2011 Super League Season Preview

Preview of Super League XVI by Simon Reuben

Engage Super League XVI gets underway this weekend as all teams head to Millennium Stadium Cardiff for the opener.

The theme of this year's Magic Weekend is local Derby's. The match of round 1 is a repeat of Last year's Grand Final as old rivals Wigan Warriors and St Helens lock horns again.

So below we look ahead at the prospects for all 14 Super League teams.

BRADFORD BULLS

Last year: 10th
New coach: Mick Potter
Ins: Patrick Ah Van (New Zealand Warriors), Shaun Ainscough (Wigan), Matt Diskin (Leeds), Olivier Elima (Catalans), Bryn Hargreaves (St Helens), Marc Herbert (Canberra Raiders), Shad Royston (Halifax), Ian Sibbit (Salford), Chev Walker (Hull KR), Gareth Raynor, Kyle Briggs (Featherstone Rovers)
Outs: Chris Nero (Salford), Steve Menzies (Catalans), Joe Wordle (Huddersfield), Matt Orford (Canberra Raiders), Michael Worrincy (Penrith Panthers), Wayne Godwin (Salford), Stuart Reardon (Crusaders), Rikki Sheriffe (Newcastle Falcons), Andy Tate (Wakefield), George Burgess (South Sydney), Glenn Hall (North Queensland), Ben Helliwell (Warrington), Danny Sculthorpe (released)

Prospects: 2010 was not the best year for the Bulls, as they missed out on making the eight. But 2011 looks a lot brighter with the addition of new coach Mick Potter and some good signings their minimum aim is a place in the play-offs.

CASTLEFORD

Last year: 9th
Coach: Terry Matterson
Ins: Martin Aspinwall (Huddersfield), Jake Emmitt (St Helens), Nick Fozzard (St Helens), Willie Isa (Melbourne Storm), Richie Mathers (Warrington), Danny Orr (Harlequins), Nick Youngquest (Crusaders)
Outs: Matthew Dawson (Huddersfield), James Evans (retired), Joe Westerman (Hull), Michael Shenton (St Helens), Michael Wainwright (Dewsbury), Liam Higgins (Sheffield), Ryan Clayton (Halifax), Mitchell Sargent (retired)

Prospects: Danny Orr will a big addition to the team and if they can stay healthy they will be a match to anyone. To have a chance of making the eight they need to be more consistent.


CATALANS DRAGONS

Last year: 14th
New coach: Trent Robinson
Ins: Scott Dureau (Newcastle Knights), Damien Blanch (Wakefield), Ian Henderson (New Zealand Warriors), Lopini Paea (Sydney Roosters), Jason Baitieri (Sydney Roosters), Steve Menzies (Bradford), Ben Farrar (Manly)
Outs: Olivier Elima (Bradford), Dallas Johnson (North Queensland Cowboys), Dane Carlaw (Brisbane), Casty McGuire (Parramatta), Chris Walker (Parramatta), Adam Mogg (Canberra), Jerome Guisset (retired), Brent Sherwin (released), Steven Bell, Dimitri Pelo, Kane Bentley, Andrew Bentley

Prospects: Having Trent Robinson on board should give them direction. Should defintay improve on last year's wooden spoon finish. Look out for  ex Knight Scott Dureau a player to watch.

CRUSADERS


Last year: 8th
New coach: Iestyn Harris
Ins: Paul Johnson (Wakefield), Stuart Reardon (Bradford), Richard Moore (Wakefield), Jamie Murphy (South Wales Scorpions), Hep Cahill (Melbourne Storm)
Outs: Nick Youngquest (Castleford), Weller Hauraki (Leeds), Tommy Lee (Wakefield), Luke Dyer (Central Comets), Jamie Thackray (Barrow), Rocky Trimarchi (released)

Prospects: New coach Iestyn Harris will be hoping for a good start as they come into the season on minus four points. Gone be tough to match last year's top-eight finish. Jarrod Sammut key player

HARLEQUINS

Last year: 13th
New coach: Rob Powell
Ins: Luke Ambler (Leeds), Jack Latus (Hull KR), Chris Bailey (Manly), Nick Kouparitsas (Sydney), Mark Calderwood (Hull FC), Mike Burnett (Hull FC), Joe Mellor (Wigan - loan), Karl Pryce (Wigan - loan)
Outs: Ben Jones-Bishop (Leeds), Danny Orr (Castleford), Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook (St Helens), Will Sharp (Hull)

Prospects: In for an interesting season. They have a young new coach in Rob Powell who has no head experience has a head coach. Would be an amazing performance to make the eight.

HUDDERSFIELD

Last year: 5th
Coach: Nathan Brown
Ins: Matt Dawson (Castleford), Joe Wordle (Bradford), Jamie Simpson (Sydney), Luke O'Donnell (North Queensland), Matthew Sarsfield (Wigan)
Outs: Martin Aspinwall (Castleford), Brett Hodgson (Warrington), Stephen Wild (Salford), Simon Finnigan (Widnes)

Prospects: After getting to within eighty minutes off the Grand Final last year, the Giants will be in the mix for a play-off place. Possible dark horses.

HULL FC

Last year: 6th
Coach: Richard Agar
Ins: Joe Westerman (Castleford), Will Sharp (Harlequins)
Outs: Craig Hall (Hull KR), Mark Calderwood (Harlequins), Mike Burnett (Harlequins), Dennis Tuffour (York), Shaun Berrigan (New Zealand Warriors)

Prospects: Praying for an injury free season as they slipped away at the end last year. Having made Craig Fitzgibbon new skipper for the year they should be challenging for the top four again.


HULL KINGSTON ROVERS

Last year: 7th
Coach: Justin Morgan
Ins: Craig Hall (Hull FC), Blake Green (Canterbury Bulldogs), Willie Mason (North Queensland Cowboys)
Outs: Chev Walker (Bradford), Jack Latus (Harlequins), Chaz l'Anson (Widnes), Frankie Mariano (Wakefield), Mike Ratu (Halifax), David Mills (released)

Prospects: Still waiting for the arrival of marquee signing Willie Mason who could make a big impact on Super League XVI. Look out for Blake Green and his partnership with Mick Dobson. Another team with a chance of a top four finish.


LEEDS

Last year: 4th
New coach: Brian McDermott
Ins: Ben Jones-Bishop (Harlequins), Ben Cross (Newcastle Knights), Weller Hauraki (Crusaders), Zak Hardaker, Rory Kettlewell (Gloucester)
Outs: Matt Diskin (Bradford), Luke Ambler (Harlequins), Greg Eastwood (Canterbury), Dane Manning (Batley), Tom Bush (York), Scott Donald (retired)

Prospects : The Rhinos will miss star duo  Jamie Peacock and Danny McGuire in the early part of the season. But they have the quality to overcome that. New coach Brian McDermott will add new enthusiasm to the team. Could be there and there about's at the business end of the season.

ST HELENS

Last year: 2nd
New coach: Royce Simmons
Ins: Michael Shenton (Castleford), Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook (Harlequins), Josh Perry (Manly Sea Eagles)
Outs: Keiron Cunningham (retired), Matt Gidley (retired), Matty Smith (Salford), Nick Fozzard (Castleford), Jake Emmitt (Castleford), Bryn Hargreaves (Bradford), Paul Johnson (Wakefield), Maurie Fa'asavalu (Harlequins RU), Ste Tyrer (Widnes), Jamie Ellis (Leigh), Andy Yates (Hunslet), Jack Bradbury (Oldham), Chris Dean (Wakefield), Gaz Frodsham (Widnes - season's loan), Tom Armstrong (Leigh - dual registration)

Prospects: Will miss influential legend player Kerion Cunningham. Josh Perry will be a good addition. Some people are writing them off still have a very good squad. A big threat to anyone.


SALFORD

Last year: 12th
Coach: Shaun McRae
Ins: Matty Smith (St Helens), Wayne Godwin (Bradford), Chris Nero (Bradford), Luke Patten (Canterbury Bulldogs), Stephen Wild (Huddersfield), Vinnie Anderson (Warrington), Iafeta Palea'aesina (Wigan), Phil Bailey (Wigan), Sean Gleeson (Wakefield), Adam Neal (Warrington)
Outs: Ian Sibbit (Bradford), Jeremy Smith (Wakefield), Philip Leulaui (Lezignan), Luke Swain (Carcassonne), Karl Fitzpatrick (retired), Malcolm Alker (retired), Stuart Littler (released), Willie Talau (released)

Prospects: The City Reds have made more signings then anyone else. could be a real handful this year, with a top eight finish likley. Gone shock some teams this year, the Willows will be a difficult place to go to.


WAKEFIELD TRINITY WILDCATS

Last year: 11th
Coach: John Kear
Ins: Jeremy Smith (Salford), Frankie Mariano (Hull KR), Kevin Penny (Warrington), Tommy Lee (Crusaders), Paul Johnson (St Helens), Josh Veivers (Wigan), Stuart Howarth (Wigan), Andy Tate (Bradford), Motu Tony (Whitehaven), Chris Dean (St Helens)
Outs: Jason Demetriou (Keighley), Tevita Leo-Latu (Salford), Sean Gleeson (Salford), Kyle Bibb (Dewsbury Rams), Paul Johnson (Crusaders), Damien Blanch (Catalans), Richard Moore (Crusaders), Paul Cooke (released)

Prospects: Gone be a difficult year for them. Likley chance they will finish the year with their Super League status taken away from them. In  John Kear they have a good coach who will fire them up. But, with a points deduction looming they look like they will be around the bottom end of the table.


WARRINGTON

Last year: 3rd
Coach: Tony Smith
Ins: Brett Hodgson (Huddersfield), Joel Monaghan (Canberra), Ben Hellewell (Bradford)
Outs: Richie Mathers (Castleford), Adam Neal (Salford), Vinnie Anderson (Salford), Kevin Penny (Wakefield), Chris Hicks (Parramatta)

Prospects: Great chance of a long overdue visit to Old Trafford . Good coach and a big squad having won the Challenge Cup for the last two years, they look a good bet for a top two finish.

WIGAN

Last year: CHAMPIONS
Coach: Michael Maguire
Ins: Brett Finch (Melbourne), Jeff Lima (Melbourne), Ryan Hoffman (Melbourne)
Outs: Shaun Ainscough (Bradford), Iafeta Palea'aesina (Salford), Phil Bailey (Salford), Josh Veivers (Wakefield), Stuart Howarth (Wakefield), Mark Riddell (Salford), Matt Sarsfield (Huddersfield), Joe Mellor (Harlequins - loan), Karl Pryce (Harlequins - loan), Cameron Phelps (released)

Prospects: The team to beat again. Three big signings from Melbourne Storm in Ryan Hoffmann, Brett Finch and Jeff Lima. Michael Maguire is attracting a lot of attention from Down-Under but this should not stop the Warriors chances of retaining their title.

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