The Super League season will start once more on Thursday 10 February with reigning champions St Helens gearing up for another defence of their title for the FOURTH year in a row.
However, they will have to deal with, arguably, stronger Super League rivals with the likes of Catalans Dragons and Wigan Warriors all rejuvenating their sides ahead of what promises to be an incredible top flight season.
But, some sides are being given little to no chance of causing any problems in 2022.
Here are three Super League teams who will take people by surprise in the upcoming campaign.
For me, the Wigan Warriors top this list. They’ve quietly gone about their business in the off-season with a whole new coaching team. Matt Peet has taken the reins as head coach, with Sean O’Loughlin and Lee Briers as assistants and Shaun Wane returning to the club in a leadership role. Add into that new signings such as Manly halfback Cade Cust and NRL forwards Patrick Mago and Kaide Ellis as well as ex-London winger Abbas Miski and the Warriors have built an exciting side for 2022. Of course, losing Jackson Hastings is massive, but with a spine of Bevan French, Cust, Harry Smith and Sam Powell and Wigan should be well placed for a play-off charge.
After a poor end to the 2021 Super League season, Hull FC have been tipped by many to fall outside the play-offs once more in 2022 – and that could indeed happen if their form of nine losses from ten games to end the season in 2021 happens again. However, the capture of Luke Gale at halfback could prove to be a masterstroke as the Black and Whites now have someone who can take games by the scruff of the neck whilst partner Josh Reynolds can do the flashy stuff. Kane Evans will give Hull greater firepower up front whilst the signing of Darnell McIntosh and Joe Lovodua fill two problem areas for Brett Hodgson’s men.
They have been predicted by almost every man and his dog to finish near the bottom of the Super League table in 2022, but new head coach Willie Poching seems to have instilled a much stronger belief at Wakefield Trinity. The likes of Tom Johnstone and Bill Tupou will be fit and raring to go, whilst new signings Lee Gaskell, Liam Hood and Tom Lineham will improve the Trinity side. And, with David Fifita, Kelepi Tanginoa and Jacob Miller determined to make good things happen at Belle Vue then Wakefield fans have reason to be optimistic without looking over their shoulders as much as previous seasons.