So often success doesn’t come from quality individuals but quality combinations, quality squads.
One vitally important combination is the centre-wing partnership and in Super League we’re blessed with a host of outstanding centres, scintillating wingers and partnerships between them that are simply mouth-watering.
With that in mind, let’s rank the 5 best in Super League.
5. Zak Hardaker and Jake Bibby (Wigan Warriors)
It’s true that Hardaker’s best rugby has been at fullback. That’s where he won the Man of Steel in 2015 and where he excelled at Castleford. However, in 2011 he won a Grand Final playing at centre and last year proved to be a superb centre for Wigan offering skill, speed and power. He helped Wigan to the Grand Final from that position and formed a dynamic partnership with Jake Bibby. Bibby scored in the 2019 Grand Final for Salford and impressed at Wigan playing and scoring in the decider for the Warriors in 2020. He’s got good strength and is trustworthy with the ball in hand. He’ll have a job on keeping Dominic Manfredi out of the side but right now him and Hardaker are a good combination.
4. Jake Wardle and Jermain McGilvery (Huddersfield Giants)
Wardle proved to be a mercurial player out wide for the Giants last term even attracting attention from the NRL. Huddersfield fans will have been delighted when he committed to the club and 2021 promises to be another big year for the centre as he continues to develop. No doubt helping his development is the experienced McGilvery. Once upon a time Super League’s best winger and the top scorer in the 2017 World Cup, McGilvery may be passed his peak but is still a superb winger who benefits from the quality on his inside.
3. Toby King and Tom Lineham (Warrington Wolves)
We’re currently spoilt for choice when it comes to young English centres. Huddersfield have Jake Wardle, Leeds have Harry Newman and Warrington have Toby King. New recruit Greg Inglis continually praises the centre who was outstanding last season even making the Dream Team and forcing his way into the England squad. On his outside is one of the most underrated wingers in the league. Lineham has pace and power and is always difficult to stop. Together they’re a sublime combination.
2. Konrad Hurrell and Ash Handley (Leeds Rhinos)
Leeds have some real conundrums at centre this year. In 2019 Konrad Hurrell joined Leeds and formed a superb partnership on the left with Handley but following the injury to Newman he shifted to the right. Will 2021 see him return to the left – who knows. But over the last two years he and Handley have been sublime. Handley finished last season as Super League’s top try scorer having only just missed out the year before. He was Super League’s top metre maker in 2020 as well and made the Dream Team for the second consecutive season an accolade shared by Hurrell. The big Tongan centre has brough x-factor to Headingley and is almost unstoppable near the line. Following consecutive Dream Team appearances for both you could argue they should be number 1.
1. Kevin Naiqama and Tommy Makinson (St Helens)
But slightly better than the Leeds left edge is the St Helens right edge. The pair have helped St Helens to back-to-back titles and I thought Naiqama was superb in last year’s decider. He brings sheer class with his skill level and athleticism. Outside him is for me the best winger on the planet. Give Makinson the ball anywhere near the corner and he’ll find a way to score. Together they’re a pairing of absolute quality and made the 2019 Dream Team together after Makinson had finished the year as top try scorer.