It’s always interesting to see Super League predictions before the season begins.
Many pundits often have the same belief about how seasons will pan out, but sometimes those predictions go awry.
Here are five Super League teams that proved everyone wrong.
Halifax Blue Sox 1998
Halifax had been a steady Super League up to 1998, finishing sixth and seventh in the opening two seasons of the summer game. But, no one expected the then named Blue Sox to rise to third in 1998. Halifax won 18 games from a possible 23, before exiting the end-of-season play-offs in the semi-finals in a 37-30 loss to St Helens – whom they had finished seven points clear of. Of course, a steady decline ensued before the West Yorkshire club was relegated in 2003.
Hull KR 2009
They had finished second-bottom in their first season back in Super League in 2007, before a much more respectable seventh-place finish steered them clear of relegation in 2008. That seemingly paved the way for an incredible year in 2009. With the licensing system increasing the number of teams from 12 to 14, there was now a top eight play-off. However, the Robins didn’t need that extra buffer as they finished a remarkable fourth, winning 17 games from 27 – though they did lose both the qualifying play-off and preliminary semi-final.
Crusaders RL 2010
Welsh side Crusaders had been promoted to Super League in 2009 via the licensing system, but they won just three games all year. Therefore, little was also expected of them in 2010. Yet, Brian Noble’s side charged to a play-off spot, stunning the rest of the top flight with 12 wins in 27 games. An 18-12 defeat to Huddersfield in the qualifying play-off ended an astounding season and that was as good as it got for the Crusaders who finished bottom yet again the year after.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 2012
Wakefield had endured a miserable 2011 season, finishing second-bottom after being deducted four points for entering administration. Predictions for 2012 then were hardly favourable to say the least, but the West Yorkshire side defied all expectations as they roared to a play-off spot, finishing eighth after winning 13 games from 27. Trinity’s season ended at Leeds in the qualifying play-offs, but boy what a year it had been.
Salford Red Devils 2019
Like Wakefield in 2012, Salford had finished second-bottom in 2018, but they ripped up the form-book in 2019. A remarkable season ended with the Red Devils in third place, with the Lancashire club going all the way to the Grand Final. Of course, as we all know, Salford lost to St Helens, but to get there was an incredible feat for a club that was actually tipped for relegation before the season even started.