The 2023 Super League season kicks off this week. It is the 28th season in the competition’s history and exists at a tipping point within the sport.
This season is riding the crest of a wave following the Rugby League World Cup whilst the sport is also on the eve of a new era as IMG is set to re-imagine the sport.
However, when the game between Warrington Wolves and Leeds Rhinos kicks off on Thursday night all that doesn’t matter and it becomes a rumble between 12 teams vying for Super League glory.
As the season nears, here is a club by club guide of how your team is predicted to do in 2023.
The Tigers have come agonisingly close to the play-offs in both 2021 and 2022 missing out on the top six by the skin of their teeth in both seasons in the final round of the season. As this season comes to a close, Lee Radford will be hoping to secure a spot in the top six.
Key Player: Niall Evals – The Tigers’ fullback is one of the best try scorers in the league when fit and a real creative spark. His injury absence was keenly felt last season. If he can stay fit he can return the Tigers back to the top six.
Predicted Finish: 8th
After flirting with Grand Final glory in 2021 and ending the season two points shy of becoming only the fifth team to be crowned Super League Champions. They seemed as though they were just a few signings away from Grand Final glory in 2022 but they slipped down to fourth and lost in the opening week of the play-offs. In 2023, they seem to be in a state of transition but haven’t signed the players they need for this transition.
Key Player: Sam Tomkins – A two Man of Steel winner and one of Super League’s all time greatest players. He can turn defeats into wins by himself but it may not be enough.
Predicted Finish: 10th
After a great season in 2022 the Giants have done everything a team needs to in order to kick on. They have signed some star quality players namely Jake Connor who will take the Giants from a side who enjoys plenty of possession but can’t always convert those chances into tries into a side with the tools required to score with great frequency. This could turn them into real contenders.
Key Player: Jake Connor – As mentioned, the Giants couldn’t always break down teams in 2022. They had more attacking possession and more goal line drop outs than anyone but couldn’t always score points. Connor will change that.
Predicted Finish: 3rd
Hull FC have brought in one of Super League’s greatest ever coaches in the shape of Tony Smith. He will bring a new culture and an attacking style to the Black and Whites. Add that to some exciting signings and a new look spine which already has a ready made partnership in Jake Clifford and Tex Hoy.
Key Player: Jake Clifford – A great organiser who will bring the best out of Hoy and others, he could fire the Black and Whites back to to the play-offs.
Predicted Finish: 5th
After a difficult season in 2022 struck by injuries, the Robins should be back to their best in 2023 under new boss Willie Peters. They have their injured players back in the mix who will make a massive difference as will their exciting new signings from down under and Super League rivals including James Batchelor who Peters backed for England.
Key Player: Mikey Lewis – A future Man of Steel, a player who will have an incredibly long highlights reel by the end of the 2023 season. These moments could take the Robins back to the play-offs.
Predicted Finish: 6th
Rohan Smith revolutionised Leeds last season taking them from 11th in April all the way to the Grand Final. However, in 2023 it may be a case of a step back before they can move forward. Leeds have let go of some star players and brought in a lot of young talent. Make no mistake about, Leeds are on the road to being a top team again under Smith but their development is taking priority and rightly so thus 2023 may not be the successful season some fans are hoping for.
Key Player: Harry Newman – If Harry Newman is fit for the most of the season he is so good that he could turn the Rhinos into a top three team. That is how good the young centre is. However, there is no guarantee of that.
Predicted Finish: 7th
The Leopards have made some statement signings and not least rebranded their club. They are a side on the up and they could flirt with the play-offs. But they have one of the smaller squads in Super League so injuries will be a concern. They also have a lot of settling in to do with new signings.
Key Player: Edwin Ipape – The favourite for the Man of Steel in 2023, the Championship Player of the Year was exceptional in 2022 and is ready to take Super League by storm.
Predicted Finish: 11th
Salford Red Devils
Salford were the form team at the end of last year and have only strengthened. A great attacking side who are brilliant to watch week in, week out and this could carry the Red Devils all the way to the top four.
Key Player: Brodie Croft – Croft’s quality has been underlined by the fact Salford have awarded him an eight year deal. He will continue to devastate teams in 2023 with his running game.
Predicted Finish: 4th
The Super League Champions are chasing a record fifth consecutive title. They could be even better in 2023 as well with Lewis Dodd back fit and Alex Walmsley back from injury too. They now have more depth on the wings too. They may start slow because of the World Club Challenge, but they are the team to beat.
Key Player: Jonny Lomax – Saints have so many key players but Lomax is the perfect player for a big game and if he is fit at the business end of the year the Saints could be unbeatable.
Predicted Finish: 1st
Mark Applegarth is an exciting young coach and there is a buzz of excitement as well as defiance against those who will put Wakefield down at the club. They have the ability to be a very good side but unfortunately I have to predict someone to finish last.
Key Player: Jai Whitbread – One of the league’s form forwards at the end of the season. A powerful runner and a real worker. He will provide Wakefield steal.
Predicted Finish: 12th
The Wolves have made some big signings as Daryl Powell has put together the pack that he feels he needs to unleash the quality of his Wolves backline. The trouble could be injuries and suspensions for players who are towards the end of their careers. It is an interesting year ahead for the Wolves.
Key Player: George Williams – Exceptional in the World Cup after a difficult season with Warrington in 2022, he is a top tier halfback. With Josh Drinkwater to give him a platform, Williams could shine in 2023.
Predicted Finish: 9th
The Warriors again will be the entertains with Jai Field and Bevan French in their side. With French enjoying a full pre-season, he could be even more deadly. They are the biggest threat to St Helens because of this duo.
Key Player: Bevan French – A try scoring freak in 2022, there is no reason to expect anything different from him in 2023 which could see him break records.
Predicted Finish: 2nd
Predicted Super League Dream Team: Jack Welsby, Bevan French, Ricky Leutele, Tim Lafai, Tommy Makinson, Brodie Croft, Lewis Dodd, Alex Walmsley, Edwin Ipape, Matty Lees, Liam Farrell, Joe Batchelor, Morgan Knowles
Young Player of the Year: Morgan Gannon
An exceptional young player with great tenacity and incredible experience for such a young player given he debuted at the age of 17. He is set for another big season.
Man of Steel: Jack Welsby
Back in his preferred position, this could be the year that Welsby cements himself as Super League’s new star man. He was a runner-up last year and could be ready to grab headlines in 2023.
Challenge Cup Winners: Huddersfield Giants
After being minutes away from the Challenge Cup in 2022, the Giants could now have the ability to kick on in 2023 and pick up that prestigious trophy at Wembley.
Grand Final Winners: St Helens
The team to beat, it feels as if they are unbeatable. Wigan have the best bet with their dynamic duo but this St Helens side have the ability to be the best iteration of this Saints dynasty in 2023 and should therefore lift that Super League trophy at the end of the season.