Squad depth is massively important in the modern game. Squad depth brings the best out of players as they fight for positions, allows clubs to cope with injuries and gives coaches the opportunity to keep their teams fresh.
So often it’s the club with the best squad, not the best team, that wins the trophies – a big squad can often lead to success.
With that in mind we’re rating every Super League team’s squad depth going into this season.
Castleford Tigers – 8/10
Squad: 1 Niall Evalds, 2 Derrell Olpherts, 3 Peter Mata’utia, 4 Michael Shenton, 5 Sosaia Feki, 6 Jake Trueman, 7 Danny Richardson, 8 Liam Watts, 9 Paul McShane, 10 Grant Millington, 11 Oliver Holmes, 12 Cheyse Blair, 13 Adam Milner, 14 Nathan Massey, 15 George Griffin, 16 Gaz O’Brien, 17 Alex Foster, 18 Jacques O’Neill, 19 Tyla Hepi, 20 James Clare, 21 Jesse Sene-Lefao, 22 Daniel Smith, 23 Greg Eden, 24 Suaia Matagi, 25 Jordan Turner, 26 Lewis Bienek, 27 Lewis Peachey, 28 Brad Martin, 29 Sam Hall, 30 Brad Graham, 31 Cain Robb
Castleford’s squad has superb depth. Their depth on the wing has been somewhat hurt by the injury to Sosaia Feki however they still have two good options to fill that void in Greg Eden and James Clare. They’ve also got good options at centre especially with the arrival of Jordan Turner who also adds important depth in the halves. Meanwhile, Gareth O’Brien also gives the Tigers options in those vital positions and at fullback. So, their backs are well covered as are the big boppers in the middle with 6 decent options at prop and a couple of big loose forwards. Maybe they could have more natural second-rowers but Daryl Powell may be content with playing a big fella in that role despite the new rules. One concern might be what would happen should Paul McShane get injured. Yes they have Adam Milner but it’s been a long time since he’s played at hooker continuously.
Catalans Dragons – 6/10
Squad: 1 Arthur Mourgue, 2 Tom Davies, 3 Samisoni Langi, 4 Dean Whare, 5 Fouad Yaha, 6 James Maloney, 7 Josh Drinkwater, 8 Gil Dudson, 9 Michael McIlorum, 10 Julian Bousquet, 11 Matt Whitley, 12 Mike McMeeken, 13 Benjamin Garcia, 14 Alrix Da Costa, 15 Benjamin Jullien, 16 Paul Séguier, 17 Mickaël Goudemand, 18 Lambert Belmas, 19 Arthur Romano, 20 Mathieu Laguerre, 21 Corentin Le Cam, 22 Joel Tomkins, 23 Mathieu Cozza, 24 Jason Baitieri, 27 Joe Chan, 28 Sam Kasiano, 29 Sam Tomkins
The Dragons have an eye-catching starting 13 and will be able to challenge the very best teams all across the pitch. However, their depth may be a little lacking. They have a solid option at fullback thanks to Arthur Mourgue and boast a replacement hooker. However, with a couple of off-season departures they’ve lost their cover at prop and might wish they had more natural outside backs as the season unfolds.
Huddersfield Giants – 9/10
Squad: 1 Ashton Golding, 2 Jermaine McGillvary, 3 Jake Wardle, 4 Ricky Leutele, 5 Darnell McIntosh, 6 Lee Gaskell, 7 Aidan Sezer, 8 Luke Yates, 9 Adam O’Brien, 10 Michael Lawrence, 11 Kenny Edwards, 12 Joe Wardle, 13 Josh Jones, 14 Matty English, 15 Joe Greenwood, 16 Jack Cogger, 17 Chris McQueen, 18 Jack Ashworth, 19 James Cunningham, 20 Oliver Wilson, 21 Leroy Cudjoe, 22 James Gavet, 23 Oliver Russell, 24 Louis Senior, 25 Owen Trout, 26 Jon Luke Kirby, 27 Sam Wood, 28 Sam Hewitt, 29 Ronan Michael, 30 Chester Butler, 31 Olly Ashall-Bott
It’s quite clear that Huddersfield’s off-season signings have given them fantastic squad depth. They’ve two extra options in the halves, a replacement hooker and plenty of props. In Louis Senior and Leroy Cudjoe they have cover for the backs. Fullback might be a problem position moving forward with Ashton Golding injured but both Lee Gaskell and Darnell McIntosh can play there.
Hull FC – 7/10
Squad: 1 Jake Connor, 2 Bureta Faraimo, 3 Carlos Tuimavave, 4 Josh Griffin, 5 Mahe Fonua, 6 Josh Reynolds, 7 Marc Sneyd, 8 Scott Taylor, 9 Danny Houghton, 10 Chris Satae, 11 Andre Savelio, 12 Manu Ma’u, 13 Ligi Sao, 14 Jordan Johnstone, 15 Joe Cator, 16 Jordan Lane, 17 Brad Fash, 18 The Faithful, 19 Ben McNamara, 20 Jack Brown, 21 Adam Swift, 22 Josh Bowden, 23 Connor Wynne, 24 Cameron Scott, 25 Masimbaashe Matongo, 26 Jude Ferreira, 29 Jamie Shaul, Jacob Hookem, Kai Tyson, Harvey Barron, Aiden Burrell, Davy Litten, Joel Speed, Will Wallis, Marcus Walker
Hull have a lot of options when it comes to fullback such as Connor Wynne and Ben McNamara. On top of that they have options on the wing in the shape of Adam Swift. They then have some decent options in the forwards but not quite as many as you might expect from the Black and Whites given their recruitment in recent years. They may also lack halfback options unless they’re willing to move Jake Connor around.
Hull KR – 6/10
Squad: 1 Adam Quinlan, 2 Ben Crooks, 3 Greg Minikin, 4 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 5 Ryan Hall, 6 Roger Millward RIP, 7 Jordan Abdull, 8 Albert Vete, 9 Matt Parcell, 10 Korbin Sims, 11 Brad Takairangi, 12 Kane Linnett, 13 Dean Hadley, 14 Jez Litten, 15 George Lawler, 16 George King, 17 Elliot Minchella, 18 Matty Storton, 19 Will Dagger, 20 Mikey Lewis, 21 Owen Harrison, 23 Ethan Ryan, 24 Joe Keyes, 25 Rowan Milnes, 26 Will Maher, 27 Luis Johnson, 28 Muizz Mustapha, 29 Anesu Mudoti, 30 Will Tate, 31 Thomas Whur, 32 Charlie Cavanaugh, 33 Jimmy Keinhorst
After finishing bottom last season, the Robins have brought in some class. Their squad is stronger than it was a year ago. They have superb options in the back row and a couple of good outside backs to choose from. They might lack a bit of size with a lot of their prop options being more at home at loose. Meanwhile they might wish they had another half or two.
Leeds Rhinos – 8/10
Squad: 1 Jack Walker, 2 Tom Briscoe, 3 Harry Newman, 4 Konrad Hurrell, 5 Ash Handley, 6 Rob Lui, 7 Luke Gale, 8 Mikolaj Oledzki, 9 Kruise Leeming, 10 Matt Prior, 11 Alex Mellor, 12 Rhyse Martin, 13 Zane Tetevano, 14 Brad Dwyer, 15 Liam Sutcliffe, 16 Richie Myler, 17 Cameron Smith, 18 Tom Holroyd, 19 King Vuniyayawa, 20 Bodene Thompson, 21 Alex Sutcliffe, 22 Sam Walters, 23 Callum McLelland, 24 Luke Briscoe, 25 James Donaldson, 26 Jarrod O’Connor, 27 Jack Broadbent, 28 Corey Hall, 29 Liam Tindall, 30 Levi Edwards, 31 Morgan Gannon, 33 Kyle Eastmond
The main thing keeping the Rhinos from a 9/10 is the lack of props. On Sunday the Rhinos had to run with only one natural prop in their starting 13 against Huddersfield. They have a lot of loose forwards however which minimises that problem to an extent. They have two exciting hookers, a selection of solid back-rowers and three classy centres to choose from. The arrival of Kyle Eastmond has given them great depth in their spine too although they may miss Jack Walker at times this season. However with five halves two of which are capable of playing at fullback the number 1 slot shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Their wing options will be tested in the absence of Ash Handley but they still have three natural wingers to select from one of which – Liam Tindall – is just one of many exciting youngsters the Rhinos have at the moment.
Leigh Centurions – 5/10
Squad: 1 Ryan Brierley, 2 Matty Russell, 3 Iain Thornley, 4 Junior Sa’u, 5 Lewis Tierney, 6 Blake Wallace, 7 Joe Mellor, 8 Ben Flower, 9 Liam Hood, 10 Mark Ioane, 11 Ben Hellewell, 12 Jordan Thompson, 13 James Bell, 14 Matty Wildie, 15 Alex Gerrard, 16 Nathaniel Peteru, 17 Jamie Ellis, 18 Matty Gee, 19 Nathan Mason, 20 Adam Sidlow, 21 Tyrone McCarthy, 22 Craig Mullen, 23 Tom Spencer, 24 Keanan Brand, Brendan Elliot, Josh Eaves, Matty Foster, Nathan Roebuck, Tom Burnett
Outside of Leigh’s first choice 13, they only have 16 more options four of which were only just added to their squad from St Helens and Warrington. It should be said that their options are good and of wide variety which will serve Leigh well. They have a few props and a few second-rowers which are positions clubs always need an abundance of. They have a few options in other positions as well but with only 29 named players their squad does look a bit thread bare.
Salford Red Devils – 7/10
Squad: 1 Morgan Escaré, 2 Ken Sio, 3 Kallum Watkins, 4 Krisnan Inu, 5 Joe Burgess, 6 Tui Lolohea, 7 Kevin Brown, 8 Lee Mossop, 9 Andy Ackers, 10 Sebastine Ikahihifo, 11 Ryan Lannon, 12 Pauli Pauli, 13 Elijah Taylor, 14 Danny Addy, 15 Oliver Roberts, 16 Greg Burke, 17 Josh Johnson, 18 Chris Atkin, 19 Elliot Kear, 20 Harvey Livett, 21 James Greenwood, 22 Rhys Williams, 23 Dan Sarginson, 24 Matty Costello, 25 Jack Ormondroyd, 26 Jack Wells, 27 Sam Luckley, 28 Darcy Lussick, 29 Dec Patton, 30 Connor Aspey
Like a few other sides, Salford may wish they had a few more natural props. They’ll have been glad they got Darcy Lussick through the door. Meanwhile they have a wide selection of good back-rowers and players capable of playing in a number of roles such as Danny Addy. They have good cover for their backs in Rhys Williams and Dan Sarginson and good cover for their halves in the shape of former Warrington halfback Dec Patton.
St Helens – 8/10
Squad: 1 Lachlan Coote, 2 Tom Makinson, 3 Kevin Naiqama, 4 Mark Percival, 5 Regan Grace, 6 Jonny Lomax, 7 Théo Fages, 8 Alex Walmsley, 9 James Roby, 10 Matty Lees, 11 Joel Thompson, 12 James Bentley, 13 Morgan Knowles, 14 Sione Mata’utia, 15 Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 16 Kyle Amor, 17 Agnatius Paasi, 18 Jack Welsby, 19 Aaron Smith, 20 Joe Batchelor, 21 Lewis Dodd, 22 Josh Simm, 23 Jake Wingfield, 24 Josh Eaves, 25 Dan Norman, 26 Tom Nisbet, 27 Matty Foster, 28 Nico Rizzelli, 29 Ben Davies, 30 Sam Royle
St Helens probably have the best range of forwards in the league. They have a superb array of second-rows and a few fantastic props although I still think there’s a void left by the high-profile departures of Luke Thompson and James Graham. They should also have decent cover for any injuries to skipper James Roby and across the backline thanks to youngsters Aaron Smith and Jack Welsby. However, I’d be sweating if I was a Saints fan and Jonny Lomax or Theo Fages went down injured – they don’t have as many experienced halves as they maybe should.
Wakefield – 7/10
Squad: 1 Max Jowitt, 2 Tom Johnstone, 3 Bill Tupou, 4 Reece Lyne, 5 Liam Kay, 6 Jacob Miller, 7 Mason Lino, 8 David Fifita, 9 Kyle Wood, 10 Tinirau Arona, 11 Matty Ashurst, 12 Kelepi Tanginoa, 13 Joe Westerman, 14 Jay Pitts, 15 Eddie Battye, 16 James Batchelor, 17 Chris Green, 18 Innes Senior, 19 Jordy Crowther, 20 Joe Arundel, 21 Alex Walker, 22 Adam Tangata, 23 Josh Wood, 24 Jack Croft, 25 Brad Walker, 26 Yusuf Aydin, 27 Lee Kershaw, 29 Ryan Hampshire, 31 Connor Bailey, 32 Oliver Greensmith, 33 Harry Bowes, 34 Dane Windrow
Wakefield should be relatively pleased with their squad depth. They have plenty of forwards and the odd outside back like Alex Walker and Innes Senior. They also have Josh Wood and Ryan Hampshire to cover the halves and hooker. They have enough players in a variety of positions to deal with injuries.
Warrington Wolves – 8/10
Squad: 1 Stefan Ratchford, 2 Tom Lineham, 3 Greg Inglis, 4 Toby King, 5 Josh Charnley, 6 Blake Austin, 7 Gareth Widdop, 8 Chris Hill, 9 Daryl Clark, 10 Mike Cooper, 11 Ben Currie, 12 Jack Hughes, 13 Joe Philbin, 14 Jason Clark, 15 Matt Davis, 16 Danny Walker, 17 Matty Ashton, 18 Jake Mamo, 19 Rob Mulhern, 20 Sitaleki Akauola, 21 Rob Butler, 22 Ellis Robson, 23 Josh Thewlis, 24 Riley Dean, 25 Eribe Doro, 26 Ellis Longstaff, 27 Connor Wrench, 28 Nathan Roebuck, 29 Jacob Gannon
The Wolves have solid options in the back row and at prop. The outside backs should be no issue for them either with players like Matty Ashton and Jake Mamo at their disposal. They have a solid backup hooker too however they might rue the departure of Dec Patton which leaves them with just two natural halves. However, perhaps Stefan Ratchford could cover there with Ashton or Mamo taking the fullback slot.
Wigan Warriors – 9/10
Squad: 1 Bevan French, 2 Dom Manfredi, 3 Zak Hardaker, 4 Oliver Gildart, 5 Liam Marshall, 6 Jai Field, 7 Thomas Leuluai, 8 Brad Singleton, 9 Sam Powell, 10 Joe Bullock, 11 Willie Isa, 12 Liam Farrell, 13 John Bateman, 14 Ollie Partington, 15 Morgan Smithies, 17 Tony Clubb, 18 Warriors Fans, 19 Liam Byrne, 20 Harry Smith, 21 Ethan Havard, 22 Jake Bibby, 23 Mitch Clark, 24 Chris Hankinson, 25 Joe Shorrocks, 27 Kai Pearce-Paul, 28 Sam Halsall, 29 James McDonnell, 30 Umyla Hanley, 31 Jackson Hastings, 32 Ben Kilner, 33 Amir Bourouh
Wigan only signed two players in the off season and one of them was the exciting Jai Field. His arrival gives Wigan an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the key positions. They have endless options at 1, 6, 7 and 9. Also, they have a host of dynamic and young forwards covering every position in the middle of the park. The only place you might question is their strength in depth across the backline but the versatility of some of their players means that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.