It’s always good to be a little nostalgic, to remember the good times – or the not so good times in some team’s cases.
A lot can change in a decade, for example, Castleford transformed from perennial strugglers to league leaders in the 2010s, whilst Bradford entered administration multiple times to drop down two divisions.
But, ten years ago, just how did each current Super League club look like in terms of coaches, captains and league positions? (For reference, we will be quoting the finishing league positions of the 2010 season)
The Tigers had just finished their fifth season under Terry Matterson, with a ninth-placed position in 2010 two places further down than what they achieved in 2009. Australian Matterson would leave the Jungle at the end of 2011 to be replaced by Ian Millward, with the captaincy shifting from Ryan Hudson to Danny Orr that season too. The Tigers would finish ninth once more in 2011.
2010 was an abysmal year for the Dragons as they finished bottom of Super League with just six wins from 27 games. 2011, however, was a different kettle of fish as the French side reached sixth, exiting the play-offs at the preliminary semi-finals. That was largely down to a change in coach as Kevin Walters ended his two-year spell at Catalans in 2010 as Trent Robinson took over, with the captaincy changing from Thomas Bosc and Oliver Elima to Gregory Mounis.
Huddersfield had just finished fifth in 2010 with 16 wins in 27 games, but finished a place higher in 2011 with the same amount of victories. There was little wonder they did that well at the turn of the decade though with Nathan Brown at the helm and Brett Hodgson and Kevin Brown taking it in turns for the captaincy. It was more of the same in 2011, but with Kevin Brown and Luke Robinson both having a stab as skipper.
A decade ago Hull FC were mid-table settlers which is remarkable considering the amount of investment in that time. The Airlie Birds finished sixth in 2010, with 16 wins in 27 games as Richard Agar led the club. Sean Long captained FC that year, but Craig Fitzgibbon led Hull in 2011 as the black-and-whites dropped to a miserable eighth with Agar still at the helm.
In the space of a decade, Hull KR have regressed somewhat. The Robins finished seventh in both 2010 and 2011 as fans’ favourite Justin Morgan took the reins, with Michael Vella as captain – though Clint Newton was skipper for four games – in 2010. Again, Morgan and Vella were present in 2011, with Ben Galea also leading the team out on five occasions.
Leeds finished fourth in 2010 and fifth in 2011, but, remarkably, the Rhinos won the Grand Final in the latter year. They had won just 17 from 27 games in 2010, whilst winning just 15 from the same amount in 2011. Brian McClennan led Leeds in 2010 with Kevin Sinfield as captain with Brian McDermott taking charge a year later.
Leigh have yo-yoed between the Championship and Super League since the summer game’s creation in 1996 and the club found themselves in the second tier in 2010 and 2011. The Centurions finished third in 2010, winning 12 from 20 games, but finished second a year later with 18 wins from 20 games. Ian Millward became Leigh boss in 2010, staying for the duration of that season as well as 2011. Robbie Paul and Stuart Donlan co-captained the club for the former season before Donlan alone became skipper in the latter.
Salford Red Devils
Go back a decade and Salford were named ‘City Reds’ rather than ‘Red Devils’, but they finished 12th in 2010 with just eight wins in 27 fixtures as Shaun McRae held the reins with Malcolm Alker as captain. Salford won two more games in 2011 to finish 11th as McRae left the club early on in the season. Phil Veivers took over and Daniel Holdsworth was handed the captaincy.
St Helens have been around the top of Super League since its creation and a decade ago it was no different. 2010 saw Saints grasp a second-place finish, though they lost in that year’s Grand Final and 2011 was more disappointing as the Lancashire club finished third, losing another Grand Final in the process. Mick Potter led the club in 2010 with Keiron Cunningham as skipper, but it was all change in 2011. Royce Simmons took over with Paul Wellens and James Graham as co-captains.
Wakefield have always seemed to struggle in Super League yet they have never been relegated. Mid-table mediocrity has been the name of the game and 2010 was no different as Trinity (who were Wakefield Trinity Wildcats back then) finished 11th with just nine wins from 27 matches. Trinity finished 13th a year later, with just seven wins though they did have four points deducted for entering into administration. John Kear led the club in 2010 with Jason Demetriou as captain, whilst Glenn Morrison skippered the side the year after.
The turn of the decade saw Warrington go from strength-to-strength, finishing third in 2010 and winning the Challenge Cup Final and then topping the table in 2011 with 22 wins from 27 games in the latter. The upturn in fortunes was largely down to the change at the top, with Tony Smith joining the club in 2009 – and he stayed for a remarkable eight seasons. Ben Westwood captained the side in 2010, with Brett Hodgson taking the mantle in 2011.
Wigan finished top in 2020, and the same was true in 2010 too. The Warriors won 22 games in 2010, backing it up with a Grand Final victory for what was just the club’s second Super League title. It was a clean sweep that year with Aussie winger Pat Richards scooping up the Man of Steel. Wigan finished second in 2011, but missed out on a second successive Grand Final spot though they did win the Challenge Cup. Michael Maguire led the club in both 2010 and 2011 with Sean O’Loughlin skippering the side in both seasons too.