A BUSINESS leader has urged the Rugby League to place greater emphasis recognizing the achievement of the team finishing top of the Super League table and is now urging clubs and fans to lobby the RFL HQ.
Labeling the League Leaders Shield a “disgrace” Warrington Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Colin Daniels was also shocked to discover that players didn’t receive any recognition for their achievement in the way of a winners medal.
He was further shocked to discover the original Championship trophy, which be believed would be a much more fitting reward, was now on permanent display at Wigan!
In a letter to Rugby league Chief Executive Nigel Wood, Mr Daniels (pictured right) said: “We are delighted that Warrington RLFC have won the league this season, for any winner of the league the achievement should not be underestimated.
“The manner of Warrington’s success in terms of points for versus points against clearly adds to our delight and also most rugby fans who follow the sport.
“Our concern going forward is on the obvious emphasis that you place on the end of season knockout competition and clearly not on the league winners in what must be one of the most competitive leagues in any sport.
“The emphasis even applies to the quality of the “trophy” that the league winners receive. I have seen better trophies awarded in school competitions. Frankly having handled the trophy at a recent chamber event, it is a disgrace and clearly fails to acknowledge the massive achievement of any team winning the “Super League”, with the added insult of no medals being awarded to the players.”
He went on to add: “Where is the old Rugby League Championship Cup, a trophy more fitting and a real acknowledgment of the achievement by the League winner measured over a season and not an end of season knockout competition.”
In response to Mr Daniels, Mr Wood said: “You will no doubt be aware that for 14 out of 16 years that the Super League has been contested, the league fixtures have not been a straight home and away formula as used in some other leagues.
“Therefore, the Super League Champions are the team that wins the Grand Final and they receive the appropriate trophy at Old Trafford. The League Leaders Shield was introduced some years ago and I would agree is modest and somewhat understated, certainly by reference to the Super League Trophy, which it was intended not to usurp.
“There has been recent discussion amongst the Super League clubs as to how the equity and recognition of the League Leaders Award can be increased and this has resulted in significantly increased prize money. It may well be that the clubs may be receptive to the idea of further improving the status of the League Leaders Award.”
He added that the Rugby league Championship Cup was located at Wigan in a gesture made by a previous administration of the RFL.
A Super League spokesman said: “Contrary to what Mr Daniels states, a suitable trophy is awarded to the team that ‘wins Super League’: this was presented to Leeds Rhinos following their Grand Final victory over St Helens at Old Trafford.
“The Leeds players involved also received winners’ rings, as has been the case since the first Super League Grand Final was played in 1998.”
Mr Daniels said he was “flabberghasted” by the Rugby League’s response and is now urging clubs and fans to lobby the Rugby League HQ at Red Hall and call for greater recognition for the team finishing top of the table.
“Finishing top of the table in any sport should be the ultimate prize – not a glorified knock out competition,” he added.
Pictures show Adrian Morley with the League Leader's Shield and the Warrington team celebrating their triumph.