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Europen Super League XIX Preview

The European Super League is set to start this weekend and with the added pressure of relegation, and it's set to be one to remember. With last years top 8 all strengthened, throw in the complete overhaul of Salford, Castleford, Bradford and Widnes adding quality to their squads the top 8 is going to be very competitive. Nobody will expect anything from London and Wakefield but with Tony Rae and Rich Agar at the helm both clubs will be looking to cause an upset to two throughout the season. 

 

 

After a torrid off season with financial problems a plenty, the Bulls squad will just want to get out on to the field and improve on last years 9th position. Key for them will be the RFL decision to impose a points deduction for there brief stint in administration. On the field they'll hope that can keep hold of Gareth Carvell but key to their success will be their influential half backs of Gale and Sammut.

2013 Finish - 9th

2014 Prediction - Miss the finals

 

Another team who missed the 8 last year but the improvement in the team after Daryl Powell came to the helm mid way through last year was very apparent. With him having a full off season with his troops their sure to improve on last years 12th position. They will obviously miss the massive talent off Rangi Chase but if Justin Carney can stay fit they have a quality player who can cause havoc with any teams defence.

2013 Finish - 12th

2014 Prediction - Miss the finals

 


The Dragons are always very hard to beat at home but as usual the key to their season is how many points they can pick up on the road. Scot Dureau is key to their season and as he missed the majority of last season he'll be hoping to regain the form that got him in the dream team of 2012. 

2013 Finish - 8th

2014 Prediction - Miss the finals


Last years minor premiers were shock table toppers last year. They have recruited well in Bailey, Kaufusi and Broughton and they again will be challenging for top spot. This year they need to be more competitive at the back end when it really matters. But the experience of last year will surely stand them in good stead to do this. Danny Brough was magnificent last year and again his magical talents are key for the Giants.

2013 Finish - 4th 

2014 Prediction - Top 4


 

Hull FC have rejuventated it's back room staff, and with a complete new coaching staff and football manager this could be a transition season for the black and whites. They should be strong enough at home to make the 8 but strength in depth is a worry. Gareth Ellis has had is first proper off season for a long time and FC fans will hope they can see the best of him this year, and he can lead his troops to a top 8 finish.

2013 Finish - 5th

2014 Prediction - Top 8 

 


The Robins have recruited heavily with experienced NRL players and have on paper a vey aggressive pack lead by Oz duo Justin Poore and Michael Weyman. Michael Dobson's boots are almost impossible to fill but KR fans will hope Chris Keating can do that job. Injures in the outside backs may cause concerns for the Robins but again they should be strong enough at home to gain back to back play off positions. Josh Hodgson the new skipper is a fine player and he will lead by example.

2013 Finish - 7th

2014 Prediction - Top 8



Last season was the first for many a year when the Rhinos didn't win a trophy. They will be going all out to put that right this season and with the quality they have they will be in the mix. Leeds have been together for many along time and they know how to win the big games. Jamie Peacock although coming to the end of an illustrious career will be hoping there's enough miles in the legs for a another push for silver wear. 
Tom Briscoe is a fantastic signing and Leeds back line looks scarily good on paper. Paul Aiton is a very astute signing and Leeds are certainly up there with the front runners.

2013 Finish - 3rd

2014 Prediction - Top 4



Everyone's favourites for the wooden spoon and relegation. Tony Rae and Sean Long will be up against it to get a competitive Broncos team on the field every week. Dan Sarginson and Tony Club have headed to Wigan and they leave very big shoes to fill. Mr Rae has been very active in the loan market and has taken fringe players from other clubs. These players will be hungry to prove their worth but consistency maybe a problem. 

2013 Finish - 13th

2014 Prediction - Miss the finals (relegated)



We're do I begin? A complete new squad some amazing quality and some really big ego's, and not just on the field. But if any coach can get the best out of this squad it's Brian Noble and if he can get the squad to gel they could be anything. Their 1st 17 is a match for anyone but if injures come I'm not sure they have the strength in depth across the board to match the big boys. Any team that's can put Morley, Chase, Hock, Pulatua, Smith and Meli in their line up are going to be very competitive.

2013 Finish - 14th 

2014 Prediction - Top 8



The team to beat for me with Nathan Brown fully settled in at Langtree Park now and with a new quality half back at his disposal in Luke Walsh, plus some monsters in the pack, on paper they look great. But, as we know nothing is won on paper but additions like Amor and the giant Samoan Mose Masoe andSaints will be see nothing less than silverware as acceptable. Throw in stalwarts like Roby, Wellens and Wilkin and Saint's strength across the board looks good. A fully fit Jonny Lomax could be the player that fires Saint's to glory.

2013 Finish - 6th

2014 Prediction - Top 4 (Premiers)

 

 
Another tough off season for Rich Agar, with his squad almost being rebuilt again from scratch. They've done we'll to keep hold of Danny Kirmond and Wildcats fans will hope he can inspire his troops to overachieve and stay in the competition next year. Tim Smith's talents will be sorely missed and I think Wakefield will struggle for enough consistent form to stay up. 

2013 Finish - 11th

2014 Prediction - Miss the finals (relegated)



How will the Wolves manage without inspirational players like Briers and Morley. Ratchford will have added responsibility and Richie Myler must regain his international form if the Wire are to compete for glory. But right the Wolves off at your peril as with Higham and Monaghan pulling the strings in the centre of the field they still enough quality to be up there. Ryan Atkins will be hoping for a huge season and with the ever consistent Chris Hill up front, Wire will still be there abouts.

2013 Finish - Runners Up

2014 Prediction - Top 8



Last season's 10th position will be hoped to be improved upon and they've added quality in the back row with Danny Tickle signing on the dotted line. His goal kicking alone is a massive plus in tight games and they will certainly shock a few teams. Jon Clarke is like a fine wine who gets better with age and his leadership qualities will be called on again throughout the season. The top 8 will be the goal for the Vikings this year but it maybe a step to far.

2013 Finish - 10th

2014 Prediction - Miss the finals



Last seasons double winners will be under massive pressure to again show the Super League world they're the top dogs. But with Tompkins, Mossop and Richards all going to the NRL, have Wigan enough game breakers to regain their trophies? Matty Bowen is a quality player as is Sarginson but its the old stager, Sean O'Loughlin, who holds the key to Wigan's success. He is the conductor that pulls everything together in this Wigan side and if he can play in the big games, Warriors fans will again be singing. The double maybe a step to far and with the World Club Challenge on there agenda, Wigan have some strong completion for their trophies.

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013 Finish - Premiers

2014 Prediction - Top 4