How do you know that the awful winter is coming to an end and that there is life after the NFL – simple. The Super League starts this week and with it comes genuine joy on Thursdays and Fridays with the Sky coverage and of course the odd Saturday as well, the Super League provides it all. At the Betting Agency we love the game and I think if you go back through our 2014 preview you will find we are pretty dam good at finding you great value and more than a few winners.
So, who wins it this year. We take a team by team approach to the hopefuls and then give you our best for 2015
Castleford Tigers – 2014 was amazing year for the Tigers, where Daryl Powells mean exceeded everyone’s expectations. However the close season hasn’t been kind and supporters need to understand the significance of losing both man of steel Daryl Clark and Iron Man – Craig Huby. True Powel has shrewdly signed Ben Roberts and Luke Gale but added to the losses of Weller Hauraki, Marc Sneyd and Gareth Carvell and you have some big shoes to fill. Top 8 is achievable but it will take some effort.
Catalan Dragons – by the end of this season you will be sick of me writing about the Dragons. Why? Because they were really good last year and nearly made the Grand Final and in the off season all they have lost is the dead wood and they have replaced them with, temperament aside possibly one of the top 5 players in the world in Todd Carney, Remi Casty and Willie Tonga. They already have the most exciting three quarter line and I can’t rave enough about how good I think Morgan Escare. This is the best squad in the Super League and they are unbeatable at home – so what does that mean – I think it means they top the table come finals time.
Huddersfield Giants – Anyone who follows me knows I don’t like the Giants and their wimpish performance in the play-offs is everything that I hate in the Rugby Team – they just don’t perform under pressure and I don’t believe they are led by a winner. Having said that this year could be different. Make no mistake third is no disgrace but they were put together very well by Nathan Brown, who showed how good he is by then steering Saints to glory and Baloo has his work cut out to keep this show on the road and its possible that he might. Huby is a great signing and Ellis is a good one. Brough is a genius, when he is allowed to play but I worry about the losses of Fiamu and Aspinall. I would be a seller of third position although I think they will win the games they are meant to. Top 8 but no higher than 5th this year as the skein unravels.
Leeds Rhinos – I may well be a Dragons supporter this year but I have been so much a Leeds fan over the last 3 years. So tough. My big worry for the Rhinos is that with the exception of Zak Hardaker, who I think will be the best player in Super League this year, they are an aged squad who hurt and go missing for a few weeks every season and they are supported by some promising inexperienced youths. Adam Cuthbertson is a good signing from Newcastle but not a great one. Jones-Bishop, Bailey and Kirke will take some replacing.
St Helens – An amazing performance by Nathans Browns team last year and they will miss him. Keiran Cunningham has learnt but will he produce when the chips are down and can he keep his talented squad together. Luke Walsh is a genius and if he is fully recovered from his broken leg then they look good again. Sia Soliola was a great impact player and will be missed but other than that they look to be in good shape. They believe and they know how to win and they will be s short price in every game. If they stay healthy they will make the last 4.
Salford Red Devils – I was tempted not to include them in this write up but that would be wrong. On their day they can beat anyone but they were so inconsistent last year and that has to stop. They have turfed out the chaff and have recruited to make a strong squad. Jones-Bishop, Dobson, Hauraki and Taylor are all 1st team players who know how to win and with the exception of how much the old war horse Adrian Morley has in the tank, I think they can upset quite a few this year. Top 8 prospects for them.
Warrington – The addition of Ashton Simms, Daryl Clarke and Gary Wheeler makes for a great post season campaign by coach Tony Smith. They have a good squad and badly missed lee Briars last year. This year they have some real spine in the play making department with Daryl Clarke and a lot of talented players around him. I am really keen on their chances because this year they have the best coach in England and that to me counts for a lot. They will make the Grand Final again – I’m sure of that.
Wigan Warriors – Shaun Wane wont be happy with me giving Tony Smith the accolade of best UK coach and wane is not far behind him. His three key signings of Lee Mossop, Larne Patrick and Taulima Tautai are quality and re-inforce a strong squad. Blake Green is a loss but a fit Sean O’Loughlin is an asset. He was so injured last year. Rookie George Williams has much expected of him and he will have very good games. Can he keep the ball moving under extreme pressure form the big guns. Maybe. For me Wigan will be thereabouts again and they might nick a Challenge Cup but I think top 4 is best for them.
The Rest: Widnes are a team to watch. They will beat all the teams below the top 8 as Denis Bates is such a good coach and they play on a predictable, quick surface every second week which suits the team he is building. Wakefield are in a mess with their ground and sadly I think that will show on the pitch and I have little hope for the two Hull sides who are hard to beat at home but simply keep signing people who are past it – eg, Leon Pryce, Darrel Goulding and half the Gold Coast team who simply aren’t good enough.
So our bets are
- 12 units win Catalan Dragons to win more than 12.5 games @ 4-6 with Betvictor
- 5 units e/w Catalan Dragons to win the Premierhsip @ 11-1 with Boylesports