On the brink of the new season, we got talking at seriousaboutrl.com towers about what we think the table will look like after the first 5 rounds.
We know the early weeks are usually spent jostling for position, with the usual suspects maybe making the headlines, but not necessarily in the way that is expected of them, as the other clubs may look to catch them out.
I believe that Hull FC and Huddersfield Giants could be the teams to watch early on, with new coaches at both clubs and some exciting talent either already there, or having just arrived. The two teams who will go head-to-head on Sunday lunchtime, with the two sides being the ones who everybody is trying to work out for the first few weeks.
In Brett Hodgson, the Airlie Birds have a man who has been there, seen it and done it as a player and who was tutored by master coach Michael McGuire in the NRL, but how will he take to being head coach in the goldfish bowl at the KCOM Stadium, where his every move will be strictly scrutinised?
Ian Watson has arrived at the Giants on the back of turning down the Hull job. His stock has shot up in recent years, having taken former club Salford to both major finals, and he now has the sort of resources he could only dream about at the AJ Bell stadium.
Obviously, in recent years Warrington Wolves have been the team to beat early on, and with superstar Greg Inglis in their ranks, they have more than enough talent to trouble the likes of St. Helens and Wigan Warriors, who they are of course desperate to get the edge over.
Having said that, last year’s Grand Final teams are going to be expected to be off and running pretty quick, but the champions may have their work cut out in round one against the Red Devils who also boast a new coach in Richard Marshall, a former assistant at Saints, who will know all about their strengths and weaknesses.
The teams tipped for the drop are Hull Kingston Rovers, Wakefield Trinity and newly promoted Leigh Centurions, the last one of which I expect may be almost cut adrift early doors. This is down to the fact they have played such little rugby in the last 12 months and that they have a tough opening, largely against teams expected to be there or thereabouts when the silverware is handed out.
Add to this the explosive cocktail that England versus the Combined Nations will spark and the Rugby League World Cup taking place this year – with plenty of Super League’s best talent vying for places with Tonga, New Zealand, Fiji and, of course England – and you have a mixture that could really hit the ground running in the opening weeks of the season.
Predicted Super League Table after 5 rounds:
1: Wigan Warriors
2: Hull FC
3: St. Helens
4: Warrington Wolves
5: Huddersfield Giants
6: Castleford Tigers
7: Leeds Rhinos
8: Hull Kingston Rovers
9: Catalans Dragons
10: Salford Red Devils
11: Wakefield Trinity
12: Leigh Centurions