GEOFF Roberts has challenged Sedgley Tigers to go one better next season after calling for a change to the National League's play-off format.

The Tigers clinched second spot in the National Two North to qualify for this year's play-off, for which they had to go away to face the National Two South runners-up.

Sedgley's hopes of winning their first promotion in 12 years were dashed, though, as Old Albanians won 24-0 to secure an immediate return to National League One.

The Tigers dropped down from National One in 2013 and if they are to climb back into the third tier of English rugby next term, Roberts reckons they cannot afford to rely on the play-off again.

“We just missed out this year but I still feel that we've had a good season,” said the Tigers' manager.

“The last three years we've finished fourth, third and second, so we're getting better, but I think we're going to have to win it next season.

“We're going to have to go for top spot – and I believe we can do that with the players we've got.

“We've got a bit of recruiting to do but not much because at the moment we only have two players leaving, one to join the Marines and the other to move abroad.

“It looks as though we'll be without Bob Birtwell till after Christmas, though, with the knee ligament injury he suffered in the play-off.”

Roberts is keen to avoid another end-of-season shoot-out as he questioned the current play-off rules, which worked against Sedgley this year.

Old Albanians earned home advantage as they finished the season with 128 points compared to 108 for the Tigers.

“They were the ones with the better record but which is the stronger league?” asked Roberts.

“Sandal (third-bottom in the National Two North) lost 17 games but a team that lost 17 in National Two South came sixth (Chinnor).

“After the top two or three in our league, anyone can turn anyone over so you've got to say that our league is a lot stronger than theirs.

“There is a big gap in quality in their league so it's easier for the top teams to build up some points.

"The runners-up in their league are virtually assured to finish with a stronger record and get home advantage for the play-off.

“Instead, I think it should be a one-off game played at a neutral ground or over two legs.

“It makes a big difference when you've got to travel away from home, especially as far as St Albans, and it showed on the day.

“I think it'd be much fairer if you got to play each other home and away.”