With a new Super League season just around the corner, people are starting to piece together their predictions for the upcoming campaign as they tip potential title winners and surprise dark horses for Super League glory. So, today we’re giving you five bold predictions for Super League in 2022.
Major final awaiting Hull KR
At Leeds it took Tony Smith less than a year to guide the Rhinos to a major final, at Warrington it took less than six months but at Hull KR Smith has yet to take the Robins to either Wembley (or in next year’s case Tottenham) or Old Trafford but he seems to be pulling Hull KR closer and closer to a first major final since 2015. His side were the best team to watch in the league last year and were able to match the very top teams again and again. Next year with another pre-season of developing the effective yet scintillating Tony Smith way and with the arrival of one of Super League’s best players in the shape of Lachlan Coote, perhaps we could see Hull KR at a major final next year and who knows they could win some silverware for the first time in over 30 years.
Big names to miss out on the play-offs
St Helens, Leeds, Wigan and Warrington have been considered the four biggest clubs in Super League for the last decade and all four will again be eyeing up glory in 2022 but it’ll be tough for all four to make the play-offs next year. I’d argue none of them are guaranteed a place in the top six except maybe reigning Champions St Helens but even they’re facing radical changes to their playing roster after winning a third consecutive title. Last year ended disappointingly for Wigan and Warrington both of whom are changing coaches and have lost some key players going into the new year whilst Leeds have recruited wisely but if they’re again struck by an injury crisis as they were this year, they’ll struggle to secure play-off rugby. Factor in Catalans’ almost guaranteed place in the top three, the exciting recruitment at Castleford, Hull KR’s brilliant squad and the presence of quality at Huddersfield and Hull FC and it becomes clear that at least one, if not more, of the big names will miss out on the end of season play-offs.
Rhinos coaching shake-up mid-season
Leeds’ play-off hopes could hinge on what happens with the Head Coach role. Yesterday it was revealed that Richard Agar would be moving into the Director of Rugby role when a suitable Head Coach was identified to replace him. This could very well happen mid-season and could take Leeds one way or the other. If the man brought in has a similar effect to Tony Smith in 2004, Leeds could cement themselves as contenders again but if the change causes too much disruption their title hopes could slip away.
Toulouse to make play-off push
Most of the time when a new team arrives in Super League, they’re one of the favourites for the drop. Toulouse will have to be very good next year to avoid relegation but I fancy them to do so and even push for the play-offs. They play an exciting brand of rugby and will score tries against the toughest defences whilst the advantage of playing sides who’ve been forced to travel to France could see them become unbeatable at home much like Catalans have become since they joined the league 15 years ago. All of this could culminate in a serious play-off challenge.
A new name on the trophy
Someone must predict this outcome every year but 2022 might be the best chance we’ve had of a new name on the Super League trophy for some time. In Hull KR we have a team who can beat anyone on their day, Castleford will back themselves to become a contender again under Lee Radford whilst Warrington will have arguably the best halfback pairing in the league. Factor in Catalans who could be even better in 2022 and suddenly a new winner of Super League is a serious possibility. Catalans are probably the most likely of the nine times in the league to not claim the Super League title in the past, but teams like Hull KR and Warrington shouldn’t be counted out.