Super League play-offs
Since 1998, a play-off system has been used to determine the Super League champions. The format has changed over the years, starting with a play-off involving first five, then six teams and currently eight. The play-off series culminates in the Super League Grand Final.
Use of a play-off system to decide the Championship brought back a rugby league tradition that had previously fallen out of use. The Super League Premiership, which had previously taken place between the highest placed teams in the competition, was discontinued after the introduction of the Super League play-off series. This was because its purpose had been to take the place of the previous Championship-deciding play-off system.
Current Play-Off System
From Super League XX in 2015, the play-off format will be changed due to the implementation of an innovative new league structure:
After 23 Games.
After 23 games the league table is frozen and the teams are split up into 2 of the 3 "Super 8's". Teams finishing in the top 8 will go on to contest "Super League" and will all retain a place in the competition for the next season, as they go on to play 7 more games each, as they compete for a place in the Grand Final. Teams finishing in the bottom four (9-12) will be put alongside the top 4 teams from the Championship, in "The Qualifiers" Super 8 group. Where these teams will reset their season standings to 0 and also play 7 extra games each, as they attempt to earn a place in the following Super League competition.
|Position||Club||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Pts for||Pts agst||Points|
|7||Salford Red Devils||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Teams qualifying for the Super League Super 8 Play offs|
|Teams in position to join 4 championship sides in the Super League "Qualifiers" Super 8's.|
- Super League
The Super League Super 8's sees the top 8 teams from the Super League play 7 games each. Each teams points and carried over and after the 7 additional games, the top 4 teams will contest the play off semi finals with the team in 1st hosting the team in 4th, and the team finishing 2nd hosting the 3rd placed team; the winners of these semi finals will contest the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford. Teams finishing 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th after the 7 additional games will take no further part in the season but will compete again in the following season.
|Position||Club||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Pts for||Pts agst||Points|
|1||Super League First Place Team||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2||Super League Second Place Team||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|3||Super League Third Place Team||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|4||Super League Fourth Place Team||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|5||Super League Fifth Place Team||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|6||Super League Sixth Place Team||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|7||Super League Seventh Place Team||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|8||Super League Eighth Place Team||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Team finishing top of the table, earning the League Leaders Shield|
|Teams qualifying for the Super League Play off Semi Finals.|
|Teams season is complete..|
Previous Play-Off Systems
1998-2001: Top Five
From Super League III in 1998 until Super League VI in 2001, a play-off series involving the top five teams was used to determine the Super League champions. Excluding the Grand Final, all matches were staged at the home ground of the team placed higher in the final league table.
The same system was used in the NSWRL's Sydney Competition 1973-1994, the Australian Super League in its only season 1997, the VFL, 1972–1990 and New Zealand's Lion Red Cup, 1994–1996, and Bartercard Cup, 2000-2006.
From week two on the Top five play-offs system reflected exactly the Page playoff system.
The Top Five Super League Play-Off Structure:
- Qualification Final: 2nd vs 3rd
- Elimination Final: 4th vs 5th
- Bye: 1st
- Major Semi Final: 1st vs Winners of Qualification Final
- Minor Semi Final: Losers of Qualification Final vs Winners of Elimination Final
- Preliminary Final: Losers of Major Semi Final vs Winners of Minor Semi Final
- Bye: Winners of Major Semi Final
- Grand Final: Winners of Major Semi Final vs Winners of Preliminary Final
|Super League 5 team play-off bracket|
2002-2008: Top Six
From Super League VII in 2002 until Super League XIII in 2008, a play-off series involving the top six teams was used to determine the winners the Super League champions. Excluding the Grand Final, all matches were staged at the home ground of the team that finished higher in the final league table.
A similar system was used by the Australian National Soccer League and is now used by the A-League to decide its champions. From Week Two onwards, the Top Six play-offs system reflects exactly the Page playoff system.
The Top Six Super League Play-Off Structure:
- Elimination Semi-final A: 3rd vs 6th
- Elimination Semi-final B: 4th vs 5th
- Qualification Match: 1st vs 2nd
- Elimination Final: Winners of Elimination Semi-final A vs Winners of Elimination Semi-final B
- Final Qualifier: Losers of Qualification Match vs Winners of Elimination Final
- Grand Final: Winners of Qualification Match vs Winners of Final Qualifier
|Super League 6 team play-off bracket|
2009-2014: Top Eight
For the Super League XIV season in 2009, a top eight play-off system was introduced to replace the previous top six system. This change coincided with an expansion of the competition from twelve to fourteen teams following the introduction of Super League licensing. The format was introduced following consultation and discussion with all 14 member clubs in Super League. The series lasts four weeks, culminating in the Grand Final at Old Trafford during October.
- Week 1
- Four matches will take place on Week One, effectively in two pools: the Qualifying Play-Offs and the Elimination Play-Offs.
- Week 1: Qualifying Play-Offs
- These matches involve the teams who finish in the top four.
- They are:
- 1st v 4th
- 2nd v 3rd
- The winners of these two games will progress directly to Week 3. The highest ranked winning club will have Club Call, whereby they choose their opponents in Week 3.
- The losers of these two matches will have another chance in Week 2 when they will be at home to the winners of the Week 1 Elimination Play-Offs.
- Week 1: Elimination Play-Offs
- These matches involve the teams who finish from fourth-eighth.
- They are:
- 5th v 8th
- 6th v 7th
- The winners of both matches will progress to Week 2, losers are eliminated.
- Week 2: Preliminary Semi-Finals
- There are two matches in Week 2; the winner of each match progresses to Week 3 and the loser is eliminated.
- The first Preliminary Semi-Final features the highest ranked Qualifying Play-Off loser (from Week 1) v the lowest ranked Elimination Play-Off Winner (also from Week 1).
- The second Preliminary Semi-Final features the lowest ranked Qualifying Play-Off loser (from Week 1) v the highest ranked Elimination Play-Off Winner (also from Week 1).
- Week 3
- Week 3 also features two matches; the winner of each match progresses to the Grand Final and the loser is eliminated.
- Week 3: Club Call
- Club Call will take place following the second weekend of the play-offs and will be hosted by the highest ranked winning club from Week 1.
- The host club will select who they play in Week 3 and can only select from the winners of the two Preliminary Semi-finals (Week 2) – they cannot choose the other Qualifying Play-offs winner.
- The highest ranked club from the Qualifying Play-offs (Week one) must choose their opponents – they cannot cede the responsibility to the other Qualifying Play-offs winner.
- The team with Club Call and the other Qualifying Play-off winners from Week 1 are guaranteed home advantage in Week 3. For example, should the teams that ended the regular season in 1st and 2nd place lose their opening play-off match, they could still find themselves playing away to the 3rd or 4th placed teams in Week 3.
- Week 3: Qualifying Semi-Finals
- The first Qualifying Semi-Final features the highest ranked Qualifying Play-Off winner(from Week 1) v the team selected through Club Call.
- The second Qualifying Semi-Final features the lowest ranked Qualifying Play-Off winner(from Week 1) v the team not selected through Club Call.
- Week 4: Grand Final
- The two winning teams from week 3 contest the Grand Final to determine the First Utility Super League champions.
|Super League 8 team play-off bracket|
Week 1. Qualifying/Elimination play-offs: Fixtures decided by regular reason finishing positions. Higher ranked teams play lower ranked teams. Higher ranked teams receive home ground advantage.
- Can any team have Club Call?
- No. The highest ranked winning club from Week 1 will have Club Call, whereby they choose their opponents in Week 3. Only a team that ended the regular season in 1st, 2nd or 3rd can win Club Call.
- Will the teams who finished 1st or 2nd at the end of the regular season be guaranteed home advantage in Week 3 should they progress?
- No. The two highest rank teams after Week 1 (the team with Club Call and the other Qualifying Play-off winners) are guaranteed home advantage in Week 3. For example, should the teams that ended the regular season in 1st and 2nd place lose their opening play-off match, they could still find themselves playing away to the 3rd or 4th placed teams in Week 3.
- Does the Club Call team have to choose their opponents or can they relinquish the responsibility to the other Qualifying Play-offs winner?
- The highest ranked club from the Qualifying Play-offs (Week 1) must choose their opponents – they cannot relinquish the responsibility to the other Qualifying Play-offs winner. In addition, they can only select from the winners of the two Preliminary Semi-finals (Week 2) – they cannot choose the other Qualifying Play-offs winner.
- "New top eight play-off format for engage Super League". Super League. Retrieved 2009-09-19.