“Massively disrespected” – Super League fans furious as stars left out of Dream Team

On Friday night, Wigan Warriors secured the League Leaders’ Shield. Warrington Wolves snuck into the play off places and Leigh Leopards lost fourth spot to Hull KR.

It was a dramatic conclusion to the season and one that was fitting of one of the greatest seasons in Super League history with huge battles at the top, middle and bottom of the league.

After the conclusion of the regular season, the Super League Dream has been revealed.

This year’s line-up includes six debutants, alongside seven players who have already featured in previous Dream Team selections.

Four of those new faces come from one of the teams of the year: Leigh Leopards. Tom Amone, John Asiata, Edwin Ipape and Lachlan Lam have all earned places after playing their part in a historic season which has seen the Leopards surprise the pundits by lifting the Challenge Cup trophy for the first time in 52 years and reaching the Betfred Super League play-offs for the first time.

Warrington Wolves prop Paul Vaughan and Wigan Warriors centre Jake Wardle are this year’s other debutants, the pair consistently catching the eye regardless of team form.

Wardle is included alongside teammates Liam Farrell and Bevan French – the trio having spearheaded the Warriors’ quest for a seventh League Leaders’ trophy. England backrower Farrell is included for the sixth time, equalling Sam Tomkins’ record of five consecutive Dream Team selections from 2009-2013. Bevan French is Wigan’s other representative, chosen this year at stand-off having previously been selected at full-back (2020) and wing (2022).

Leigh Leopards winger Josh Charnley returns to the Dream Team for the first time in 10 years, having previously been included in 2013 and 2012, with another of this year’s leading try scorers, Tom Johnstone of Catalans Dragons, named on the other wing for the second time.

Named for the third time – and, like Bevan French, in a third different position – is St Helens’ Jack Welsby, whose last line of defence now matches the attacking prowess that earned him selection at stand-off last year. 22-years old Welsby is the youngest player included this year, with Hull KR’s Shaun Kenny-Dowall the oldest at 34.

Finally, there is a third Dream Team selection for Salford Red Devils’ Kallum Watkins – this time in the back row having previously been chosen at centre whilst with Leeds Rhinos in 2014 and 2015.

Betfred Super League Dream Team 2023 (including heritage number)

1 Jack Welsby (195)
2 Josh Charnley (122)
3 Jake Wardle (211)
4 Shaun Kenny-Dowall (201)
5 Tom Johnstone (171)
6 Bevan French (186)
7 Lachlan Lam (209)
8 Tom Amone (206)
9 Edwin Ipape (208)
10 Paul Vaughan (210)
11 Kallum Watkins (140)
12 Liam Farrell (150)
13 John Asiata (207)

As ever, the dream team has divided fans with one fan furiously taking to social media to say:

“This is the worst dream team I’ve ever seen, good grief.”

The shock pick was Kallum Watkins and this was criticised by some:

“If you told me Watkins had retired, I would believe you. Not a chance he’s anywhere near the dream team.”

That being said, one fan agreed with the decisions more or less: “Can’t really argue with that. Hall unlucky maybe.”

There was an argument that one of the Batchelor boys deserved to be in the squad ahead of Farrell: “Farrell really no Batchlor”

One fan claimed that Saints and Catalans had been disrespected:

“Saints and Catalans massively disrespected there. How does a player who lost nine in a row get in there? Seems to be going the same way as the Man of Steel farce now.”