With less than two months to go until the Grand Final, now is a good time to look back at the strongest performers of the season so far.
Forward packs are the driving force in any good side, and forwards will be key for any side reaching their targets come the end of the season.
Whether this be reaching top six, finishing on top spot or winning at Old Trafford, having a dominant and competent forward pack is essential for getting over the line.
5 Leeds Rhinos
Leeds have been dealt a bad hand this season, with a constant carousel of players being unavailable due to Covid, injury or suspension. This has meant that for many games they are without any recognised half backs, as well as key omissions across the field. As a result, they have been forced to play extremely direct and physically, putting a great deal of importance on the forwards. The signing of Zane Tetevano has added to the threat that they already offer through Matt Prior and Oledzki in the front row. The two hookers Kruise Leeming and Brad Dwyer have also been a thorn in the opposition’s side week in, week out.
4 Hull FC
The Black and Whites have looked a real threat up the middle. Chris Satae has been arguably their stand out forward, and has been too much to handle for most defences he has come up against. Alongside him, Ligi Sao and Danny Houghton have produced some extremely dominant performances. The back row has also provided the side with key metres, but they need to start looking like a cohesive unit once again if they hope to end up in the key play-off places
3 Warrington Wolves
Warrington have been impressive for the most part this season, currently sitting in third place. Having conceded the second fewest points of any Super League side, it is clear how much work is being done by the forwards to support their quality backs like Widdop and King. With Daryl Clark, Chris Hill and Mike Cooper they possess near-unrivalled experience in the front row, which is supported by the likes of Walker and Philbin. Their back-row forwards have also impressed, none more so than Ben Currie.
2 St Helens
This is the first season for a while in which Saints haven’t had the most dominant forward pack. However, this is not to say that they haven’t been characteristically aggressive and assured in controlling field position. It seems to have been more of the same from the Saints this year despite their losses in the off-season, and they still know how to control a game. They’ve picked up the only piece of silverware available so far, and are on everyone’s radar to pick up another trophy.
1 Catalans Dragons
Catalans have always been known for their size and physicality, but seem to have struck the balance perfectly this year. Their discipline has improved massively, and the forward pack now complements the backs instead of it being relied upon. The Dragons had a relatively quiet off-season, but the signings of Mike McMeeken and Gil Dudson have had a fantastic impact on the side, as they now sit top of the pile having lost just two games all season.