10 Things we’ve learnt from the Opening Round of Super League Results
Super league is back! And with 6 fixtures having been played this past week, as well as Huddersfield’s victory over Wigan the previous week, each team has given a glimpse of what we can expect to see from them this year. Whether it’s new signings offering encouragement, or a poor start foreshadowing what is to come this season, here are 10 things we’ve learnt from the opening round.
1) The Red Devils Revolution is on (Maybe)
‘Welcome to Hell’ was the message that greeted Wakefield as they arrived at the Salford City Stadium on Sunday. With a whole starting line up full of debutants, Salford began impressively, racing into a 18-0 lead at half time. However, Wakefield responded with 3 second half tries, but with Paul Sykes missing 2 vital conversions, the points belonged to Salford. It’s too early to tell which end of the table the Red Devils will be challenging at, but if this team gels quickly, they could be a force to be reckoned with.
2) Super Signings have boosted Saints
St Helens’ incredible performance against Warrington on Thursday night proved that they are going to be challenging for honours this season. New signing Luke Walsh was instrumental in their play, and topped off his man of the match performance with a try at the end. Kyle Amor also looked threatening to the Wolves’ defence whenever he had the ball, and with another new forward Mose Masoe still to come into the side, expect big things from the Saints this year.
3) It’s going to be a long year for London
Everyone’s favourites for relegation, the Broncos began their campaign with a crushing 64-10 loss away to Widnes. It’s going to be a long season for London, but the fact they didn’t go under in the off season is a positive, and if a lot of their young players are able to step up, you never know what could happen.
4) Huddersfield could reach the summit again
After winning the League Leaders Shield in 2013, Huddersfield will be looking to do the same again, only this time go one step further than that and make it to Old Trafford. Tipped by most as the favourites to finish top, the Giant’s ran in an impressive 24-8 victory away to last season’s champions Wigan. Expect more of the same this campaign.
5) Warrington miss key absentees
By key absentees I’m mainly referring to Lee Briers, whose creative flair, leadership and kicking game was evidently missed in Warrington’s opening round loss to St Helens. The loss of Brett Hodgson, Adrian Morley and Gareth Carvell shouldn’t be undermined either, and this could be a season of transition for the Wolves.
6) There’s going to be a lot more close encounters
‘Too many boring, unimportant games’ is often a criticism of the competition. Well if that’s the case then the opening round of fixtures proved anything but. A narrow 2 point victory for Hull over Catalan, and a 18-14 win for Salford over Wakefield proved that there are going to be a lot more nail-biting encounters over the season, and with relegation a real threat for some teams, there’s going to be a lot more emphasis on grinding out results.
7) Wigan may struggle to replace the irreplaceable
Similarly to Warrington, last season’s champions Wigan may struggle to replace the skill, leadership and determination of Sam Tomkins. Pat Richards is another huge loss for the Warriors, as they failed to land any conversions in their loss to Huddersfield, and will also miss his try scoring record. Never write Wigan off though, there’s plenty of talent still in the side to see them challenging for the title.
8) This could be the most watched season yet
Continuing with the success of attendances at last year’s world cup, the opening round of fixtures saw an increase in last season’s attendances, with 10,423 people on average at each game, surpassing last year’s 8570, and 2012’s 9564. There was a near full house at Wigan, Warrington and Hull KR, as well as Salford doubling their average attendance from last year. Hopefully, the amount of people going through the turnstiles will increase as the season progresses, to give us the most watched campaign yet.
9) Don’t Write Leeds off
Despite winning the Super League title in 2011 and 2012, Leeds will be disappointed in their regular season finishes in those campaigns, 5th. They showed a slight improvement last year by finishing 3rd, and this year will be looking to finish as high as they can going into the play offs. Despite drawing 6-6 at half time, an inspired 2nd half display from the Rhinos saw them ease to a 34-6 victory, with a hat-trick from new signing Tom Briscoe. It’s going to be too close to call at the top, but don’t write the Rhinos off.
10) The Competition will be too close to call
If the opening round of results proved anything, it’s that this season is going to be the closest yet. More teams than ever will be competing for top spot, and with the threat of relegation, there’s an added incentive to grind out results. Expect twists and turns, close encounters and many shock results. This is super league, anything can happen.