The cornerstone to a successful Super League side is a formidable forward pack. But just how do the 12 top-flight clubs’ packs rank?
Leigh’s pack is a clear level below any of others in Super League. It is not without any quality, but it’s mostly comprised of players who are inexperienced in playing top-tier rugby league, with the obvious exception of Ben Flower. It lacks variety and depth and as the season goes on, this will likely hinder Leigh’s hopes of remaining in Super League.
Trinity’s starting six forwards are very strong, but as you look down their squad, it seems to lack real depth. It has some star players such as David Fifita, Kelepi Tanginoa and Joe Westerman, yet the drop off in quality of their potential replacements could cause Wakefield some problems should they be hit with injuries.
10th: Hull KR
Hull KR’s pack is by no means poor, but it faces the same problem as many clubs in its position do – strength in depth. The additions of Korbin Sims and Albert Vete will give their front row some real presence, but unless these signings really shock Super League, it isn’t one of the strongest packs in the league.
9th: Salford Red Devils
Richard Marshall isn’t short of options when choosing from Salford’s forwards, but there is a potential lack of star quality. Lee Mossop, Elijah Taylor and Seb Ikahihifo are very good players, but in the second-row, there doesn’t seem to be a clear two players that should be guaranteed to start and the loss of Joey Lussick will massively affect their season.
8th: Leeds Rhinos
Zane Tetevano is looking like a strong addition to a Rhinos pack that already had quality. But there are few players in the side that would be considered one of the very best forwards in the league, particularly outside of the starting 17.
7th: Castleford Tigers
Castleford’s pack is almost unchanged from last season, something that could be both a blessing and a curse. It may see the side become unmotivated and lose its competition for places or, the squad’s chemistry could help them set a platform for their backs to work from.
6th: Huddersfield Giants
The Giants have strengthened their pack for 2021, after Luke Yates forced a move from Salford and Joe Greenwood and Josh Jones also join Watson’s side. These new signings accompanied by the likes of James Gavet, Michael Lawrence and Adam O’Brien could help Huddersfield dominate field position.
5th: Catalans Dragons
Catalans’ pack remains characteristically big and star-studded for the 2021 season. The addition of Mike McMeeken and Gil Dudson to an already impressive squad is a statement of intent and will make Catalans a worthy opponent for whomever they come up against.
4th: Warrington Wolves
Warrington’s squad has seen little change, but is still one filled with talent. With the likes of Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper and Joe Philbin at Steve Price’s disposal, Wire should be able to trouble most sides they face up the middle.
3rd: Hull F.C
Hull’s pack on paper has a genuine case for competing with the strongest in the league, but it is yet to prove itself to be a consistently dominant force in recent seasons. However, this season it looks particularly strong, with a combination of young talent such as Joe Cator and Jordan Lane, with the experience of Scott Taylor and Manu Ma’u.
2nd: Wigan Warriors
The traditional no-nonsense approach of Wigan’s pack is certainly not lost on this year’s squad. With a young and fiery front row, and an experienced and classy back-row, they will be a hard team to stop. A huge signing like John Bateman will also improve the performance of the pack.
1st: St. Helens
Even with the loss of Luke Thompson, Zeb Taia and Dom Peyroux, Saints’ pack is the best in the league. They have signed some strong talent from the NRL and look able to control field position and outwork teams in the way they have so effectively in recent years.