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Rugby league: Crusaders bow out with a heavy defeat as fans wonder what lies ahead

Wigan Warriors 42Crusaders 10

SUPER League bid farewell to Crusaders with a hefty defeat to Wigan Warriors their parting gift.

The Warriors missed out on top spot despite giving the Wrexham outfit a hefty reminder of how far they have fallen since last season’s play-off appearance.

It was expected that this year Crusaders would build on its progress but a lack of investment saw them struggle at the bottom of the league and eventually led to them withdrawing their application to remain in Super League.

They delivered a spirited performance for their 600-strong band of travelling fans, but it was not enough to bring a shock victory.

Crusaders’ second-rower Paul Johnson, – a former Wigan player – announced his retirement after the match, which leaves Keith Senior as the only player from the first-ever Super League still active.

In front of a 19,104 crowd, Wigan made a perfect start with a third-minute try, but Crusaders didn’t make life too easy.

Stand-off Lloyd White put in Peter Lupton for a try midway through the first half, retiring Clinton Schifcofske adding the conversion.

Crusaders wilted as Wigan pulled away but they never gave up and Jarrod Sammut, returning after going AWOL with Malta, snapped up a stray Wigan pass and ran 70 metres for a consolation try.

Afterwards Crusaders again thanked the fans, players handing over kit and shaking hands with the supporters who backed them throughout a lean campaign and since their move to Wrexham two years ago.

Crusaders have submitted their application for the Co-operative Championship put together by Crusaders staff and supported by the Crusaders Supporters Association, Save the Cru and the club’s current sponsors.

The RFL are giving the business plan careful consideration with a decision expected next week.

While they deliberate on the application, Crusaders are busy reinforcing their financial plan by selling season ticket packages.

Standard season tickets cost £120 and allow entry to nine Co-operative Championship home games, plus two Northern Rail Cup matches.

The Gold Bondholder ticket is £150 and gives you the same number of matches, but also a Gold Bondholder 2012 cap or pin badge and the right to attend four quarterly club management meetings and help set the direction of the club.

Season tickets can be paid off in instalments by direct debit. To pledge support, visit www.savethecru.co.uk. A planned pledge night next Wednesday has been postponed until the RFL make their decision.