Recruitment across Super League this off-season has been of an incredibly high quality with every team strengthening in key areas and that’s only serving to make the league a lot more competitive.
Labelling the league as competitive when it’s had the same winner for the past four years seems absurd but the standard of rugby keeps increasing, as does the number of sides with a genuine shot at the playoffs.
One side last season who very few tipped for the playoffs was Salford Red Devils with the side expected to miss out following a poor 11th placed campaign in 2021.
That was going to happen as well based on three wins in 11 but an incredible end to the season saw Salford nip into the playoffs where they managed to beat Huddersfield prior to a semi-final defeat to St Helens.
Full-back Ryan Brierley has revealed how much that loss hurt, and how wide open the league is when speaking with The Sportsman Rugby League Youtube channel.
“I don’t think any rugby player sets out their season to be average, we want to win a trophy and it hurts more after last year. Last season I’d have thought playoffs (represented success) and that’s all well and good but when you come so close, you want to win something.
“We understand there’s a lot of hard work that goes into earning silverware and the champions St Helens have been an incredible team for four or five years, and we understand the level.
“Playing that semi-final I was shocked at the intensity they brought so I know we’ve got a couple of levels to go up before we can consistently get top that point.”
Salford lost to St Helens 19-12 in the semi-final game before making it their fourth consecutive Grand Final win in a row, but Brierley thinks they’ll face more opposition to earn a fifth in 2023.
“The challengers for the Super League will be a lot greater. Warrington and Huddersfield have both recruited a lot better so it’s going to be a tough season.
“It will unbelievable to view for Super League viewers but it’s going to be one hell of a tough season, that’s for sure.”