AS WE’RE now midway through the Super League season I thought this week I’d give my half-term report on the 12 teams.
1: Castleford Tigers
Grade A. Star man: Junior Moors.
Cas have been the star turn so far. They are playing a very attractive brand of rugby that’s very difficult to defend against.
They have put a lot of teams to the sword, including ourselves and Wigan, and when they have lost it’s been narrowly. They are definitely the form team in the competition and are where they deserve to be.
2: Hull FC
Grade B. Star man: Albert Kelly.
Hull have been a bit inconsistent, but pretty good overall. They hit a bit of a down patch when they lost to Salford and us by 50 points at home and they haven’t looked totally convincing. But without being at their best they are still finding ways to win most of their games and that’s a good habit to get into.
3: Salford Red Devils
Grade B-plus. Star man: Ben Murdoch-Masila.
They’ve shocked a lot of people with some of their results this year. The way they play is very easy on the eye. They are a very attacking team with two solid halves who control the game for them and they score a lot of points.
They are definitely the surprise package of the season so far.
4: Leeds Rhinos
Grade B. Star man: Joel Moon.
We have been solid without being spectacular. At times, when things click, we have shown we are a very difficult team to defend against, but we’ve been too inconsistent.
We’ve had a few tough defeats and poor performances, like last week and the Castleford game, but we are heading in the right direction.
5: Wigan Warriors
Grade B-minus. Star man: George Williams.
Wigan have probably suffered more with injuries than anybody else. They went through a patch when they were picking up tough wins, but when you bring a lot of young players in you are going to have blips every now and then. They are still in touch with the leaders and are right in the mix for silverware.
6: Wakefield Trinity
Grade B. Star man: Tom Johnstone.
Another team who have surprised people this year.
They are probably spending less than anybody else, but are really competitive. They don’t always win, but they are in every game and you have to play well to beat them. They have made big progress since Chris Chester took over as coach and I think they are a top-eight side.
7: St Helens
Grade C-minus. Star man: Alex Walmsley.
Another inconsistent team who’ve had a few good results, but too many poor ones. They’ve got a decent squad and not had a huge injury list, but you’d expect more from Saints.
It was disappointing when Kieron Cunningham lost his job but they appointed Justin Holbrook yesterday, so hopefully that will give them some stability.
8: Catalans Dragons
Grade C. Star man: Greg Bird.
Catalans have been affected by injuries to some key players, but should be doing better.
They have had some good results, such as the victory at Hull, but lost games they’d expect to win. They rely heavily on Greg Bird and are a formidable team when he is fit and in form, but their season could still go either way.
9: Warrington Wolves
Grade: C-minus. Star man: Ryan Atkins.
Look at Warrington’s squad and they definitely should not be in the bottom-four. They’ve turned things around a bit after a terrible start, but still don’t look very convincing and that’s without having had a big run of injuries. I think they will probably come good towards the end of the year and get into the top-eight, but they’ve dropped well below their standards so far.
10: Huddersfield Giants
Grade: D. Star man: Sebastine Ikahihifo.
Huddersfield showed what they are capable of last week, which from their point of view probably makes their form for most of the season more frustrating. They have been missing a lot of key players, but they’ve not really replaced some key men who left the club.
They should be higher up the table than they are and losing to a part-time team in the Challenge Cup was a disaster.
11: Leigh Centurions
Grade C. Star man: Mitch Brown.
The whole club was buzzing when we played them in week two, but I think they’ve found it tough coming to terms with the week-in, week-out intensity in Super League. Their away form is poor, but they’ve had some good results at home. They’ll probably pick up and I’d expect them to get more wins over the second half of the season.
12: Widnes Vikings
Grade: D-minus. Star man: Chris Houston.
It was always going to be difficult for them after they lost their pivotal player, Kevin Brown, so close to the start of the year. They’ve had a lot of injuries, mainly in key positions such as the halves and hooker and it’s been tough for them to compete.
The big positive is they’ve brought some young players through who have come in and done really well.