With the season just around the corner in less than a month, Super League head coaches are putting the finishing touches together on their pre-seasons with fixtures set to come thick and fast.
Among those who did better in 2021 are Hull KR, who finished in the play-offs and made it all the way to the semi-finals before being beaten by the Catalans Dragons. The Dragons themselves finished top of the table after few gave them a chance following travel issues.
Of course, St Helens continued their marvellous run with another Grand Final victory, but the likes of Hull FC, Huddersfield Giants and Castleford Tigers disappointed greatly. That being said, just which head coaches will be under the most pressure in 2022?
Daryl Powell – Warrington Wolves
It’s no secret that both Daryl Powell and Warrington endured a rather miserable 2021; Powell’s Castleford finished outside the play-offs, whilst the Wolves lost out in the play-offs at the first time of asking. Powell had turned the Tigers around from 2014 until 2017, but since then there seemed to be a steady decline, with Castleford finishing outside the play-offs in two consecutive seasons in 2020 and 2021. Warrington, meanwhile, have never really fulfilled their potential despite great performances in patches. With more money at his disposal and stars such as George Williams and Gareth Widdop in his side, Powell can have no excuses if he doesn’t get the Wolves touching silverware.
Brett Hodgson – Hull FC
Hull FC started like a house on fire under Brett Hodgson in his maiden season, but COVID and injury problems sent the Airlie Birds’ season spiralling out of control. Still, Hodgson had the leading try-assister in his ranks in Jake Connor – with 22 – and big pre-seasons for the likes of Josh Griffin and Carlos Tuimavave could help Hodgson find his best side in 2022. Unfortunately, fans were already disgruntled with the way in which Hull ended 2021, and, is there any wonder why? Nine defeats from their last ten games condemned FC to a meagre ninth in the Super League table and all eyes will be watching Hodgson this year. He certainly seems composed, but with more pressure on, it will be interesting to see how he handles it in his first big managerial job.
Matt Peet – Wigan Warriors
There can be nothing clearer for Matt Peet – win silverware. Wigan were majorly off it in 2021 despite finishing fourth in the table and an early exit to Leeds Rhinos in the play-offs summed up their season. An 8-0 defeat revealed just how clunky the Warriors’ attack had been and they actually scored less points per game than the relegated Leigh Centurions. Peet has a great team behind him in Sean O’Loughlin, Lee Briers and Shaun Wane, so if this team cannot get the Cherry and Whites firing then it remains to be seen who can. But, even if silverware isn’t forthcoming, Wigan fans want to see more exciting rugby – that point is fact.