It’s that time of the year again when pundits predict the upcoming Super League fixtures and, with round one just around the corner, it’s only fair to try and gauge how the 12 teams will do this weekend.
With it being a new season, all 12 teams are fairly unknown quantities and, with four new head coaches from the ones that began the 2021 season, there will likely be some major surprises.
But, just how will the teams fare?
St Helens v Catalans Dragons
It’s the Grand Final rematch and it’s likely to be just as close four months on. St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf has recruited heavily following the loss of Theo Fages, Lachlan Coote and Kevin Naiqama, with Konrad Hurrell, Will Hopoate and Curtis Sironen among those joining. Catalans, meanwhile, have brought in just three new recruits as Tyrone May, Dylan Napa and Mitchell Pearce arrive from the NRL. It is a difficult one to predict, but home advantage may prove key.
St Helens by 4
Castleford Tigers v Salford Red Devils
Castleford have gone under the radar so far in the off-season with new head coach Lee Radford building a formidable side with Jake Mamo, Kenny Edwards and Bureta Faraimo just three of the numerous signings the former Hull FC boss has brought in. An expectant Jungle crowd will be waiting with over 8,500 already confirmed to be in the stands. Despite Salford bringing in Marc Sneyd and Brodie Croft, the Tigers will be far too strong.
Castleford by 20
Hull KR v Wigan Warriors
The second Sky Sports match of the week sees Hull KR host Wigan. When these two sides met at Craven Park in 2021, the Robins ran out 26-14 winners as Tony Smith’s men began their charge to the Super League play-offs. However, the Warriors have rebuilt from the bottom with Matt Peet, Lee Briers, Sean O’Loughlin and Shaun Wane heading the new coaching and leadership team. The recruitment of Cade Cust will also help, whilst Kaide Ellis and Patrick Mago look uncompromising up front which should allow Wigan to gain revenge on KR.
Wigan by 10
Leeds Rhinos v Warrington Wolves
It’s the marquee game of the week with Channel 4 broadcasting rugby league for the first time – and what a game to have on! Leeds will host Daryl Powell’s Warrington after coming up against Powell in his time at Castleford – and more often than not losing. However, the Rhinos look seriously good on paper in 2022 with the likes of Aidan Sezer and David Fusitu’a adding some superb threat. Meanwhile, the Wolves suffered a 14-6 pre-season defeat against Wigan, but led by George Williams and Gareth Widdop, surely they will score more points here. Leeds to just edge it.
Leeds by 8
Toulouse Olympique v Huddersfield Giants
It will be interesting to see how Toulouse Olympique cope in their first Super League game, but they will have to do so without their talismanic halfback Johnathon Ford following his exit. Fullback Mark Kheirallah, however, looks destined to play after posting on his social media about how much he is looking forward to play. That being said, Huddersfield Giants could be a different proposition to the one we witnessed in 2021 with eyes firmly fixed on Will Pryce at fullback and the new combination of Theo Fages and Tui Lolohea in the halves. Huddersfield should be too strong and fast.
Huddersfield by 18
Wakefield Trinity v Hull FC
This fixture is something of a question mark. Wakefield have had their first pre-season under Willie Poching and the atmosphere inside the group looks budding to say the least. Meanwhile, Hull head coach Brett Hodgson will be under pressure from the get go considering his side’s dismal end to the 2021 season when they lost nine of their ten games. With Luke Gale in his ranks, however, standards will have been raised whilst the capture of Darnell McIntosh, Kane Evans and Joe Lovodua could prove shrewd. Trinity will make it difficult, but the Black and Whites will just edge it.
Hull FC by 4
Do you agree with our predictions? Let us know in the comments!