Sheffield Eagles’ Director of Rugby Mark Aston believes that the return of promotion and relegation has created a ‘real buzz’ around the Kingstone Press Championship.
For the first time since 2008 it will be possible to achieve promotion from the second tier under new regulations introduced by the Rugby Football League.
At the end of the 2015 regular campaign the top four from the Championship will join teams from the bottom four of Super League.
They will then play-off to determine which four of the clubs will compete in Super League the following year.
The remaining eight Championship clubs will then compete to avoid relegation to League One.
“Promotion and relegation is back so there is a real buzz around the league once again,” Aston told The Star.
“The restructuring will be popular with the fans but we have to be realistic and say if we do well enough to get into the top four, we have to then compete with four teams from the Super League who have a huge financial advantage.”
Eagles won the Championship Grand Final in 2012 and 2013 and despite an opening round defeat against Dewsbury last week, will fancy their chances of a top four finish.
And Aston admitted that success in the past has been slightly tainted with no possible ascension to Rugby League’s top table.
“We have won the Grand Final two out of the last three years and there has been no promotion which has taken the edge off it,” he continued.
This new scenario certainly keeps the Championship interesting; there will be 23 tough rounds with every team committed to trying to achieve a top four finish.
“We are all dreamers, we would dearly love to live the dream and be a Super League team once again, can we be in there in 12 months time?
“We know it will be very tough, there is a huge financial gulf but there is a slim chance and teams have shown the gap can be bridged at times in the past.”