Scully's Column: Super League race between Wigan and Saints

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josie andrews
Posts: 35281
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 10:17 pm
Location: Wigan

Scully's Column: Super League race between Wigan and Saints

Post by josie andrews »

ANOTHER week closer the the start of the 2024 Betfred Super League season and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know current champions Wigan are the favourites to retain their title.

A lot of the off-season talk has been about the arch rivals' new signings, and how undeniably stronger they will be in 2024.

This is something title sponsors Betfred believe as they make the Warriors 2/1 favourites to win the competition come October - and just 16/1 to do the clean sweep of League Leaders, Super League and Betfred Challenge Cup.

However, as in four of the last five years the Saints will be backing themselves to take the Betfred Super League trophy back to the Totally Wicked Stadium...and that's a minimum requirement.

Betfred have the Saints as second favourites at 3/1, with themselves 28/1 for the treble. If only I was allowed to bet myself there would be few prizes for guessing who I'd be backing!

Saints kick off their challenge at home on Friday February 16 against the London Broncos, who are back in the top division for the first time since 2019.

This is of course a must-win game for the hosts, not necessarily on the points table but as a statement of intent for things to come.

All three new boys, Daryl Clark, Matt Whitley and Waqa Blake will be itching to pull on the Red V for their opening competitive match since signing for the club pre-season.

All three players did have a run out in the final pre-season game, which saw the Saints post a convincing 52-10 defeat of the Salford Red Devils.

Going off Paul Wellens post match analysis, he was very pleased with what he saw as a strong squad got to put into practice some of the things they’ve been working on in training all winter.

Special mention to Jake Wingfield who impressed on his return to action following a nine month lay-off with injury.

New skipper Jonny Lomax will be looking to lead his side back to silverware, but will be fully aware of his biggest challengers from over Billinge lump.

Wigan have made some high profile signings, none more so than ex-Saints favourite Luke Thompson who made his return to Super League from the NRL. Other significant signings include ex-Rhino Kruise Leeming, former Catalan centre and quality goal kicker Adam Keighran and giant back rower Sam Walters.

While Wigan will have their sights set on Betfred Super League success, like the record breaking Saints in 2023, they will have a small matter of a World Club Challenge final against three-time NRL Premiers Penrith Panthers on February 24 at the DW Stadium.

Saints know all too well both the highs of playing in such a game, but also the mental and physical impact that can have on the domestic competition in following weeks.

Obviously Saints had much more to deal with, beating the Panthers in their own back yard!

I do see this season being decided between the two Lancashire giants. Catalans, who have a huge hole to fill following the retirement of Sam Tomkins.

Warrington in the new Sam Burgess era and Leeds Rhinos, who need to start showing some consistency after numerous poor seasons, will all be looking to challenge silverware...but I’m not convinced.

So, Saints fans…show the ones you love how much next week, and I’m talking about Friday night at the TWS….not Valentines Day! Obviously. ... an-saints/
Anyone can support a team when it is winning, that takes no courage.
But to stand behind a team, to defend a team when it is down and really needs you,
that takes a lot of courage. #18thMan
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