Results from Round 16 of the English Superleague have compressed the tail end of the ladder, setting up a mighty battle to avoid relegation with 12 rounds still remaining. Seven teams are placed within four points of the relegation zone. On 5 points, Leigh are almost certain to be relegated, however due to the introduction of French club Les Catalan, two teams will be subject to relegation this year. It is this second relegation position that is placing pressure on up to 6 teams.
The teams facing this relegation threat include Widnes, currently sits on 11th position with 10 points, however the team has displayed sound form recently defeating Huddersfield and Leigh. Slightly ahead are Wakefield Trinity and Salford, on 12 points respectively. However the Wildcats face the unenviable task of playing Leeds, St Helens and Bradford in the next four rounds. Three clubs, London, Wigan and Huddersfield are currently sitting on 14 points, four above the relegation zone. Amazingly these clubs are also equal sixth and are also fighting for a spot in the finals series.
All clubs have much to lose with relegation. However some teams will be particularly anxious leading up to the final rounds of the season. Salford is set to invest in a new multi-purpose stadium which would certainly be jeopardized if the team were to play in a lower league. Similarly London have recently avoided insolvency and would face a questionable future if relegated, meanwhile few at Wigan would dare contemplate the consequences of their team not playing in Superleague.
While the abolition of promotion/relegation is at least three seasons away, clubs are already jockeying for positions of strength to ensure their long term viability. What is certain is this seasons relegation battle will be the hardest fought yet.