England no longer a career-saver for NRL players

AUSTRALIAN players who leave the NRL to secure lucrative contracts in the English Super League could find that a much tougher competition to break into from 2015.

That is because the number of teams will be cut from 14 to 12.

With the latest round of three-year Super League franchises set to expire at the end of 2014, the competition will revert to a promotion and relegation format.

One club squarely in the firing line is the London Broncos who recently threw St George Illawarra five-eighth Jamie Soward a lifeline after he was unwanted at the Dragons for the rest of season 2013.

The Broncos, whose roster includes former NRL players Shane Rodney, Michael Witt, Michael Robertson and Antonio Kaufusi, are bottom of the table and have struggled to attract crowds.

The Super League competition expanded from 12 clubs to 14 in 2009 with the inclusion of Welsh club Celtic Crusaders and Salford City Reds. Widnes returned to the competition in 2012 at the expense of the cash-strapped Crusaders.

Super League CEO Nigel Wood said he was excited about the new structure.