As St. Helens await the presentation of their well-deserved League Leaders Shield, we take a look at those looking to challenge the run-away Saints for the Betfred Super League title.
The two teams that spring to mind as the main challengers are Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors. Wolves sit second in the table behind St. Helens, while Wigan sit fourth two points behind Hull.
Warrington look to be the biggest threat to St. Helens, led by the mercurial Blake Austin, the Wolves have played some incredible rugby this season in their own right.
Across the board, Warrington have quality with international forwards and outside backs full of tries, yet there is one reason I believe they can challenge for the title.
The return of Stefan Ratchford. Ratchford’s ball-playing ability gives the Wolves another dimension in attack and could provide the platform for a final run.
Wigan are my next choice for main contenders simply because they have the experience of winning. The loss of Sean O’Loughlin is an obvious big miss and will hinder their chances.
As many as fourteen of last year’s Grand Final winning team are still at the club, offering invaluable experience to young guns Morgan Smithies and Oliver Partington.
Zak Hardaker looks to be coming into form at the right time, and with George Williams leaving at the season end, he could be the difference to leave on a high note.
IN WITH A SHOT
Sitting in third Hull FC can also count themselves in with a chance of making the final, while Castleford Tigers and Catalans Dragons battle out for fifth.
Hull bring the biggest challenge with Marc Sneyd, Albert Kelly and Jake Connor in their ranks they can beat anyone on their day. The problem is inconsistency, can they string together the wins?
Out of Castleford and Catalans my bet would go on the Tigers, both sides have finals experience in their players, however, it feels a step too far for both sides.