9. Castleford Tigers
Castleford lost their way last season, slumping to an eighth place finish in Super League, which was a far cry from the side that reached the Grand Final four years ago. Although it has to be said the club were heavily affected by Covid-19 last term.
Despite Paul McShane winning the Man of Steel award, Cas lacked their usual attacking proficiency that made them one of the best teams to watch in recent seasons.
Apart from the signing of Niall Evalds, the Tigers haven’t made too many improvements to their squad. Given the business done by the clubs that finished around them in the table, I think it could be another season of struggle for Daryl Powell’s side.
Niall Evalds. The former Salford man has an impressive record for the Red Devils and was a key player as the club reached the Grand Final two years ago. The 27-year-old is a player who could become even better under Powell and is someone the Tigers can build their team around for the next couple of seasons.
10. Hull Kingston Rovers
Hull KR have made some impressive off-season signings under Tony Smith, with Super League great Ryan Hall returning to the competition after a frustrating few years in the NRL.
Retaining their Super League status will be the Robins primary objective and whilst there has been plenty of turnover amongst the playing squad, Rovers should have enough quality to remain in the division.
Losing Robbie Mulhern to Warrington was a blow, but if they can get the best out of Hall on the wing, the Robins won’t have to worry about slipping through the trap door.
Ryan Hall. Much like Greg Inglis at Warrington, Rovers have taken a gamble by bringing in Hall. England’s all-time top try scorer struggled for game time with the Sydney Roosters but everyone on these shores knows just how deadly the 33-year-old can be having scored just shy of 200 tries in Super League with Leeds.
11. Leigh Centurions
I fancy newly-promoted Leigh will avoid the drop in their first season back in Super League, but only just.
There’s been plenty of activity from the Centurions in terms of incomings and outgoings, notably bringing in Ben Flower, Lewis Tierney, Jamie Ellis, Ryan Brierley, Joe Mellor and Matty Russell, most of whom have a point to prove having previously struggled to make their mark at their respective clubs.
John Duffy’s side will be under pressure to impress from the first whistle given the disappointment amongst Super League fans when the Centurions were announced as this season’s 12th club, it’s now up to them to prove their doubters wrong.
Joe Mellor. There’s plenty of players who could prove to be Leigh’s key man this term, but I’ve gone with former Widnes man Mellor. The 30-year-old caught the eye when previously playing in the division with Widnes and will be keen to prove his worth after his most recent spell with Toronto Wolfpack.
12. Wakefield Trinity
Propping up this year’s table could well be Wakefield who have lost a lot of experience from their squad with Danny Brough, Danny Kirmond, Ryan Atkins, Craig Kopczak and Ben Jones-Bishop all departing.
There is one exciting signing in the form of Samoan international Mason Lino from the Newcastle Knights but whether that will be enough to improve Trinity’s form, only time will tell.
The addition of Andy Last to the coaching staff could prove important with his experience only going to benefit coach Chris Chester and his playing squad. The Dreadnoughts did improve towards the end of the campaign after a run of 10 consecutive losses.
Tom Johnstone. When he’s fit, he’s arguably the best winger in the competition, but keeping him fit has been Wakefield’s problem. The 25-year-old will be desperate to enjoy an injury free season and should be a contender for top try scorer if his fitness is in check.