Super League new chief executive faces stormy start

Robert Elstone - facing potential civil war
Robert Elstone - facing potential civil war

Super League's new chief executive Robert Elstone is facing a potential civil war just eight days after taking office.

The 54-year-old former Everton chief found himself embroiled in controversy just hours after announcing a major re-structure of the domestic game when Leeds boss Gary Hetherington launched a withering attack on his plans to axe the Super 8s.

Flanked by Wigan owner Ian Lenagan and St Helens chairman Eamon McManus, two of the so-called rebels who led to the overthrow of former Rugby Football League chief executive Nigel Wood from the board of Super League last November, Elstone unveiled his proposals for change at his first press conference in Warrington.

The dust had barely settled on the announcement when Hetherington, who stayed away from the press conference, waded into the debate.

"The announcement appears to be an absurd grab for power by a small group of men who think they own the game," Hetherington said.

"Leeds Rhinos are not party to this and are totally against the creation of a separate Super League executive.

"The game is in need of strong leadership from (chairman) Brian Barwick and his board of directors at the Rugby Football League and this announcement should bring a response from everyone connected with the game."

Lenagan had earlier claimed Hetherington was in a minority of one on the Super League board but the Leeds boss found a strong ally in Kevin Nicholas, chairman of Championship club Batley.

"Do not be misled by any conclusion that the format for 2019 has been decided," Nicholas said.

"We believe this was disrespectful to the present consultation process involving the RFL and Championship/League 1 representatives where we are nowhere near a conclusion.

"Any Super League plan at the last meeting had not even made it to the back of a cigarette packet, let alone a formulated document proposal.

"We need the RFL response to confirm this position working towards a whole game solution or war looms."

Elstone says he needs the support of Hetherington and is hoping to persuade him to drop his opposition.

"I've the utmost respect for Gary and what he's achieved at Leeds," he said. "I know Gary really well from all sorts of different backgrounds. I've already been to see him and we've had some positive discussions.

"Like all of us, we think the game has to grow and change to stand a chance, and Gary's view is really about how we do that and that's the difference.

"I would hope that, by working with me and seeing we're collaborative, we do carry out our responsibilities to the wider game and Gary will come with us.

"Undoubtedly, we need Leeds with us and I'm confident we'll get that.

"In the Premier League, Man United were always an outlier in terms of commercial development - this is different but over time, you have to bring them with you."

Related rugby league links

Most Read

We celebrate the best bets that have come in over weekend1

Weekend winners: Lucky for someone

One racing punter scooped almost £13,000 from a £15 stake on Sunday's card at Goodwood while our rugby league expert landed a big-priced winner in the Grand Final.

Nap Of The Day2

Daily Nap: Mr Loverman...

Ben Coley heads to Windsor for Monday's nap, with two other selections put forward from the card at Yarmouth.

We preview today's horse racing action3

Monday's racing preview

Nick Robson provides a selection for every race on Monday, with William Haggas fancied to saddle a winner at Kempton.

The latest from the back pages4

Monday's Paper Talk

Paris Saint-Germain are ready to swoop on David de Gea as he stalls on a new Manchester United contract, according to the back pages.

Michael van Gerwen (Picture: Kais Bodensieck/PDC Europe)5

Stunning MVG triumphs again

Michael van Gerwen produced a scintillating display to beat James Wade in the European Darts Trophy final and win his 18th title of the season.

Most Read

We celebrate the best bets that have come in over weekend1

Weekend winners: Lucky for someone

One racing punter scooped almost £13,000 from a £15 stake on Sunday's card at Goodwood while our rugby league expert landed a big-priced winner in the Grand Final.

Nap Of The Day2

Daily Nap: Mr Loverman...

Ben Coley heads to Windsor for Monday's nap, with two other selections put forward from the card at Yarmouth.

We preview today's horse racing action3

Monday's racing preview

Nick Robson provides a selection for every race on Monday, with William Haggas fancied to saddle a winner at Kempton.

The latest from the back pages4

Monday's Paper Talk

Paris Saint-Germain are ready to swoop on David de Gea as he stalls on a new Manchester United contract, according to the back pages.

Michael van Gerwen (Picture: Kais Bodensieck/PDC Europe)5

Stunning MVG triumphs again

Michael van Gerwen produced a scintillating display to beat James Wade in the European Darts Trophy final and win his 18th title of the season.

Racing Tips

Nap Of The Day

Daily Nap: Mr Loverman...

Ben Coley heads to Windsor for Monday's nap, with two other selections put forward from the card at Yarmouth.

We preview today's horse racing action

Monday's racing preview

Nick Robson provides a selection for every race on Monday, with William Haggas fancied to saddle a winner at Kempton.

The Breeders' Cup returns to Churchill Downs this year

Antepost Angle: Breeders' Cup

Matt Brocklebank takes an early look at the Breeders' Cup with a handful of recommended bets including West Coast in the Classic.

Next Race Off

09:30 Hyderabad
7
(4)
Amaravathi
J: G Naresh
4
(5)
Dean's Gal
J: C Umesh

Football Tips

We look ahead to the latest round of matches in the Nations League

Nations League betting preview

The Nations League continues on Monday with England and Northern Ireland both in action. We pick out some of our best bets.

Enable storms to victory in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

Sporting Life Tipping Record

A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed in October 2018.

Get your bets on!

Our best bets

Check out all of our available betting tips and previews of the forthcoming sporting action.