Play-Offs and Relegation explained

With one round remaining in Superleague, the top four positions are settled, which means that the following details of play-offs can now be confirmed.

Week One:
Friday 22 September 8pm - Elimination Play-Off 1

Third Place v Sixth Place
Leeds Rhinos v Warrington or Salford at Headingley
Winner continues in Week Two, loser eliminated

Saturday 23 September 6pm - Elimination Play Off 2
Fourth Place v Fifth Place
Bradford Bulls v Salford or Warrington at Grattan Stadium
Winner continues in Week Two, loser eliminated

Week Two
Friday 29 September 8pm - Qualifying Semi-Final

First Place v Second Place
St Helens v Hull FC at Knowsley Road
Winner straight to Grand Final, loser continues in Week Three

Saturday 30 September 6pm - Elimination Semi-Final
Winner Elimination Play-Off 1 v Winner Elimination Play-Off 2
Teams and venue to be determined following Week One
Winner continues in Week Three, loser eliminated

Week Three - Final Eliminator
Friday 4 October 8pm

Loser Qualifying Semi v Winner Elimination Semi
Venue to be decided, loser eliminated

Week Four - Grand Final
Saturday 12 October 6pm

Winner Qualifying Semi v Winner Final Eliminator at Old Trafford Manchester

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Relegation from Superleague for 2007 now comes down to the results of two games - this weekend's Round 28 clash between Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, and the October 8 National League One Grand Final to be held at Halton Stadium Widnes.

Whichever team loses this Saturday's Superleague clash is in line to be consigned to the National League for next season. Castleford lost this very game two years ago and had to spend 2005 in the National League before gaining promotion again for this season. Wakefield last played lower division league in 1998, winning promotion to Superleague for the following season.

There remains one shred of hope for the loser of Saturday's match - that the winner of the National League One Grand Final may not be eligible for promotion. So far the RFL have announced that Hull Kingston Rovers, Widnes Vikings, and Leigh Centurions have each met the criteria and would be accepted for promotion to Superleague should they win through and be victorious in their Grand Final.

However Whitehaven have controversially learned that their application for promotion would not be approved, after having previously met criteria leading up to the past two National League Grand Finals, and the Marras may take leave to appeal. It seems unlikely that the other two sides alive in the National League Play-Offs - Rochdale Hornets and Batley Bulldogs - have applied for or would be deemed eligible for promotion should they win through to the Grand Final and take the title.

So for Castleford and Wakefield this weekend, the winner takes it all - and the loser is left to cheer for Batley, Rochdale or Whitehaven to win National League One if they wish to hold onto the slim chance they might avoid relegation...