The Super League season comes to an end on Saturday as St Helens take on Wigan Warriors in the 2014 First Utility Super League Grand Final and the ‘Nothing But League’ Super League writers have come up with their Dream Teams ahead of the season finale.
The Dream Team was selected before the play-offs started and caused controversy over the players selected so our team have picked their top thirteen players who they think have been the best in the 2014 competition.
Morgan Escaré (Catalan), Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Michael Shenton (Castleford), Joe Wardle (Huddersfield), Joel Monaghan (Warrington), Kevin Brown (Widnes Vikings), Marc Sneyd (Castleford), Jamie Peacock (Leeds), Daryl Clark (Castleford), Chris Hill (Warrington), Elliot Whitehead (Catalan), Brett Ferres (Huddersfield), Joe Westerman (Hull FC)
My biggest issue with the official Dream Team was the fact that the league’s top two try scorers were snubbed however they appear in my thirteen as Escaré and Monaghan take the place of Hardaker and Hall. The other differences are that Marc Sneyd is in the halves after his brilliant season as he helped Castleford to a successful year and Joe Westerman, who earned a deserved call up to the England side, features at loose forward. Also Joe Wardle and Brett Ferres are in the team due to their dangerous combination on the Huddersfield left edge which has caused trouble to defences all season.
Among the players from the official Dream Team which I have kept in my team the stand-outs are Elliot Whitehead, who has been outstanding at second row with his solid defence and ability to find the try line, and Kevin Brown who was the architect behind Widnes’ first ever top eight finish.
Dream Teams will always cause debate and everyone will have different opinions however I’d fancy my team to come out on top against any current Super League side.
Morgan Escaré (Catalan), Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Michael Shenton (Castleford), Kallum Watkins (Leeds), Joel Monaghan (Warrington), Luke Walsh (St Helens), Matty Smith (Wigan), Chris Hill (Warrington), Daryl Clark (Castleford), Jamie Peacock (Leeds), Carl Ablett (Leeds), Elliott Whitehead (Catalan), Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan)
Two names I couldn’t believe were not included in the official dream team were Joel Monaghan and Morgan Escaré. Scoring tries is what entertains the fans most and the pair have crossed 63 times this season in total. Escaré’s team mate at Catalan Elliott Whitehead has been the stand out forward for me this season and deserves all the plaudits he’s receiving.
Michael Shenton and Daryl Clark have been outstanding for Castleford and were both key players in the Tigers’ success this year.
Luke Walsh may not have played since the end of July, but his contribution before suffering his season ending injury was crucial to Saints’ progress this season and the Australian was on course to be a man of steel contender.
Zak Hardaker (Leeds), Joe Burgess (Wigan), Anthony Gelling (Wigan), Michael Shenton (Castleford), Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Kevin Brown (Widnes), Matty Smith (Wigan), Jamie Peaock (Leeds), Daryl Clark (Castleford), Craig Huby (Castleford) Liam Farrell (Wigan) Chris Hill (Warrington) Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan)
I have picked a Super League dream team based upon players who I feel have had outstanding personal achievements. Zak Hardaker has overcome great controversy, admittedly brought upon by himself, and shown we have a real rival for Sam Tomkins number one jersey this autumn. Joe Burgess is at wing as he has burst onto the scene scoring 19 tries, one for each year of his life! Anthony Gelling has had a great year as has Castleford’s Michael Shenton who has been the inspiration behind Cas’ resurgence. Tommy Makinson has delighted Saints fans and many neutrals all season with some ridiculous finishes.
In the halves, Kevin Brown secures the number six spot. His half back partner is Mr Reliable himself, Matty Smith who has once again guided Wigan back to Old Trafford.
Super League’s old stager Jamie Peacock is at prop. He plays the game as hard now as he did when he first started out. His prop forward partner is Craig Huby of Cas who has completed the hard yards all season helping the Tigers to success. With the plethora of British talent at hooker this was a tough choice but it’s Daryl Clark who just gets the nod over Roby. My second rowers are Chris Hill of Warrington and Liam Farrell of Wigan. Hill has been knocking defenders over like skittles all season, whilst Farrell is so dynamic. Ryan Hoffman recently tweeted that O’Loughlin is one of the finest players in the world, and it’s hard to disagree. His influence when he has played this year has been tremendous. A great leader, a great thirteen and captain of my dream team.
In my Dream Team, I explain why I chose to select certain players who were overlooked by the media.
1. Morgan Escaré (Catalan) – I went for the young Frenchman over Zak Hardaker as he has been simply sensational all year, scoring an outstanding 27 tries for a side who finished 7th in the table. Not yet the finished article, but certainly a player with a very bright future.
2. Tommy Makinson (St Helens)
3. Michael Shenton (Castleford)
4. Joe Wardle (Huddersfield) – One of the unsung heroes of the 2014 Super League season, regularly going under the radar despite a stellar campaign which saw him capture all the major individual accolades at his club’s award ceremony.
5. Joel Monaghan (Warrington) – Super League’s leading try scorer just had to be in.
6. Marc Sneyd (Castleford) – Despite a drop in form towards the end of the year, Sneyd’s achievements this season should not go unnoticed, going from the fringes of the Salford side in 2013, to racking up 30 try assists a year later is a remarkable effort.
7. Danny Brough (Huddersfield) – The Scotland captain lead the assists chart with 31 and was sorely missed by his side when injured.
8. Chris Hill (Warrington)
9. Daryl Clark (Castleford)
10. Jamie Peacock (Leeds)
11. Elliot Whitehead (Catalan)
12. Carl Ablett (Leeds)
13. Joe Westerman (Hull FC) – His Hull FC side underachieved dramatically this season but the Castleford product emerged with credit and appears to be finally starting to fulfill his potential.