The 2023 Super League season has been one of the most closely contested for years, with just 10 points between Catalans Dragons at the top and Leeds Rhinos and Hull FC in eighth and ninth respectively.
Between those teams are high-flyers Leigh Leopards in second, Wigan Warriors in third, St Helens in fourth, Warrington Wolves in fifth, Hull KR in sixth and Salford Red Devils just outside the play-off places in seventh.
The table is congested, with just fourth points between third and seventh, in one of the closest Super League seasons to date, perhaps emphasised with Leigh and Hull KR getting to the Challenge Cup Final – a welcome changes from the usual teams we see play at Wembley Stadium every season.
As we now enter the business end of the season, many people’s pre-season predictions are looking somewhat wide of the mark, particularly with Leigh coming up from the Championship to currently take a top two spot.
It is one of the hardest seasons to predict on record, but that hasn’t stopped former Sky Sports commentator and Great Britain legend Mike Stephenson putting his neck on the link – something he was famous for doing in his punditry days on Sky.
Speaking on his podcast, which is released weekly alongside former Sky Sports colleague and now friend Eddie Hemmings, Stevo has predicted who he things will win the Super League Grand Final in just over two months’ time.
“Yeah, they (Catalans) are the business aren’t they now? The French side really are piling on the pressure,” said Stevo. “They have to be favourites now. Not only just to top the table, but to go and win this year’s Premiership.
“They’ve got the players, they’ve got the backing, and it wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of people out there are saying they’re a good bet to lift that trophy at Old Trafford. And why not?
“I wish a lot of people would get their heads out of the ground because there are still people and I’m talking about not the fans, I’m talking about people involved in the game at top level that still moan about the fact that they’ve got a French side in the UK competition.
“Look, forget about it, we’re trying to spread the game and people within are trying to stop spreading the game.”
Meanwhile, Hemmings went on to make his own bold prediction, stating that he thinks Challenge Cup Finalists Leigh Leopards may have a special treat in store for viewers come the final in three weeks.
Flamboyant owner is known for his colourful ways, and more recently for his leopard print jacket, having rebranded the club prior to the season as Leigh Leopards after his favourite animal.
And Hemmings believes the entire team and staff may show up to Wembley in leopard print suits for their showdown with Hull KR at the country’s national stadium.
“Do you know what I would love to see? Derek Beaumont in his Leigh Leopards’ suit followed by 17 players in a Leigh Leopards’ suit walking out at Wembley on the big day. Wouldn’t that be just fantastic?
“I bet you he does it, you know. I bet you Derek pushes the boat out and gets them all in the suits. It wouldn’t surprise me,” Hemmings concluded.
Stevo added: “Well, I think you’re spot on. What he’s created is a little bit like what has happened down here in Australia in regards to the Dolphins.
“Now, the Dolphins have been up and down, but they were expected to be at the bottom, wooden spooners. They did not expect it. Look, the fans down here didn’t expect the Dolphins to do much, but they’ve created a bit of havoc.
“It’s all about how do we promote our game? Not just on the field of play, but off it?
“I was up in Brisbane the other day and it’s just wonderful to see everybody walking around in the Broncos shirts, but now, they’ve all got the Dolphins shirts on as well. The competition up there as well, it’s just been outstanding.”