Super League door set to open for Dons

Dons returned to action last Sunday with a 16-16 friendly draw against Hull FC. Picture: Malcolm Billingham
Dons returned to action last Sunday with a 16-16 friendly draw against Hull FC. Picture: Malcolm Billingham

Doncaster RLFC could edge closer to the Super League this week - without even kicking a ball.

A revolutionary promotion and relegation plan could finally get the thumbs up at an RFL meeting today.

And the Dons, now owned by Doncaster Rovers, have drawn up a blueprint to achieve promotion within five years, the Free Press can reveal.

General manager Carl Hall this week vowed to bring Super League rugby to Doncaster, confidently stating “we will get there”.

Hall and the Dons support a radical proposal to introduce a play-off system involving the bottom four Super League clubs and the top four in the Championship, with the leading four then promoted to Super League in 2016.

Straightforward one-up, one-down and two-up, two-down systems will also be discussed by Super League clubs today. A final decision is expected later this month.

The proposals have split opinion. Officials from Wigan, Warrington, Hull, Hull KR and Huddersfield walked out of a meeting at the end of last season before a vote on the scheme could be taken.

But the revamp offers Doncaster a potentially lucrative route back to the big time, and Hall has already submitted a plan to the club’s owners on how to become a sustainable Super League outfit.

“We will get there,” Hall told the Free Press.

“But when we do get there we want to be sustainable. We don’t want to be going up and down every year.

“If we get there in two to four year’s time I think we can become a force at that level.

“If we do it in one year we’ll be a yo-yo club.

“Every possible scenario that will be discussed this week suits us because it includes promotion from the Championship,” he added. “My preference is for the three groups of eight.

“It’d be a huge incentive to play against four Super League sides with the carrot of promotion at the end of it. I think it would be well supported by the public.

“I’ve put a plan to the owners on how I’d like to see us achieve promotion. We have to get the infra-structure of the club right first.”

Doncaster can already tick the stadium box; the RFL are big fans of the Keepmoat Stadium. Rovers’ takeover gives the club a sound financial base too, another key entry requirement.

There are also plans afoot to launch a new academy and second team in order to meet Super League criteria.

Rovers bought the Dons in November for a sum in the region of £100,000 and a Super League spot, which would increase revenue streams at the Keepmoat, is likely to have been one of the main attractions.

Doncaster’s solitary season in the English top flight came in the 1994/95 Stones Bitter Championship.

They won their first two games against St Helens and Widnes and then attracted more than 6,000 to Tattersfield for the visit of Leeds, only to win just three more times over the course of the season and finish bottom of the pile.