It will be one of the toughest-fought Championship seasons in recent history with as many as six second tier sides tipped to be in with a shout of promotion.
Leigh Centurions were demoted from the top flight at the end of 2021 with just two wins all season – though they were extremely close on a number of occasions including a 20-18 loss to the Wigan Warriors in the first game of the campaign.
They will be joined by promotion-hunting Featherstone Rovers who have been so close on a number of occasions in recent times, including two Million Pound Game losses to expansion clubs Toronto Wolfpack and Toulouse Olympique.
But, beyond the two favourites, there are a number of outsiders who will more than trouble the Centurions and Rovers.
Halifax Panthers, who have recruited heavily with the likes of Louis Jouffret, Joe Keyes, Kyle Wood and Joe Arundel, whilst York City Knights aren’t far behind.
James Ford recently signed a new long-term deal at the Knights, with big-hitters such as Pauli Pauli and Jamie Ellis making the move to North Yorkshire.
And, for Bradford Bulls chairman Nigel Wood, he sees a monumental battle for the top taking place.
“I think it’s going to be an exceptional competition, it also looks quite even,” Wood told West Yorkshire Radio Rugby League.
“I think Leigh will be very strong coming back into the competition from Super League.
“Featherstone have recruited very well, so have Halifax, us and York and the Cumbrian clubs are never easy to bear – there’ll be three of them this year.
“There are traditional and good value Championship clubs like Batley and Dewsbury who have all been in this competition for a long time and I haven’t even mentioned Newcastle, Widnes and London.”