Denis Betts knows exactly how the six Super League contenders will feel on Monday as they find out who replaces Toronto Wolfpack in the top flight.
Bradford, Featherstone, Leigh, London, Toulouse and York will discover live on Sky Sports around midday who has been successful after applying to a seven person independent panel.
The clubs have been judged on playing strength, facilities, junior development and a host of other criteria after the competition rejected Toronto’s bid to rejoin in 2021.
Betts was coach of Widnes Vikings when they were awarded a Super League licence in 2011 before the return of promotion and relegation – and says it will be a nervous few hours for the hopeful six.
Betts said: “I remember the anticipation, and it being frightening because there was a lot of ‘what ifs’ running around.
“We were in pretty good shape as a club and had a really good feeling and understanding that we’d done enough to be accepted. We’d fulfilled all the criteria and put everything in place to be a Super League side. But it was just that unknown.
“It was the same as it is this week – they’d kept the decision under wraps really well. Usually in rugby league somebody knows or professes to know what’s going on but we really didn’t have a clue.
“We were all in one room and all the fans were upstairs in another at the stadium – it was a tough place for the 10 minutes before and then a great place after that.”
Betts is now director of rugby at Newcastle Thunder – who last week secured the final place in the Championship through a similar process – and knows the odds will be stacked against today’s successful club.
They have limited time to recruit ahead of the March 11 season start and will receive around £500,000 less in central funding than the other 11 clubs.
Betts believes a return to a full licence system where relegation is scrapped for specific periods is the only way for Super League to grow.
He added: “It takes time for any club going into Super League, and this time they will need to be very lucky and spend well in a market place that has already been attacked and eaten up.
“I’m a big advocate of sustained growth and the licensing process. There was nothing wrong with the licensing system – it didn’t fail last time, it was the application of it that failed, it wasn’t put in place properly.”