The Betfred Super League is the Northern Hemisphere’s top-tier professional level rugby league club competition.
The league began in 1996 when it replaced the Rugby Football League Championship while switching from a winter to a summer season. There are currently a total of 12 teams in the league, 11 from England and one from France. The teams play a total of 29 games each from February to September. Each team will have 11 home games, 11 away games and seven loop matches decided by league position. The Top 5 teams enter the playoffs which lead to the Grand Final where the champions are crowned.
Leeds is the winningest team in this competition with 8 titles and two runner-up finishes. They last won the title in 2017. St. Helen’s is next with 6 titles and 5 2nd place trophies. The Wigan Warriors have five championships and six second-place finishes. The Warriors are the defending champions. Other than the three, the only other side to win the Super League is the Bradford Bulls who have four wins.
These are the current odds from William Hill to win the Betfred Super League XXIV final:
St. Helens won a record 6th League Leaders Shield in 2018. However, they failed to advance to the Grand Final after dropping their semifinals assignment to the Warrington Wolves 13-18. It marked the first time since 2013 when the League Leader Shield winner didn’t make the Grand Final. This time around, St. Helens are favorites again and despite losing Ben Barba, they have a complete squad whose starting unit consists mainly of internationals. No questions about the Saints dominating the regular season. The question is if they can win it all this time around.
Warrington is still looking for its first championship ever. Last season, Warrington knocked off League Leaders Shield winners St. Helens in the semifinals. However, they lost to the Wigan Warriors 4-12 in the Grand Final. The Wolves have a quick, strong and very experienced back-line and exciting half-backs plus an exciting bunch of up and coming youngsters. They have also recruited heavily with the hopes of ending their 64-year drought. If the Wolves blend together right away, they might just accomplish something special this season.
The Wigan Warriors added to their record by winning their 22nd title last season. That victory put them 9 wins ahead of the next best team in this annual competition. Wigan will start the season with a two-point deduction due to salary cap penalties incurred in 2017. The Warriors are also in a period of change with Adrian Lam assuming the coaching job and a bunch of new players coming in. The departure of former Man of Steel Sam Tomkins, John Bateman, and Ryan Sutton will be a big test for the defending champions.
Hull FC was in contention for the Top 4 at one stage before a slew of injuries followed their Challenge Cup tie at Featherstone and those really cost them their season. Recruitment was hardly noticeable but they still have a talented squad led by Fetuli Talanoa and Bureta Faraimo wh troubled opposing defenses with their sheer power and tricky footwork. Also, they have a very good half-back duo of Albert Kelly and Jake Connor who can wreak havoc. Inconsistency has always been an issue with them but it could be their problem again this season.
The Catalan Dragons became the first non-English winners of the Challenge Cup. That was a remarkable improvement after they were given up for relegation by the pundits after a slow start to their season. Captain Remi Casty leads the team again in 2019 together with the hard-hitting Sam Moa and Julian Bousquet. The additions of Matty Smith and Sam Tomkins make their attack more interesting.
The Betfred Super League XXIV is currently underway and as of July 6th, the St. Helens Saints are on top of the table as expected with 38 points as they have 19 wins and just two losses after 21 rounds of action. The Warrington Wolves are in second place with 30 points on 15 wins and six losses. Hull FC is currently third with 24 points and they are followed by the defending champions Wigan Warriors and the Catalan Dragons who have 22 points apiece.
But not only is St. Helens running away in the team standings, but they are also doing so on both ends of the pitch. Their goal difference of +403 is +125 better than Warrington’s. Meanwhile, Warrington is +219 better than Wigan, who is third in goal difference at +59. If St. Helens wins a 7th League Leader shield, they are through to the semifinals already. The Saints have scored at least 88 more points than any team and have allowed at least 37 fewer points than any rival this season. That overall brilliance is stunning and while they failed to win it all last season, this time may be their time. Prediction: St. Helens