Rhinos are running on empty, claims their exhausted skipper
LUKE GALE has urged rugby league bosses to end the season and go straight into the play-offs.
with the Grand Final at Hull on Friday November 27. Only teams that had played 15 games can qualify for a semi-final spot meaning Catalans, who are currently fourth, could miss out as they have only played 12.
Their dilemma, plus the prospect of ending the regular season two weeks early and expanding the play-offs to five or six teams, will be discussed tomorrow.
A national lockdown could scupper all plans but if sport is allowed to continue, Gale added: “I’m not sure players at the bottom of the table would be bothered about carrying on because they have nothing to play for.
“In a normal season players are only asked to play twice in a few days at Easter. Now we’ve got Easter every week.
“I ’m not moaning because we are all paid to play rugby and 2020 is a crazy situation for everybody.
“Teams are stepping up at short notice to play and the RFL and Super League have done really well in getting these games on.
“But if we can jump straight into a play-off scenario then we will have four, five or six teams that can make the games mean something.
“At the moment the standard has dropped which isn’t a good thing.”
Four key Leeds players will again miss today’s game, after they were placed into isolation on Wednesday because of track and trace following 13 positive Castleford tests.
Wigan could be crowned champions if the season is ended permanently by lockdown, after going top following Friday night’s impressive 18-6 win over St Helens.
The plan will be discussed at a meeting of Super League clubs tomorrow, amid fears that Covid-19 will continue to wreak havoc on fixtures.
It’s a proposal that Leeds Rhinos captain Gale hopes will get the green light in order to protect both players and the standard of the game.
He said: “Let’s finish the regular season now, and end with a bang with knockout games that mean something. It would be a better spectacle than we have now.” Leeds have been playing roughly every three days for weeks, because of their Challenge Cup commitments and a Covidcaused fixture backlog.
It resulted in a limp 30-6 defeat to lowly Wakefield on Thursday, HIGH POINT Gale lifts the three days after cup, but is feeling the pace scraping a win over Castleford and six days after a hefty loss to St Helens.
Gale, who was rested for the Saints game following his heroics in the Cup final win over Salford, said: “I’m 32 and woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a train on Friday after two games in three days.”
Leeds play Wakefield again today but Gale said: “I’m not sure I’ll be physically able to play.
“You could see on Thursday that our petrol tank was very quickly empty. It’s been a tough few weeks.”
In early September RFL bosses announced a top-four play-off system,
Today, kick-off, 2pm