LONDON (Reuters) – Super League clubs will end their regular season early and move to an extended play-off format due to players testing positive for COVID-19 at Castleford and Hull, the league announced on Tuesday.

The season had been due to end on Nov. 13 but will now finish on Friday, with Wigan playing Huddersfield for a chance to win the League Leaders’ Shield.

Four elimination play-offs, involving the top six teams, will decide who appears in the Grand Final on Nov. 27 at Hull’s KCOM stadium.

Castleford’s next two fixtures have been cancelled after players contracted the virus while Hull said on Tuesday they would not be able to fulfil their remaining three matches due to positive tests.

The top two will sit out the first round of the play-offs, with those finishing third to sixth playing elimination matches on Nov 12 and 13.

The winners will then face the first and second teams on Nov. 19 and 20.

A previous requirement for clubs to play a minimum of 15 games has been removed, opening the way for French club Catalans Dragons who are fourth but have played only 13 matches.

“We believe this revised structure provides the best and fairest way to ensure the two most deserving teams reach the Grand Final,” said Rhodri Jones, Super League’s chief commercial officer.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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