SPARE a thought for the players and coaches who attended Monday afternoon’s Super League launch at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.

Plenty of them endured a couple of dozen ten minute one-to-one interviews from press, radio and television – and all gave positive, upbeat answers to assist the build up to this weekend’s big kick off despite it being in response to the same list of repeated questions.

So no doubt that there was some dismay that for all those good angles and talking points that could have been pursued, all BBC News 24 appeared to show on its late bulletin was the repetition of the investigation carried out Inside Out which drew the conclusion that “rugby league was staring into the financial abyss”.

Of course, it is valid piece of work – but after the highly publicised problems at Bradford and Salford, it did not really tell us anything we didn’t know.

It was the timing that bothered me, with this one short snatch in the middle of this regionally broadcast programme succeeding in taking the gloss of any potential upbeat stories coming out that day.

It is obvious there are parts of the current system that are not working despite the best efforts to police the game via the salary cap and licensing process.

So it is not a case of let’s put our fingers in our ears and just repeat the mantra that “crowds are up”, “Magic is wonderful” and “It’s the best Super League ever!”

But nor should we join the gloom and doom chorus that everything is rubbish and the bloke who stood on the bridge on Dunriding Lane with a placard on match day was right when he declared, “the end is nigh”.

If enough of our game’s own supporters join in this chorus there is a danger of it become a self -fulfilling prophecy.

It is hard to see what else can be done in terms of financial controls to save clubs from their own actions.

When, as you have in Super League, you have half a dozen good, ambitious teams, with a big supporter base, new stadiums and an infrastructure in place to harness the best of the grassroots talents those outside ‘the club’ are always going to find it hard to compete and break in.

Elite players and ambitious youngsters will still, naturally, want to be challenging for honours and stay at Leeds, Saints, Warrington and Wigan.

The salary cap was supposed to even things out but how often do those teams have give up star players to say Salford, Wakefield and Hull KR.

It is invariably first team players, who need a improved wage, but whose role in the team can be taken on by another youngster, who move on. So how can those teams hope to catch up the elite by signing players not deemed good enough for the teams they are chasing.

Some of the prescriptions offered seem quite drastic, particularly the culling of two or even four teams from the top flight.

The danger with that is that it would kill off some proud rugby league towns. If you did it off last year’s league table you would consign Widnes and Castleford to the sporting dust heap.

And with them you will kill the ambition, however realistic, of Featherstone, Leigh, Halifax and Sheffield.

The solution is not to cut the cake into fewer slices, it is to grow the size of the cake – easier said than done in this economic climate.

But that is the only way, boosting the game through revitalising the international game through an Ashes series, making the league competition more meaningful again by cutting top eight down to top six, restoring some momentum to the Challenge Cup campaign and bringing in another cup competition to generate interest throughout the nine month season.

The only other way is a reduction in the salary cap. It is a gamble – some players would be straight on the plane to the NRL and a few would chance their arm in union, and it would be a big kick in the teeth for those clubs who have grown their own elite players and end up losing them to those who have produced nothing.