RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer hopes the entire sport will come together in the months ahead to celebrate its “unbelievable journey” and 125-year milestone.
Rimmer was speaking at the official RFL season launch, which incorporates the Championship, League 1, Women’s, Wheelchair and other community competitions.
He confirmed: “125 years is the thread that’s going to run through the year and we have many events planned, this being the first of them.
“We’ll have a birthday party in August, which we hope everybody will celebrate, in tribute to what is an unbelievable sport and an unbelievable journey.
“That will underline everything we do, but in addition to that we’ll have the usual thrills and spills on the field, I have doubt.”
The RFL announced today that Sky Sports will continue its coverage of the Championship play-offs and Grand Final.
And Rimmer is relishing another tense competition filled with “joys and frustrations”.
“I’m delighted to see that Sky are going to cover the Championship play-offs and the Final, and one of those teams is going to emerge in the Super League.
“That will bring a lot of tension at the end of the year, but there’s a long journey before we get there.
“At the bottom of the Championship you’ll see teams emerge and teams relegated, and all the usual joys and frustrations that the competition will give us.
“On top of that, we have our golden point with a twist, which I’m looking forward to as well.
“That should have a bearing on the competition and, for those teams in the play-offs, it could be the difference between getting there and not.
“If you can tell me who’s going to win these competitions then you’re a better man than me because I simply cannot.
“We’ve seen Toulouse and London interviewed on stage and they are two of the teams that are going to be in the mix.
“But I guarantee they’ll get tripped up along the way and, if we’re being honest, the Bulls put in an outstanding performance at Leeds, and they could be underestimated this year.
“I’m not saying they’re going to win it, but they’ll certainly be a nuisance to some teams
“You then have teams like Featherstone, Leigh, Halifax, you’ve got teams who are going to cause some problems too.
“It’ll be nail-biting, I’ve no doubt.”
Rimmer also reserved praise for the many stakeholders that made Sunday’s emotional occasion at Headingley possible.
A packed house, and many more watching at home, paid tribute to the career of Jamie Jones-Buchanan and showed their support for his courageous former team-mate, Rob Burrow.
He said: “If I’m honest, it’s what we do best. We are a sport born out of adversity, and I think that helps us.
“We’ve all got a nasty little Rugby League nugget inside us, which means we are bad news for other people that want to come at us.
“And when people do come at us as a sport we all stand behind one another.
“I thought yesterday was the perfect example of that.
“Leeds did a fantastic job and I thought the Bulls played a fantastic supporting role, while the crowd, the commercial support was excellent.
“Every seat was sold, every commercial cover was sold and there was money pouring in from people who weren’t even there.
“It was tear-jerking, emotional, passionate – all the things we can be.”
Tomorrow – Ralph Rimmer discusses the next broadcast deal, his relationship with Robert Elstone and his objectives for Our League.