Super League team-by-team guide

Get ready for the start of the new Super League season
Get ready for the start of the new Super League season

Ian Laybourn's team-by-team guide to the new Betfred Super League season with a finishing position prediction for each side.

CASTLEFORD TIGERS
Coach: Daryl Powell (since May 2013).
Captain: Michael Shenton.
2017 finish (after 23 rounds): 1st.
2017 leading scorers: tries - Greg Eden 38; goals - Luke Gale 135; points - Luke Gale 334.
Biggest Super League win: 74-16 (v Salford, 2002).
Biggest Super League defeat: 62-0 (v Warrington, 2011) (also lost 70-12 v Hull KR, 2012).
Ground and capacity: The Mend-a-Hose Jungle (formerly Wheldon Road), 11,750.
2017 average attendance: 8,945 (up 1,487).
Record Super League attendance: 11,731 (v Leeds, 2004).

In: Joe Wardle (Newcastle Knights), Garry Lo (Sheffield), Jamie Ellis (Huddersfield, via Hull KR), Mitch Clark (Hull KR), James Clare, James Green (both Leigh), Cory Aston (Leeds).

Out: Andy Lynch, Joel Monaghan (both retired), Luke Million (Villeneuve), Tom Holmes (Featherstone), Ben Crooks (Leigh on permanent move following loan spell), Larne Patrick, Kevin Larroyer (both Leigh), Conor Fitzsimmons (Newcastle Thunder), Jamel Goodall (Bradford), Luis Johnson (Warrington).

Sky Bet odds to finish top: (10/3)

Key man: Luke Gale - The 2017 Man of Steel has a hard act to follow as he seeks to replicate his remarkable season last year but he remains integral to Tigers coach Daryl Powell's attacking ploys.

Prospects: Zak Hardaker will be a major loss as he awaits his fate for a failed drugs test but the rest of the Castleford team remains largely intact and Joe Wardle is a more-than-useful addition so they are sure to be challenging at the top.

Prediction: 1st.

CATALANS DRAGONS
Coach: Steve McNamara (since June 2017).
Captain: to be announced.
2017 finish: 9th.
2017 leading scorers: tries - Vincent Duport and Richie Myler 11; goals - Luke Walsh 69; points - Luke Walsh 150.
Biggest Super League win: 76-6 (v Widnes, 2012).
Biggest Super League defeat: 60-12 (v Leeds, 2006).
Ground and capacity: Gilbert Brutus Stadium, 11,800.
2017 average attendance: 8,612 (down 736).
Record Super League attendance: 11,856 (v Wigan, 2016, also drew 18,150 for visit of Warrington to Barcelona's Olympic Stadium in 2009).

In: David Mead (Brisbane), Michael McIlorum, Lewis Tierney (both Wigan), Samisoni Langi, Antoni Maria (both Leigh), Benjamin Jullien (Warrington).

Out: Thomas Bosc (retired), Richie Myler (Leeds), Luke Burgess (Salford), Justin Horo (Wakefield), Krisnan Inu (Widnes).

Sky Bet odds to finish top: 66/1

Key man: Luke Walsh - The experienced Australian scrum-half had been tipped to leave the French club but, having signed on for another year, his organisation and kicking skills could be crucial, particularly in the absence of his old half-back partner Richie Myler.

Prospects: After their brush with relegation in 2017, the Dragons will surely have learned their lessons and, with a full close season to plot their improvement, a top-eight spot will be the minimum requirement of demanding owner Bernard Guasch.

Prediction: 7th.

HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS
Coach: Rick Stone (since July 2016).
Captain: Leroy Cudjoe.
2017 finish: 8th.
2017 leading scorers: tries - Jermaine McGillvary 19; goals - Danny Brough 61; points - Danny Brough 141.
Biggest Super League win: 66-6 (v Widnes, 2012).
Biggest Super League defeat: 86-6 (v Leeds, 1999).
Ground and capacity: John Smith's Stadium, 24,500.
2017 average attendance: 5,873 (up 602).
Record Super League attendance: 15,629 (v Leeds, 2008).

In: Adam Walne (Salford), Colton Roche (Bradford).

Out: Sam Rapira (Toulouse), Jamie Ellis (Castleford), Jared Simpson (Dewsbury, on season-long loan).

Sky Bet odds to finish top: 25/1

Key man: Danny Brough - The Scotland captain is a bit long in the tooth these days and in the final year of his contract but he remains one of the most influential half-backs in the game with undoubtedly the best kicking game.

Prospects: If he stays fit, the Giants have an exciting attacking weapon in Australian full-back Jake Mamo but there are question marks over their pack and a top-eight spot could be just out of their reach.

Prediction: 9th.

HULL FC
Coach: Lee Radford (since September 2013).
Captain: Danny Houghton.
2017 finish: 3rd.
2017 leading scorers: tries - Albert Kelly 19; goals - Marc Sneyd 105; points - Marc Sneyd 241.
Biggest Super League win: 82-6 (v Salford, 2004).
Biggest Super League defeat: 64-10 (v St Helens, 2002) - also lost 71-0 at Bradford in 2005 play-offs.
Ground and capacity: KCOM Stadium, 25,404.
2017 average attendance: 11,459 (down 131).
Record Super League attendance: 23,004 (v Hull KR, 2007).

In: Bureta Faraimo (Parramatta), Mickey Paea (Newcastle Knights), Hakim Miloudi (Carcassonne), Jordan Abdull (returning from loan spell with Hull KR).

Out: Gareth Ellis (retired), Mahe Fonua (Wests Tigers), Steve Michaels (released), Jordan Thompson (Leigh).

Sky Bet odds to finish top: 11/2

Key man: Albert Kelly - The former Rovers half-back enjoyed a successful first season with the Black and Whites and his partnership with Mark Sneyd could again be crucial if Lee Radford's men are to challenge for the Grand Final.

Prospects: The retirement of Gareth Ellis has left a huge void but the pack is still imposing and Hull look to have picked up a handy replacement for popular winger Mahe Fonua with the blockbusting Bureta Faraimo so they are sure to be in the mix.

Prediction: 4th.

HULL KR
Coach: Tim Sheens (since November 2016).
Captain: to be announced.
2017 finish: 1st in Championship.
2017 leading scorers: tries - Ryan Shaw 18; goals - Jamie Ellis 119; points - Jamie Ellis 262.
Biggest Super League win: 70-12 (v Castleford, 2012).
Biggest Super League defeat: 84-6 (v Wigan, 2013).
Ground and capacity: KCOM Craven Park, 12,225.
2017 average attendance: 7,429 (down 181).
Record Super League attendance: 11,811 (v Leeds, 2015).

In: Danny McGuire (Leeds), Will Dagger (Warrington), Connor Williams, Jordan Walne (both Salford), Tommy Lee (St Helens), Thibault Franck (Catalans Dragons).

Out: Graeme Horne, Ben Cockayne, Jake Butler-Fleming, Will Jubb (all York), Jamie Ellis, Mitch Clark (both Castleford), Jordan Abdull (returned to Hull FC following loan spell), Liam Harris (Doncaster), Kieran Moran (Sheffield).

Sky Bet odds to finish top: 100/1

Key man: Danny McGuire - Rovers pulled off a real coup with the capture of the Leeds skipper and the vastly-experienced half-back will be central to their hopes of survival.

Prospects: With the notable exception of McGuire, Rovers' close-season recruitment has so far been modest and they face an enormous task hanging onto their Super League place, especially with Leigh and Toronto pushing for promotion from the Championship.

Prediction: 12th.

LEEDS RHINOS
Coach: Brian McDermott (since November 2010).
Captain: Kallum Watkins.
2017 finish: 2nd.
2017 leading scorers - tries - Matt Parcell 17; goals - Kallum Watkins 51; points - Kallum Watkins 150.
Biggest Super League win: 86-6 (v Huddersfield, 1999).
Biggest Super League defeat: 66-10 (v Castleford, 2017).
Ground and capacity: Headingley, temporarily reduced to 12,000 due to redevelopment work.
2017 average attendance: 14,573 (down 905).
Record Super League attendance: 23,035 (v Bradford, 2003).

In: Brad Dwyer (Warrington), Richie Myler (Catalans), Nathaniel Peteru (Gold Coast Titans).

Out: Danny McGuire (Hull KR), Rob Burrow (retiring), Jordan Baldwinson (Wakefield), Cory Aston (Castleford).

Sky Bet odds to finish top: 11/2.

Key man: Richie Myler - The man with the biggest boots to fill in 2018, the Rhinos will be hoping their close-season recruit from Catalans can finally start to fulfil all the potential he showed when bursting onto the scene with Salford 10 years ago.

Prospects: It took Leeds some time to recover from the loss of Kevin Sinfield and Jamie Peacock and their prospects in 2018 will depend on how quickly they put behind them the considerable loss of two more club legends, Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow. However, they are sure to be challenging for the top four.

Prediction: 3rd.

SALFORD RED DEVILS
Coach: Ian Watson (since July 2015).
Captain: Weller Hauraki.
2017 finish: 7th.
2017 leading scorers: tries - Niall Evalds 15; goals - Michael Dobson 46; points - Gareth O'Brien 124.
Biggest Super League win: 56-16 (v Bradford, 2011) (highest score 58-26 v London, 2014).
Biggest Super League defeat: 96-16 (v Bradford, 2000).
Ground and capacity: A J Bell Stadium, 12,000.
2017 average attendance: 3,941 (up 713).
Record Super League attendance: 10,146 (v Catalans, 2012).

In: Ben Nakubuwai (Gold Coast Titans), Jack Littlejohn (Wests Tigers), Luke Burgess (Catalans), Derrell Olpherts (Newcastle Thunder), Gavin Bennion (Rochdale), Levy Nzoungou (Toulouse).

Out: Olsi Krasniqi (Toronto), Todd Carney, Michael Dobson (both released), Adam Walne (Huddersfield), Lama Tasi, Ben Murdoch-Masila (Warrington), Jordan Walne, Connor Williams (both Hull KR).

Sky Bet odds to finish top: 100/1

Key man: Robert Lui - As long as they can hold off interest from Hull KR, the Red Devils need the former North Queensland Cowboy to step up after losing his half-back partner Michael Dobson, as well as Todd Carney in the close season.

Prospects: There might be less disruption off the field with the departure of owner Marwan Koukash but Salford will miss his financial input and spending well below the salary cap could hinder coach Ian Watson's bid for another top-eight finish.

Prediction: 10th.

ST HELENS
Coach: Justin Holbrook (since May 2017).
Captain: James Roby.
2017 finish: 4th.
2017 leading scorers: tries - Mark Percival 17; goals - Mark Percival 96; points - Mark Percival 260.
Biggest Super League win: 78-4 (v Leigh, 2005).
Biggest Super League defeat: 70-0 (v Leeds, 2004).
Ground and capacity: Totally Wicked Stadium, 18,000.
2017 average attendance: 10,946 (up 235).
Record Super League attendance: 18,098 (v Warrington, 1996, at Knowsley Road).

In: James Bentley (Bradford).

Out: Matty Fleming (London Broncos), Tommy Lee (Hull KR), Calvin Wellington (Dragons RU).

Sky Bet odds to finish top: 10/3.

Key man: Ben Barba - The NRL Grand Final winner was restricted to just five appearances at the back end of 2017 so it will feel like having a new player in 2018 and the talented full-back promises to take Super League by storm.

Prospects: Recruitment has been negligible but Saints only need to replicate their form of the second half of the 2017 season to be pushing for honours. With a full close season under his belt, head coach Justin Holbrook can take the team all the way to Old Trafford.

Prediction: 2nd.

WAKEFIELD TRINITY
Coach: Chris Chester (since March 2016).
Captain: Danny Kirmond.
2017 finish: 5th.
2017 leading scorers: tries - Ben Jones-Bishop 20; goals - Liam Finn 96; points - Liam Finn 196.
Biggest Super League win: 68-6 (v Halifax, 2003), also 62-0 (v Wigan, 2016).
Biggest Super League defeat: 72-8 (v London, 2005).
Ground and capacity: Mobile Rocket Stadium, Belle Vue, 11,000.
2017 average attendance: 5,283 (up 291).
Record Super League attendance: 11,000 (v Castleford, 2006).

In: Jordan Baldwinson (Leeds), Justin Horo (Catalans), Pauli Pauli (Newcastle Knights), Ryan Hampshire (Leigh).

Out: Mitch Allgood (St George Illawarra), Sam Williams (Canberra), Dean Hadley (returned to Hull FC following expiry of loan deal), Mike Sio (released).

Sky Bet odds to finish top: 50/1

Key man: Tom Johnstone - The exciting wing prospect was on course to push for a World Cup spot until picking up a bad knee injury last May and will be aiming to make up for lost time in 2018.

Prospects: With some tidy additions to an already-useful squad, Chris Chester's men could once more be dark horses for the semi-finals.

Prediction: 8th.

WARRINGTON WOLVES
Coach: Steve Price (since October 2017).
Captain: Chris Hill.
2017 finish: 10th.
2017 leading scorers: tries - Tom Lineham 16; goals - Dec Patton 23; points - Tom Lineham 64.
Biggest Super League win: 80-0 (v Wakefield, 2015).
Biggest Super League defeat: 72-2 (v St Helens, 2002).
Ground and capacity: Halliwell Jones Stadium, 15,000.
2017 average attendance: 10,164 (down 931).
Record Super League attendance: 15,008 (v Widnes, 2016).

In: Tyrone Roberts (Gold Coast), Sitaleki Akauola (Penrith), Bryson Goodwin (South Sydney, via Leigh), Ben Murdoch-Masila (Salford), Mitch Brown (Leigh), Luis Johnson (Castleford).

Out: Kurt Gidley, Matty Blythe (both retired), Brad Dwyer (Leeds), Andre Savelio (Brisbane), Benjamin Jullien (Catalans), Rhys Evans (Leigh), Sam Wilde (Widnes), Peta Hiku (New Zealand Warriors) Ashton Sims, Joe Westerman (both Toronto), Kevin Penny, Ben Pomeroy (both released), Will Dagger (Hull KR).

Sky Bet odds to finish top: 11/2.

Key man: Tyrone Roberts - As the club's marquee signing, the pressure is on the experienced former Newcastle and Gold Coast half-back to turn around the Wolves' fortunes in 2018.

Prospects: New head coach Steve Price has been forced to rebuild the side that dropped out of the top eight in 2017 and, although a marked improvement is guaranteed, it could take time to re-establish Warrington as a force.

Prediction: 6th.

WIDNES VIKINGS
Coach: Denis Betts (since November 2010).
Co-captains: Chris Houston and Joe Mellor.
2017 finish: 12th.
2017 leading scorers: tries - Corey Thompson 9; goals - Tom Gilmore 15; points - Rhys Hanbury 44.
Biggest Super League win: 64-10 (v London, 2014).
Biggest Super League defeat: 70-4 (v Hull, 2004).
Ground and capacity: Halton Stadium, 13,350.
2017 average attendance: 5,587 (up 116).
Record Super League attendance: 9,825 (v Warrington, 2005).

In: Krisnan Inu (Catalans), Sam Wilde (Warrington), Wellington Albert, Stanton Albert (both PNG Hunters).

Out: Tom Armstrong (Toronto), Chris Bridge, Eamon O'Carroll (both retired), Corey Thompson (Wests Tigers), Manase Manuokafoa (Albi, France), Jack Buchanan (released).

Sky Bet odds to finish top: 100/1

Key man: Joe Mellor - Like many of his team-mates, the former Wigan half-back endured an injury-hit season in 2017 and coach Denis Betts will need a fit on-field marshal to steer the team around the park.

Prospects: Little went right for the Vikings in the close season with the tragic loss of Kato Ottio as well as the about-turn from another new signing Will Matthews and another tough year is in prospect.

Prediction: 11th.

WIGAN WARRIORS
Coach: Shaun Wane (since November 2011).
Captain: Sean O'Loughlin.
2017 finish: 6th.
2017 leading scorers: tries - Liam Marshall 21; goals - George Williams 43; points - George Williams 131.
Biggest Super League win: 84-6 (v Hull KR, 2013 and Bradford, 2014).
Biggest Super League defeat: 70-0 (v Leeds, 2005).
Ground and capacity: DW Stadium, 25,004.
2017 average attendance: 13,669 (up 434).
Record Super League attendance: 25,004 (v St Helens, 2005).

In: Dan Sarginson (Gold Coast), Gabriel Hamlin (South Sydney).

Out: Michael McIlorum, Lewis Tierney (both Catalans Dragons), Anthony Gelling (NZ Warriors).

Sky Bet odds to finish top: 11/2

Key man: Sam Tomkins - The former England full-back is a man on a mission after failing to win back his international place and is set to spend much of the new season back in the halves following Thomas Leuluai's switch to hooker.

Prospects: Wigan are determined to make amends for their failure to make the semi-finals in 2017 but they are arguably weaker in the absence of Michael McIlorum and their early-season trip to Australia could derail those plans.

Prediction: 5th.

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