It’s almost that time again, the time were we consume generous amounts of alcohol in our favourite locals, before heading down the road to watch our beloved black and whites entertain us in what’s sure to be another season to remember.
With that exciting thought in mind, hullfcfans.com takes a look at the rest of Super League sides ahead of the 2018 and makes a bold, and pretty daring attempt at predicting how the league table may pan out.
1) St.Helens – Saints had a strong finish to 2017 and managed to not only blag their way into the playoffs, but were probably hard done by to not earn a place in the Grand Final, and that’s testament to the influence of Justin Holbrook. With a full off-season under his belt, and with little changes to the squad, expect them to be challenging high this year.
2) Hull FC – Top, Top, Top. Maybe 2nd. Okay not quite top, but taking the rose-tinted specs off for a moment, we’re losing two very key players who have been absolute gems at the club in Gareth Ellis and Mahe Fonua, some may even say ‘irreplaceable’. Both of these players have the capacity to single-handedly win games for the black and whites, but like all clubs, you just learn to live life without them.
With Abdul returning to cover the halves (or elsewhere for that matter), Mickey Paea returning from his stint in the NRL to bolster the pack and new recruit Bureta Faraimo to directly replace Fonua, there’s room for optimism. That’s not including Dean Hadley who had a great season with Wakey on loan last year. Winning the cup 2 years in the row hasn’t done us any harm in my opinion either, it’s only made us hungry for more success – and we all know what piece of silverware we’re hungry for next!
3) Leeds – Them Rhinos ehh, they go from winning the treble in 2015, to facing relegation in 2016, then bouncing back to claim the Super League crown in 2017. They’re unpredictable that’s for sure, but with the loss of Danny McGuire and the signing of Richie Myler and Brad Dwyer, only time will tell if they can live up to the success of last season. Make no mistake about it though they’ll be up there.
4) Castleford – It’s safe to say Cas well and truly surpassed all expectations in 2017, claiming top spot by a record margin of 10 points. Ultimately though, they ended up closing out the year with a piece of silverware that wouldn’t look out of place in your Great Aunt Loretta’s cabinet. They failed to deliver in the Cup Semi-Final, and failed to deliver in the Grand Final. They’ll be up there again in 2018 for sure, but in the same vain – not a chance – although Man of Steel Luke Gale has had a hair transplant. This could be a game-changer…
5) Warrington – It’s always their year, apparently. Well I’m going on record right now and saying 2018 ‘WON’T’ quite be their year. To be fair, i’d say out of all the clubs Warrington have recruited the among the best, but they’ve also needed to! New signings in Sitaleki Akauola (Penrith), Mitch Brown (Leigh), Bryson Goodwin (South Sydney), Tyrone Roberts (Gold Coast) and Ben Murdoch-Masila (who’s finally on a plane to to the UK) look promising, but they’ve got some major improving to do to have a repeat of a largely successful 2016 season where they finished 1st overall.
6) Wigan – They’ve lost 2 very good players in hooker Michael McIlorum and centre, come comedian Anthony Gelling. Also with Sean O’Loughlin not getting any younger these days, I think the cherry and whites could be in for a quiet season. And I’m not complaining…
7) Wakefield – Trinity had a solid outing in 2017, but to finish 5th and narrowly miss out on the playoffs would have been a huge disappointment for them. With the only notable signing brought in been Tyler Randell (Newcastle) and losing more than a handful of players, mid-table seems the likely destination of the West Yorkshire outfit.
8) Catalans – The French outfit have bagged a great signing in Mickey McIlorum, but lose long-term player Thomas Bosc, along with Krisnan Inu and Richie Myler. They missed out on the Top 8 last season, but feel they’ll have more to give in 2018 and will undoubtedly shock a few of the ‘Big’ clubs.
9) Huddersfield – It’s hard to put them anywhere other then down in the Middle 8’s zone unfortunately. With an aging Danny Brough, he’ll determine whether they make the Top 8’s or not. They made their two best signings mid-season last year in former Hull players Jordan Turner & Jordan Rankin, but nothing about their squad particular excites me to be brutally honest.
10) Hull KR – Huhhh, can I even be bothered to write about them. Okay here goes. They’ve signed Tommy Lee, Chris Atkin and a few other forgettable names, but – they’ve signed Danny McGuire, and it’s a great signing for them. If he stays fit for the majority of the season, he keeps them up, but ultimately they’re not safe from the Middle 8’s in my opinion.
11) Salford – They’ve been playing gold diggers for a good couple of years now and despite that, still couldn’t rustle up any major success. With the departure of kash-cow (Marwan Koukash), and attendance numbers still in decline, they’ve got a squad that fits the bill for – The Middle 8’s.
12) Widnes – They’ll struggle again in all likely-hood, but they’ve made a pretty good signing in Krisnan Inu. They’ve also re-signed the bulk of their squad to new deals though – the squad who earnt them an 11th placed finish in 2017. Relegation beckons.