On Thursday Super League revealed the fixtures for the 2022 campaign peaking the pre-season excitement amongst Super League supporters as they prepare for another rollercoaster campaign full of highs and lows starting on the 10th February and ending in the earliest ever Grand Final on September 24th.
Based on the exciting off-season recruitment from a number of sides across the league, next season should be one of the most exciting in recent memories with a number of sides battling at the top for the League Leaders’ Shield whilst more teams will fancy their chances at securing a place in the play-offs.
Naturally, when the fixtures were released fans immediately jumped towards their side’s opening few fixtures, after all those early games can often set the tone for the rest of the season. With that in mind, we’ve sat down and predicted every game in the opening six rounds of Super League to give you what we think the Super League table will look like after the first six games of the season. So, without any further ado, here’s what we think the Super League table will look like after six matches:
The table unsurprisingly takes on a familiar look with the same top seven that finished last season. I believe the winners of the opening game of next season – the Grand Final rematch between St Helens and Catalans – will end the first six rounds top of the pile. They appear to be the two teams best placed to make a serious crack at Super League glory in 2022 and defeats for either side will likely be very rare.
I expect the Dragons to start the season flawlessly despite difficult fixtures against Leeds and Warrington both of whom could have the tools to upset the French side and force their way up the early table. Catalans have perhaps the most squad consistency going into the new season with just a handful of departures with quality replacements joining in the shape of Mitchell Pearce and Dylan Napa. Meanwhile, St Helens have lost a number of players over the off-season and that widespread change gives the early edge to Catalans for me. However, I expect the game to be incredibly close and the Champions do have the quality to replicate their Grand Final win over the Dragons on the opening day but the fact they’ll have a number of debutants and position changes should give Catalans the edge.
Beyond that I believe the Saints will continue to prove almost unbeatable even if they have to take on one of the few sides who beat them in 2021 in the shape of Warrington. Speaking of the Wolves, under Daryl Powell and with a quality squad, they should be real competitors next year and despite those two difficult fixtures against last year’s top two, the Wolves should enjoy a strong start to the season especially if they can defeat Leeds in Super League’s first game in front of the Channel 4 cameras.
The Rhinos face the most difficult start to the season with games against the Wolves, Wigan and Catalans and, despite their exciting recruitment and the fact many see them as potential title contenders in 2022, the difficult fixtures dealt their way could see them get off to a slow start especially with the on-going search for a new coach to allow Richard Agar to become Director of Rugby. Things don’t get much easier after the first three games either with the return of Luke Gale to Headingley in a Hull FC shirt in Round Five.
Hull FC also have a fairly difficult start beginning the season with a game against Wakefield who beat them in the final fixture of 2021 before meeting Champions St Helens but I think they’ll have enough to keep within touching distance of the top six in the opening few games and the same should be said of Trinity.
Meanwhile, Hull FC’s rivals Hull KR should enjoy a strong start especially if they can match Wigan in their opening game building on their double victory over the Cherry and Whites in 2021. Lachlan Coote’s arrival should provide them with extra quality. Meanwhile, presuming Huddersfield don’t endure the same kind of injury problems they faced last year, the Giants should also enjoy a strong start if they can defeat Super League new boys Toulouse in Round One. Speaking of the French side they have to take on Wigan, Warrington and St Helens in their opening six games meaning they’ll face a baptism of fire in Super League.
A new look Salford side will be looking to cause teams problems but fixtures against play-off hopefuls like Castleford and Hull FC in the opening six means they also face a tough start to the season but it shouldn’t be panic stations for the Red Devils after six games given the quality of Brodie Croft and Marc Sneyd in the Salford halves.
Speaking of Castleford, they don’t have a straightforward start to the season especially with a reunion with Daryl Powell in week two, but the definite quality in their squad will see them knocking on the door of the top six from the start of the campaign. Meanwhile, Wigan’s new regime should enjoy a solid start to the season especially if they can enjoy favourable results against two sides who beat them twice last year in their opening pair of games as they visit Hull KR in Round One before hosting Leeds in Round Two. I’d expect them to win at least one of those games.