigel and the RFL board……..Oh the irony of that!