RUGBY chairman Steve Neale reveals what's ahead for Raiders.

Last week we attended another RFL meeting for an update and looking ahead to the 2021 season.

We were warned by Ralph Rimmer that we must plan for a season of disruption.

The Super League season obviously resumed in August and it has not been without problems in terms of positive tests and the subsequent postponement of games.

This has resulted in having to go down the points per game route to calculate the league table and we are likely to face a similar scenario in 2021 unless the COVID landscape improves massively.

With the news coming from Government that we are all to expect a bumpy ride to Christmas and beyond it was disappointing that firstly the pilot events and the return of crowds from the beginning of October with social distance were abandoned.

Clearly the rise in positive COVID tests is a concern, but if the trend continues in that deaths do not follow the same curve they did in the dark months of March, April and May then perhaps the science will tell us that courses of treatment have improved sufficiently to allow a level of normality to return.

At this moment we have been told not to plan for crowds before April which is a massive blow to our club.

Traditionally the friendly fixtures take place in January and they provide a decent income stream and also provide the fans with their first look at our new signings.

The prospect of playing these games with no crowds will leave a hole both financially and the creation of interest.

It may be that we shift the season slightly to the right and with only 12 teams in League One I’m sure that we can easily accommodate a start in March or even April and still fit all the fixtures in. The RFL have sought the views of the clubs over the coming days and hopefully the others will say what we have said.

We have said that we would like a roadmap to return that incorporates a meaningful season with promotion and relegation in place. If we lose some fixtures due to positive tests then we wouldn’t disapprove of a points per game system to decide the placings as long as we all knew where we stood at the onset, which includes the criteria for calling off fixtures.

On a positive note the requirement for COVID testing before the return to training has been relaxed.

There will be a number of protocols in place such as daily wellness questionnaires of players and families, risk assessments of the training facilities, thorough cleaning requirements with all of these leading measures to prevent infection rather than the lagging measure that is testing.

Further positive news is that the evidence is building that the actual playing of rugby league is low risk despite the obvious contact between players.

There have been several players that have subsequently tested positive after playing but it seems that the opposition players are not becoming infected.

All good scientific evidence in the route back to playing at our level and also the community game.