What can we expect from the 2020 Super League Grand Final?

What can we expect from the 2020 Super League Grand Final? With the end of the 2020 Super League season in sight, many rugby league fans have got their eyes […]

What can we expect from the 2020 Super League Grand Final?

With the end of the 2020 Super League season in sight, many rugby league fans have got their eyes firmly fixed on the big end of season prize: the Grand Final. Here, Peter Watton from matched betting experts OddsMonkey takes a look at what we can expect from the event.

COVID-19 has been incredibly disruptive for the sporting world in 2020, with rugby league included in the many sports that’ve had to cancel and delay events this year. However, since the summer, we’ve seen the resumption of Super League XXV, with the aim of finishing the current season in early November and hosting the play-offs and Grand Final afterwards.

For Super League fans around the globe, the climax of the 2020 season promises to be a highlight in what has been a very gloomy year. So, with a lot to look forward to, I thought it would be worth taking a sneak peek at what we can expect from this showcase event.

What is the Super League Grand Final?
At the end of the Super League season, the Grand Final takes place to determine the overall winner. The participants in this match are decided via the play-offs, which see the top four teams (usually five in a normal season) facing one another in a bracketed knock-out.

This year, the winner of the League Leaders Shield (the actual league) will play the 4th placed team, while the 2nd and 3rd finishers will be drawn together. Once two teams have won, they’ll be scheduled to play in the Grand Final to determine the champion.

When and where will it be held?
This year, the Super League Grand Final will be held on Friday 27th November at the KCOM Stadium in Hull. This will be the first time the match has been played on a Friday at the later time of 8pm.

This also represents a change for fixture venue, as it is usually played in October at Old Trafford in Manchester. A switch was approved for the 2020 season due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic: the date was delayed due to the mid-season postponement, while the venue was moved because Old Trafford had a clash with Manchester Utd’s COVID-affected home games.

Will anything be different this year?
The big difference at this year’s Grand Final will be the lack of fans, who won’t be allowed to attend due to COVID-19 safety concerns. Organisers have been following the UK Government’s guidance on sporting events so far in the resumed season and, after a rise in COVID cases, the anticipated return of crowds to matches has been pushed back to 2021. This means that the only way fans will be able to watch events at the KCOM Stadium is by watching live on Sky Sports.

Things have also been different for players so far this year, with COVID secure measures introduced to ensure matches can safely go ahead. Squads have had to adhere to strict isolation and pre-match testing rules, with any breaches being punished with a 14-day ban from all rugby-related activities. So far, a number of players have either tested positive or broken the rules, and some matches have been postponed as a result of COVID-related reasons.

Who will be taking part?
The teams that will be taking part in the play-offs and, later, the Grand Final, are still to be confirmed this season. Due to the five-month delay because of COVID, the season is running late and, at the time of writing, there are still a few rounds of fixtures to play.

It’s also important to remember that there has been a change in the way the league table is decided, with a win percentage (number of wins divided by number of games played) preferred over a points total. This is to accommodate the fact that some games have had to be cancelled due to health and safety concerns. In line with this rule change, it was decided that clubs in the top four must have completed at least 15 games of the season to be eligible for the play-offs.

So, who are the top contenders to get to the play-offs? Let’s take a quick look at the odds:

St Helens — 11/8 to win the final: Last year’s Grand Final and League Leaders Shield champions are currently in control of the league, sitting pretty in 1st with only a few games left. They’re widely expected to secure a play-off berth.
Wigan Warriors — 7/2 to win the final: Wigan have climbed to 2nd in the league by retaining a better win percentage than 3rd place Warrington Wolves. Barring a bad run of form in the back stretch, they look set to match the 2nd place they achieved last year.
Warrington Wolves — 7/2 to win the final: Warrington are the only team in the mix that have played the minimum 15 games to qualify, but this will change soon. A strong run of eight consecutive wins came to an end earlier in October, and the Wolves lost both top spot and then 2nd since. They need strong form to hold off the Catalans Dragons.
Catalans Dragons — 6/1 to win the final: Catalans saw a lot of games postponed early in the season, so they are having a very busy October. A surplus of games compared to other sides could work for or against them, depending on how many they can win. If they’re in good form they have a chance to boost that percentage, but tired legs could cause it to collapse.
Leeds Rhinos — 10/1 to win the final: Leeds are trailing the win percentage set by Catalans, but depending on the Dragons’ performance in their remaining fixtures, better form from the Rhinos could see them sneak into the play-offs. Definitely an outsider.

I hope this article has gotten you up to speed on the run in to the play-offs and Grand Final of the Super League in 2020. If the remaining fixtures live up to their potential, we’re going to be in for a dramatic and exhilarating finale.