Adam Cuthbertson: In both the good times and bad '“ I do not like the Eights system

Adam Cuthbertson scores against Toulouse in the middle eights.Adam Cuthbertson scores against Toulouse in the middle eights.
Adam Cuthbertson scores against Toulouse in the middle eights.
I AM not a fan of the eights format and that's not because of where we are right now.

I came over to England in 2015 which was the first year of Super-8s and Qualifiers and it seemed a strange system to me then.

Having been through the highs and lows – two Grand Final wins and the Qualifiers twice – I still don’t like it.

For me, semi-finals should be all about the form teams.

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Richie Myler looks to break free against Toulouse.Richie Myler looks to break free against Toulouse.
Richie Myler looks to break free against Toulouse.

At the moment St Helens are so far clear at the top they’ve been able to take their foot off the gas and know they’ll still be in a home semi-final.

Huddersfield Giants and Catalans Dragons have been two of the best teams over the last couple of months.

Giants are playing some great rugby, they’ve won at Castleford and Saints in recent weeks and they’ve completely turned their season around.

They aren’t mathematically out of it, but they have gone into the eights knowing they can’t realistically make the top-four, because the leading clubs are so far in front.

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In my opinion, that’s wrong. If there was top-eight play-offs both those teams would have a chance of doing something and maybe even getting to the final.

On their form at the moment, Huddersfield would put some teams away in the semi-finals and I don’t think anybody would want to play them.

I think the system we’ve got now takes away a lot of the excitement at the back end of the season.

For the teams from eighth to sixth or even fifth, regardless of your form later on in the year you aren’t in with a real chance.

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There’s too many dead rubbers for those teams in the last seven games. There’s an argument to say the top-four have been dominant all year so they deserve the right to play straight through to the final.

To some degree I can see the point behind that, but saying that, as a sport we want to grow and we need that excitement factor where there’s always a chance, no matter what, of going on and winning something.

If you look at the history of sport, the most exciting event to watch is first seed versus an underdog.

I think the Super-8s has taken away from that. It might seem like I am saying that because of where we’re at in the middle-eights, but it’s truly not.

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I did speak about this early in the year and I said then I don’t think the system works.

I also think there’s a question mark over whether the middle-eights teams who come straight up from the Championship can create a Super League club, based on back office, venue and attendance week in and week out.

So what should we do? For me, if you move away from Super-8s you have to go to franchising and bring in two more teams to make it a 14-club competition, then you can have top-eight play-offs just like they do in the NRL.

People will ask if the game here is strong enough for 14 teams, but it depends how you go about it.

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Look at the year Leigh came up to Super League and I think that has done more damage to them than good, as a club.

The RFL would have to put a long-term plan in place for a club to come in. Take Toronto as an example.

They are ambitious to get into Super League and they are doing a really good job at it, they are doing it right and they could easily become an established Super League team.

They might not get it right the first year, but they will get it right eventually as long as they have a steady base to start with.

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There’s other candidates out there, Bradford for instance. They are starting to do good things although they are right down in League One.

They have got the stadium and the fan base. Even at the bottom of the ladder they are still getting decent crowds and they’ve shown in the past they can pull in 20,000 if they have a successful team.

Another one is York. They are doing a fantastic job in League One, on and off the field. They’ve got a winning side, they are marketing the club really well and their crowds are going up.

They are also getting a new stadium in the near future and they are a city club. There’s no reason why, if they get it right financially, they can’t become an established Super League team.