Last season saw Leeds Rhinos enjoy tremendous success in the world of rugby league, claiming a highly impressive treble – the League Winner’s Shield, the Challenge Cup and the Grand Final Trophy. They are fully expected to be right in the hunt for honours again this year, but there are challengers determined that they won’t have it all their own way. So will claim Super League glory this time?
Starting with the defending champions, they are not actually the bookmakers’ favourites to claim an eighth Super League title. Of course, at 4/1 they are hardly an outside bet, but it should be remembered that they will be competing this season without three of the key players from last season’s triumph. Sports Personality of the Year nominee (and arguably the club’s greatest ever player) Kevin Sinfield has switched codes to join Yorkshire Carnegie, while Kylie Leuluai and Jamie Peacock have both retired. Leeds strengthened their front line during their treble winning campaign last time out, bringing in both Mitch Garbutt and Adam Cuthbertson from abroad, which will help bridge the gap left by the retiring Peacock. Furthermore, Brad Singleton is becoming one of the best young props in the league, to potentially replace Leuluai, while Liam Sutcliffe provides tries as well as class at stand-off. It’s a transitional season for Leeds, but they are bound to be in the mix of the play-offs again come the end of the 2016 campaign.
The Warriors are currently the hot favourites to claim the Super League this year, after narrowly losing out to Leeds in last year’s final. They are rated 3/1 odds-on, but their chances of getting off to a good start have already been damaged by the news that Sam Tomkins, the returning full-back who left the Warrior’s two years ago, will miss the first weeks of the season through injury. They have also lost Matty Bowen and John Burgess, but have held onto England international forward John Bateman – who agreed an extension to his contract that will see him stay with the Warriors for another two years at least. He is the type of player who will need to deliver the try-scoring goods if Wigan are to go one better than they did last season.
St Helens are rated the third betting favourites, also at 4/1, having suffered a 13-20 thrilling semi-final defeat to the Rhinos last season. They had a good season overall though, finishing second in the table for the regular season, and can be expected to be in strong contention again. Retiring Paul Wellens has become a coach for this season, while the big new signing is Jack Owens – a winger – who was a free agent after being released by Widnes. Offsetting this is the loss of Matthew Haggerty at prop, who has gone to Salford Red Devils, and it is debatable if St Helens have strengthened enough to step up.
It is hard to say exactly who will win this year’s Super League, and if you don’t fancy taking a punt on the Super League why not try your hand at rugby themed online best pokies on sites like casinooline.co.nz. But in terms of rugby Wigan Warriors have the class to claim another title, but it’ll take a brave gambler to bet against Leeds Rhinos.