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Super League XX: Writer’s Predictions

As the 2015 Super League season approaches, the English writers at have come up with their predictions ahead of the start of the RL New Era. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section or tweet us at @nothingbutrl.

Sean Hayes

Super League winners: St Helens

It is hard to see the Saints letting go of their grasp on the Super League trophy any time soon so I am backing them to retain their title as champions. They won the grand final last year without a single halfback on the field so if Luke Walsh can stay fit all season and combine with new recruit Travis Burns they will be even more dangerous in 2015.

Challenge Cup winners: Warrington Wolves

As a Widnes Vikings fan this goes against everything I stand for but I’m predicting the Wolves to triumph at Wembley once again. Tony Smith’s side play brilliant attacking rugby league and are a very tough side to beat. Add to that their recent record in the competition, having lifted the trophy in 2009, 2010 and 2012, it could be back in the hands of Warrington once again.

Steve Prescott Man of Steel Winner: Todd Carney

The man who is out to prove a point. After being exiled from the NRL, Carney is looking for redemption at Catalans Dragons and only injuries can stop him becoming the best player in Super League. His kicking game can change the momentum of any match and with him fit and firing he could lead the Dragons to a top four spot. Look out for the ex-Origin star this season as he could light up the RL New Era.

Top Eight (1-8): Saints, Wigan, Warrington, Catalans, Leeds, Huddersfield, Widnes, Hull KR

Bottom Four (9-12): Castleford, Salford, Hull FC, Wakefield

Dan Fowler

Super League winners: St Helens

A perfect start to Keiron Cunningham’s reign at Saints. The acquisition of Travis Burns will be a brilliant one, a linkup with former Penrith partner Luke Walsh is only a positive for the club. The young forwards at Saints are another year older and maturing brilliantly, the Langtree Park outfit will be hard to stop in 2015.

Challenge Cup winners: Wigan Warriors

After a trophy-less season in 2014, it’ll be vital for Shaun Wane and his Warriors to get a trophy on the board in the upcoming season. I think the Challenge Cup is the one for them. A big forward pack has only been added to with the introduction of Wakefield powerhouse Taulima Tautai, but the loss of Blake Green could treat Wigan badly. George Williams is looking like the replacement for Green at the Warriors, and the young halfback knows what it means to pull on the Warriors jersey having been brought up through the Wigan academy. He has the passion, and certainly has the skill. His combination with Matty Smith will lead the Wiganers to Wembley, and to a Challenge Cup triumph.

Steve Prescott Man Of Steel Winner: Ashton Sims

The Thor lookalike prop forward will have a barnstorming debut season at Warrington. A brilliant signing for the Wolves, Sims has been part of the NRL for over a decade and that experience will prove vital for his team. A no-nonsense character, the former North Queensland Cowboy will be a big hit at the Halliwell Jones in 2015 and he’s my pick for the coveted end-of-season accolade.

Top Eight (1-8): Saints, Warrington, Wigan, Catalans, Huddersfield, Leeds, Salford, Castleford.

Bottom Four (9-12): Widnes, Hull FC, Hull KR, Wakefield.

Adam Leah

Super League Winners: St Helens

With the new era promising to produce the most competitive season to date, predicting where each side will finish is a tougher job than ever before. St Helens overcame all kinds of adversity to win the Super League last season and I’m backing them to retain their title should key players stay fit.

Challenge Cup Winners: Warrington Wolves

Warrington have the most impressive Challenge Cup record in recent years having lifted the trophy in three of the last six seasons. It all depends on the luck of the draw of course, but I sense there could be another Wembley day out for the Wolves fans this year.

Steve Prescott Man of Steel Winner: James Roby

Hooker James Roby was unlucky not to win the Steve Prescott Man of Steel last season, and another outstanding campaign from the Saints number nine could see him win the award in 2015.

Top Eight (1-8): St Helens, Wigan, Warrington, Catalans, Leeds, Huddersfield, Salford, Castleford

Bottom Four (9-12): Hull KR, Widnes, Hull FC, Wakefield

Elsewhere, if Catalans can replicate their home form in away matches they could push for a top four finish. Huddersfield and Castleford may regress having lost key players and Salford’s smart buys should see them make the top eight at the expense of Widnes.

Oliver Roby

Super League Winners: Warrington Wolves

Personally, I feel 2015 will finally be Warrington’s ‘year’. The Wolves have made major strides under Tony Smith but the wait for that elusive Super League title continues. However, I feel they have the strongest squad in the league and are better equipped than ever for a shot at the title.

In Daryl Clark, they have recruited the most exciting hooker in the league, while Ashton Sims will provide menacing presence up front. Those two, combined with the talent they already have such as Stefan Ratchford and Chris Hill, could prove to be a lethal combination.

Challenge Cup Winners: Salford Red Devils

This year’s newly-sponsored Ladbrokes Challenge Cup looks set to be the most open yet. With the Championship looking stronger than ever, I believe a club or two from the second tier could go far in the competition but, ultimately, a Super League club will be triumphant.

After much deliberation, I went for Salford. With another overhaul of their squad in the winter, inconsistent league form is almost inevitable, but, if the draw is kind, with the likes of Michael Dobson in their ranks, I believe they have sufficient quality to win rugby league’s oldest competition in 2015.

Steve Prescott Man of Steel Winner: Chris Hill

After making one top flight appearance for Leigh Centurions in 2005, the Wire prop has been nothing short of a revelation since his re-introduction to Super League in 2012. A string of impressive performances led to international honours in 2013. His combination of soft hands and a physical running game is a superb blend and he could prove to be a star of the Warrington show this year as he begins to enter his prime.

Top Eight (1-8): Warrington, St. Helens, Wigan, Catalans, Leeds, Castleford, Huddersfield, Hull KR

Bottom Four (9-12): Salford, Hull FC, Wakefield, Widnes

Charlie Ellis

Super League Winners: St Helens

Super League XX promises to be the most wide open in the competition’s history. I could quite easily make a case for five or six teams lifting the trophy at Old Trafford in October, but I fancy St Helens to retain their crown. After last year, we know that they have the squad depth should they be hit with an injury crisis, and they have options and cover in the halves this year too. Luke Walsh was being tipped as last year’s Man of Steel before breaking his leg and his partnership with Travis Burns promises creativity, guile and direction.

Challenge Cup Winners: Warrington Wolves

Warrington had a slow start to last season and should be in the top four of Super League come play-off time. I think they are more than capable of beating anybody on their day and, as long as the battle for the top four doesn’t take too much out of them, I think they have a great shot at winning the Challenge Cup in August. The 2009, 2010 and 2012 winners will obviously need a little bit of luck with the draw, but, having not won any silverware since their 2012 Cup triumph, Tony Smith may well just have the hunger for another Wembley win.

Steve Prescott Man of Steel Winner: Luke Walsh

I’m going to go for Luke Walsh for Man of Steel in 2015. As I said before, he was top of most people’s list for the award last year before his horrific injury curtailed his season. I can see him leading Saints all the way this year too, so I have to go for him although I wouldn’t be surprised to see Leeds’ Jamie Peacock pick up the gong in what is likely to be his last year before retiring.

Top Eight (1-8): St Helens, Warrington, Catalans, Wigan, Huddersfield, Leeds, Salford, Castleford

Bottom Four (9-12): Widnes, Hull KR, Hull FC, Wakefield

In terms of the bottom four, I think Wakefield’s thin squad will see them at the foot of the table. Hull FC lost their two pre season games against Super League opposition, throwing away a 22-6 lead over fierce rivals Hull KR to lose 28-22, before being hammered by Wakey in Gareth Ellis’ testimonial game. The Black and Whites did field an under strength side, but can’t have done much for morale around the KC stadium. They need a strong start to the season, otherwise it could become a struggle. The lack of a big name replacement for hooker Josh Hodgson could see Hull KR struggle, and Widnes have been making steady progress under Denis Betts in recent years, but they are going to need to step up again in 2015 to make the top 8. I see them being in a very close battle for 8th place with Castleford, but the Tigers beat the Vikings in all three of their meetings last season and can’t see how Widnes can reverse the form.

The rest of the top 8 could finish in any order, I’ll go for Saints to win the League Leaders Shield, closely followed by Warrington, Catalan and Wigan. Huddersfield to finish fifth ahead of Leeds and Salford with Castleford rounding off the top 8

My name is Sean Hayes. I am from Widnes, England. I am currently studying journalism at Salford University. Aspiring sports journalist and rugby league fanatic whether it is watching, playing or writing about the greatest game! Follow me on twitter @SHayesNBL

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