Rugby League: Trinity given another chance

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A DECISION on whether Wakefield Trinity should be admitted to Super League for next season has been deferred in order to give them the chance to prove they deserve to be there, writes Dave Hadfield.

The First Division champions were due to be told yesterday whether they would be in the elite competition next year. But the Rugby League Council ruled that, because the independent panel that makes the decision on the club's suitability is unconvinced about some areas of their application, Wakefield should be given another week.

"There are some issues on which they require more detail. We remain hopeful that we will be able to demonstrate that we should be there," said the Wakefield director, Stuart Farrar.

The panel wants evidence of Trinity's youth development plans, as well as a business plan to cover the eventuality of their proposed new stadium not being ready for the 2000 season.

Gateshead were given a similar extension to allow them to demonstrate that they should be allowed into Super League as a new franchise and the feeling of the Council was that an existing club should be given the same opportunity.

The panel's decision, expected within the next seven days, will be final. If they remain unconvinced, Wakefield will play next season in the First Division.

The delay means that clubs outside Super League will also need to put their fixture plans for next season on hold, until they know how many teams they will have to accommodate.

One thing that was decided yesterday was that there will be no replays in the Silk Cut Challenge Cup next season.

Ties will be settled by two periods of extra time; what happens if scores remain level has yet to be finalised, but a system of sudden death or "golden score" is also likely to be adopted.

The change, which echoes the format in football's Worthington Cup this season, is designed to avoid fixture pile-ups next season, when midweek Super League games are already likely to clutter up the programme.

Sheffield have re-signed the second rower Jeff Hardy. The Australian, who was with the Eagles in 1989-90, replaces Paul Carr, who has retired.