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St Helens 18 Warrington 36: Match report

St Helens 18 Warrington 36: Wolves move one step closer to double after Waterhouse clinches win



21:18 GMT, 29 September 2012

Warrington are 80 minutes away from the elusive double after coming from 14-6 down to win their Super League play-off semi-final against St Helens at Langtree Park and secure a first Grand Final appearance.

Two tries in a three-minute spell midway through the second half from Australian forward Trent Waterhouse clinched victory for the Wolves, who will meet Leeds at Old Trafford next Saturday in a repeat of last month's Challenge Cup final which they won 35-18.

Warrington, who will become only the sixth club to contest the Grand Final, ran in four second-half tries to thwart Saints' bid for a seventh successive trip to Old Trafford and bring Mike Rush's reign as caretaker coach to a sorry end.

Job done: Trent Waterhouse scored two tries in three minutes to seal the win

Job done: Trent Waterhouse scored two tries in three minutes to seal the win

St Helens, the last team to do the double in 2006, dominated the first half and ought to have been further ahead than 14-12 at the break but they quickly ran out of steam when Warrington got their second wind in the second half.

The Wolves, who lost to Saints in the opening round of the play-offs, were boosted by the return of Man of Steel contender Ben Westwood for his first appearance since Wembley but it was his second row partner Waterhouse who stole the show.

The former Kangaroo international was a Grand Final winner in the NRL with Penrith Panthers back in 2003 and will fancy his chances of doing the double.

Yet Saints had looked the more dangerous side throughout the first half with right winger Tommy Makinson going close and left winger Francis Meli denied by a forward pass from Jon Wilkin and it was no surprise when they opening the scoring on 11 minutes.

Makinson had no right to score after taking Chris Flannery's pass with Chris Riley still to beat but he produced an acrobatic dive to get around his man and plant the ball over the line.

Thumbs up: Adrian Morley celebrates after the Wolves clinched the win

Thumbs up: Adrian Morley celebrates after the Wolves clinched the win

One more game: Wolves moved within 80 minutes away from winning the double

One more game: Wolves moved within 80 minutes away from winning the double

It was against the run of play that Warrington took the lead on 17 minutes, with Wilkin conceding possession with a knock-on 30 metres from his own line and Richie Myler combining with Brett Hodgson to get Riley over at the corner.

Hodgson's touchline conversion made it 6-4 but Saints remained unfazed and they looked to have seized control with two tries in a 10-minute spell.

Second rower Mark Flanagan took the ball to the Warrington line of defenders to suck in their defence and his long, looping pass gave Meli the space to cross at the corner.

The big Kiwi would have had a second try but for a last-ditch tackle from Hodgson but the Warrington full-back blotted his copybook shortly afterwards, spilling Wilkin's towering kick to present his opposite number Paul Wellens with the easiest of scores.

Makinson kicked his first conversion at the third attempt to make it 14-6 but Warrington scored what proved to be a crucial try two minutes before the interval when loose forward Simon Grix charged onto Lee Briers' pass.

Party time: Warrington Wolves ran out deserved winners in the end

Party time: Warrington Wolves ran out deserved winners in the end

The visitors were back in front eight minutes into the second half when right winger Joel Monaghan was first to Briers' high kick and, although he dropped the ball, it went backwards and he had the presence of mind to gather it back up and touch down.

Hodgson maintained his accuracy with his third goal to make it 18-14 and the Wolves produced some tremendous defence to keep their lead intact before hitting a purple patch in which they ran in three tries in seven minutes.

The impressive Waterhouse supported a break by centre Ryan Atkins to score his first before powering through a tiring defence for his second while Riley finished off a smart crossfield passing move to claim the visitors' sixth try.

Meli stopped the rot with a consolation try eight minutes from the end but Hodgson wrapped up the scoring with a penalty to take his goal tally to six from seven attempts.

Nike unveil NFL uniforms: Seattle Seahawks get complete makeover

Evolution not revolution for Nike's new NFL uniforms… unless you're a Seahawk



17:49 GMT, 8 April 2012

The NFL and Nike launched their five-year partnership in New York this week, unveiling lighter, tighter and stronger uniforms for all 32 franchises.

In line with the NFL’s traditionally conservative nature, the Oregon-based sports equipment manufacturer engineered from the inside-out, with a focus on innovation and performance.

And in the main, the groundbreaking aesthetic redesigns seen in college football were not on show at the glittering Brooklyn bow.

Grand designs: Nike unveiled their new uniforms for the 2012 NFL season at a football-themed fashion show in Brooklyn

Grand designs: Nike unveiled their new uniforms for the 2012 NFL season at a football-themed fashion show in Brooklyn

Indeed, five teams – the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers and the Oakland Raiders – declined Nike’s invitation of a radical overhaul.

But in poker terms the Seattle Seahawks went all-in, pushing for a head-to-toe revamp. The move is unique in a league that only allows changes once every five years, and other teams are tipped to follow their lead.

‘The Seahawks have crazy uniforms,’ purred Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley.

‘Hopefully Green Bay decides to switch it up and go with the look of 2012. If you look good, you play good. If you play good, you get paid good. The Seahawks have the best uniform out there right now.’

All eyes on me: Todd van Horne (left), Nike's global creative director, and Kam Chancellor at the launch

New look: Todd van Horne (left), Nike's global creative director, and Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor at the launch

Moving away from the traditional royal blue to a darker shade, the uniform also features new-look helmets, the addition of neon green and a ‘feather pattern graphic’ as a nod to the Native American heritage of the Pacific Northwest.

With 12 feathers on both pants and jerseys and the No 12 sewn in to the jersey in homage to Seattle fans – the 12th man.

On his first visit to New York, birthday boy Kam Chancellor was the first to model the new duds.

‘This uniform is especially made for the 12th man, thinking all about the fans. All the players really liked them,’ the 24-year-old safety said. ‘These uniforms are lighter. The shoes. The socks. I can reach above my head without a problem, too.’

Under lights: Athletes sport the Nike Elite 51 Uniform

Under lights: Athletes sport the Nike Elite 51 Uniform

The deal is the first time Nike have exclusive rights to all teams, marking the conclusion of the NFL’s previous 10-year agreement with Reebok.

It is estimated the adidas AG-owned brand will lose between $200-250million-a-year, and the move came as a relief to some.

‘It’s long overdue,’ said Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin. ‘A lot of players weren’t satisfied.’

Nike’s decision to focus on performance for the Elite 51 range went down well with athletes, who praised the lower weight – which Nike CEO Mark Parker estimated between 20-30 per cent – greater flexibility and breathability.

The centre of attention: Super Bowl winner Victor Cruz was mobbed by local and international media in New York

The centre of attention: Super Bowl winner Victor Cruz was mobbed by local and international media in New York

Victor Cruz of the New York Giants said the apparel would help make him tougher to tackle. ‘That's the biggest thing for me: making sure that I'm sleek and I'm fast and I can't be grabbed or held.’

Harvin was on the same page. ‘The collar has Nylon in it and that for me is one of the big things. It kind of keeps it from sticking out or flapping over. That’s how I was being tackled a lot last year, so defenders won’t be able to snag it no more. ‘

‘The socks are way better,’ he continued. ‘They won’t slide down. They’re more comfortable.’
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hailed the lightweight new material, saying: ‘It is not the old mesh, it breathes really well.’

‘Usually it takes time to break in pants and they seem like they’re pretty flexible,’ said Wes Welker of the New England Patriots.

A new era: The swoosh replaces Reebok's logo on the new NFL uniforms

A new era: The swoosh replaces Reebok's logo on the new NFL uniforms

Meanwhile, Miami Dolphins linebacker Karlos Dansby praised the 22 per cent cooler base layer.

‘The ventilation alone is going to be huge in South Florida with the humidity and the heat, so the form fitting pants give us a lot of range in motion and makes plays around our body with the jersey. It’s perfect.’

The new ‘logo lock up ‘gloves are said to improve grip, while colour-coordinated shoes – for players who opt to wear them – are available for the first time.

‘The shoes are super light,’ Dansby added. ‘And these are size 16. These are the lightest cleats I ever put my feet in. It’s awesome.’

soc it

soc it

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell added his praise, 'I love them,' he said. ‘I love them, first, because it starts with the performance part of them. Talking to the players, they don't want to take them off. They love 'em.’

While Nike are unable to perform another wholesale makeover until 2017, Goodell said teams are likely to push the boundaries: ‘What we tried to do is innovate. Even if the look doesn’t change, there’s innovation. You saw it with the Seahawks: there will be more to come.’

Individual quirks specific to franchises are included in the current range. The Panthers have the words ‘Keep Pounding’ stitched on their collars as tribute to the late linebacker and coach Sam Mills, who lost his battle with cancer in 2005. And the Chicago Bears have enlarged GSH initials on their jerseys to honour founder George S Halas.

Glove story: Athletes will now be able to wear the Nike Vapor Jet 2.0 Glove featuring an interlocking team logo on the palms

Glove story: Athletes will now be able to wear the Nike Vapor Jet 2.0 Glove featuring an interlocking team logo on the palms

‘Our brief was to provide players with everything they need and nothing more. We blended cutting edge technology and fabrications with more than 40 years of knowledge, craft and insight into the game,’ said Nike’s Design Director for Football, Todd van Horne. ‘We worked closely with the teams, listening to their needs and delivering the best options to serve those athletes.’

Kris Aman, vice president and general manager of men's athletic training at Nike, added: ‘The energy you feel in here is all about a celebration. This is just the beginning,’ Aman said. ‘People in the NFL and people here at Nike are fans. We are here showing our passion for the game.’

Jerseys are available from April 26, the first day of the upcoming season’s draft weekend. Nike replica jerseys will be on sale for $99, while the limited edition jersey – featuring Flywire technology and ventilation areas – is priced at $135. The elite version, which adds water-repelling fabric, will be on the market for $250.

Super League 2012: Your complete club-by-club guide

Super League 2012: Your complete club-by-club guide

The essential guide to the new season featuring club records, summer signings, latest odds and prospects for the forthcoming campaign.

Leeds Rhinos celebrate Grand Final success

High point: Leeds Rhinos beat St Helens 32-16 in last season's Grand Final


Coach: Mick Potter (since November 2010).

Captain (joint): Heath L’Estrange and Matt Diskin.

2011 finish: 10th.

2011 leading scorers: tries – Shad Royston 10; goals – Patrick Ah Van 87; points – Patrick Ah Van 210.

Biggest Super League win: 96-16 (v Salford, 2000).

Biggest Super League defeat: 66-4 (v St Helens, 2005).

Ground and capacity: Odsal, 26,019.

2010 average attendance: 13,967 (up 5,531).

Record Super League attendance: 24,020 (v Leeds 1999).

In: Manase Manuokafoa (Parramatta), Keith Lulia (Newcastle Knights), Luke Gale (Harlequins), Jarrod Sammut, Elliott Kear (both Crusaders), Adrian Purtell (Penrith Panthers), Karl Pryce (Wigan).

Out: Patrick Ah Van (Widnes) Shad Royston (Pia), Marc Herbert (released), Andy Lynch (Hull), Gareth Raynor (Featherstone), Cain Southernwood (Dewsbury, on season-long loan), Steve Crossley (released).

Odds to finish top: 50-1 (William Hill).

Prospects: The pressure is coach Mick Potter to avoid another season of under-achievement and the play-offs could once more be out of the Bulls’ reach. Andy Lynch is a big loss for them.

Prediction: 9th.

Stobart Super League trophy


Coach: Trent Robinson (since November 2010).

Captain: Gregory Mounis.

2011 finish: 6th.

2011 leading scorers: tries – Damien Blanch 20; goals – Scott Dureau 92; points – Scott Dureau 233.

Biggest Super League win: 66-6 (v Salford, 2007).

Biggest Super League defeat: 60-12 (v Leeds, 2006).

Ground and capacity: Gilbert Brutus Stadium, 13,000.

2011 average attendance: 8,387 (up 1,573).

Record Super League attendance: 11,122 (v Wigan, 2006, at Stade Aime Giral) (also drew 18,150 for visit of Warrington to Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium in 2009).

In: Leon Pryce (St Helens), Louis Anderson (Warrington), Julian Bousquet (Lezignan).

Out: Ben Farrar (Manly), Sebastien Martins (Lezignan).

Odds to finish top: 14-1.

Prospects: Trent Robinson has made a couple of significant additions to his squad and they look sure to be competitive, especially on home soil. Despite an early glut of injuries, the Dragons could be an outside bet for Old Trafford.

Prediction: 5th.

Stobart Super League trophy


Coach: Ian Millward (since November 2011).

Captain: Danny Orr.

2011 finish: 9th.

2011 leading scorers: tries – Rangi Chase, Richard Owen, Nick Youngquest 12; goals: Kirk Dixon 84; points – Kirk Dixon 196.

Biggest Super League win: 74-16 (v Salford, 2002).

Biggest Super League defeat: 62-0 (v Warrington, 2011) (also lost 68-12 v St Helens, 2008).

Ground and capacity: The Probiz Coliseum (formerly Wheldon Road), 11,750.

2011 average attendance: 7,156 (up 540).

Record Super League attendance: 11,731 (v Leeds, 2004).

In: Josh Griffin (Huddersfield),
Steve Nash (Leigh), Lee Mitchell, Ryan Shaw (both Warrington, on loan,
Grant Millington (Canterbury Bulldogs), James Grehan (Limoux).

Out: Nick Fozzard (Dewsbury), Dean
Widders (returned to Australia), Willie Isa (Widnes), Greg Eden
(Huddersfield), Martin Aspinwall (Hull), Richard Mathers (Wakefield on
season-long loan).

Odds to finish top: 66-1.

Prospects: New coach Ian Millward
will need to call on all his nous if he is to take the Tigers into the
play-offs. They will rely heavily on 2011 Man of Steel Rangi Chase.

Prediction: 12th.


Coach: Nathan Brown (since December 2008).

Captain: Kevin Brown.
2011 finish: 4th.
2011 leading scorers: tries – Jermaine McGilvary 16; goals – Danny Brough 82; points – Danny Brough 197.

Biggest Super League win: 68-16 (v Leigh, 2005) (also 52-0 and 58-6 v Wakefield, 2010).

Biggest Super League defeat: 86-6 (v Leeds, 1999).

Ground and capacity: Galpharm Stadium, 24,500.

2011 average attendance: 7,147 (down 86).

Record Super League attendance: 15,629 (v Leeds, 2008).

In: Jason Chan (Crusaders), Aaron Murphy, Tommy Lee, Luke George (all Wakefield), Greg Eden (Castleford), Tony Tonks (Featherstone).

Out: Darrell Griffin (Leeds), David Hodgson, Graeme Horne, Keal Carlile (all Hull KR), Gregg McNally (Leigh), Josh Griffin (Castleford), Kyle Wood, Andy Raleigh, Danny Kirmond (all Wakefield), Elliott Hodgson, Jamie Simpson (both (released).

Odds to finish top: 16-1.

Prospects: Nathan Brown will be keen to finish on a high as he prepares to return to Australia and the Giants look a shoe-in for the top eight but they do not look as strong this year and another top-four finish looks a tall order.
Prediction: 6th.


Coach: Peter Gentle (since November 2011).

Captain: Andy Lynch.

2011 finish: 8th.

2011 leading scorers: tries – Kirk Yeaman 21; goals – Danny Tickle 83; points – Danny Tickle 202.

Biggest Super League win: 82-6 (v Salford, 2004).

Biggest Super League defeat: 64-10 (v St Helens, 2002) – also lost 71-0 at Bradford in 2005 play-offs.

Ground and capacity: KC Stadium, 25,404.

2011 average attendance: 12,431 (down 1,583).

Record Super League attendance: 23,004 (v Hull KR, 2007).

In: Jamie Ellis (Leigh), Aaron Heremaia, Brett Seymour (both New Zealand Warriors), Wade McKinnon (Wests Tigers), Eamon O’Carroll (Wigan), Andy Lynch (Bradford), Tony Martin (Crusaders), Martin Aspinwall (Castleford), Mike Burnett (returned from loan at Harlequins).

Out: Sean Long, Lee Radford, Craig Fitzgibbon (all retired), Martin Gleeson, Ewan Dowes (both released), Cameron Phelps (Widnes), Epalahame Lauaki (Wigan), Danny Washbrook (Wakefield), Sam Obst (Keighley).

Odds to finish top: 20-1.

Prospects: Hull have presented new coach Peter Gentle with a much-changed squad and all look quality additions so an assault on the top four could be on.

Prediction: 7th.

Stobart Super League trophy


Coach: Craig Sandercock (since November 2011).

Captain: Ben Galea.

2011 finish: 7th.

2011 leading scorers: tries – Kris Welham 24; goals – Michael Dobson 76; points – Michael Dobson 179.

Biggest Super League win: 70-14 (v Wakefield, 2011).

Biggest Super League defeat: 60-20 (v Warrington, 2007 – also lost 40-0 v St Helens, 2010 and 56-6 v Catalan Dragons in 2011 play-offs).

Ground and capacity: Craven Park, 10,250.

2011 average attendance: 8,320 (up 86).

Record Super League attendance: 10,250 (v Hull, 2011).

In: David Hodgson, Graeme Horne, Keal Carlile (all Huddersfield), Lincoln Withers, Ryan O’Hara (both Crusaders), George Griffin (Queanbeyan Kangaroos), Micky Paea (Canterbury Bulldogs), Constantine Mika, Shannon McDonnell (both Newcastle).

Out: Clint Newton (Penrith Panthers) Mick Vella (retired), Ben Fisher (Batley), Shaun Briscoe (Widnes), Liam Colbon, Matt Cook (both London Broncos), Peter Fox (Wakefield).

Odds to finish top: 40-1.

Prospects: Rovers have lost a lot of experience and 2012 could be a year of consolidation under new coach Craig Sandercock, especially after losing playmaker Blake Green for much of it with a blood clot.

Prediction: 10th.

Stobart Super League trophy


Coach: Brian McDermott (since November 2010).
Captain: Kevin Sinfield.

2011 finish: 5th.

2011 leading scorers (including play-offs): tries – Ryan Hall 28; goals – Kevin Sinfield 138; points – Kevin Sinfield 286.

Biggest Super League win: 86-6 (v Huddersfield, 1999).

Biggest Super League defeat: 68-14 (v Wigan, 1996).

Ground and capacity: Headingley, 20,000.

2011 average attendance: 14,669 (down 568).

Record Super League attendance: 23,035 (v Bradford 2003).

In: Darrell Griffin (Huddersfield), Richard Moore (Crusaders), Luke Ambler (returned from loan at Harlequins).

Out: Keith Senior (released), Luke Burgess (South Sydney), Ben Cross (Widnes), Danny Buderus (Newcastle), Kyle Amor, Ali Lauitiiti (both Wakefield).

Odds to finish top: 6-1.

Prospects: No one will under-estimate the Rhinos after last year’s incredible achievement and they will once more be pushing for Old Trafford.

Prediction: 4th.


Coach: Rob Powell (since November 2010).

Captain: tbc.

2011 finish: 12th.

2011 leading scorers: tries – Luke Dorn 13; goals – Luke Gale 75; points – Luke Gale 184.

Biggest Super League win: 72-8 (v Wakefield, 2005).

Biggest Super League defeat: 82-6 (v Warrington, 2011).

Ground and capacity: Twickenham Stoop, 15,000.

2011 average attendance: 3,132 (down 248).

Record Super League attendance: 9,638 (v Paris, at The Valley, 1996).

In: Craig Gower (French RU), Mark Bryant, Michael Witt (both Crusaders), Antonio Kaufusi (Newcastle Knights), Shane Rodney (Manly), Julien Rinaldi (Wakefield), Jarrad Hickey (Wakefield, to be confirmed), Michael Robertson (Manly), Liam Colbon, Matt Cook (both Hull KR).

Out: Luke Gale (Bradford), Rob Purdham (retired), Andy Ellis, Oliver Wilkes (both Wakefield), David Williams (London Skolars), Mark Burnett (returned from loan spell to Hull), Nick Kouparitsas, Danny Ward, Mark Calderwood (all released), Luke Ambler (returned to Leeds after loan spell), Karl Pryce (returned from loan spell to Wigan).

Odds to finish top: 80-1.

Prospects: After a dismal 2011, the only way is up for Rob Powell’s men in their new guise and, with a host of quality signings, they ought to be pushing for a play-off spot.

Prediction: 8th.


Coach: Phil Veivers (since November 2011).

Captain: Stephen Wild.

2011 finish: 11th.

2011 leading scorers: tries – Jodie Broughton 14; goals – Daniel Holdsworth 68; points – Daniel Holdsworth 164.

Biggest Super League win: 56-16 (v Bradford, 2011).

Biggest Super League defeat: 96-16 (v Bradford, 2000).
Ground and capacity: Salford Community Stadium, 12,000.

2011 average attendance: 4,754 (up 588).

Record Super League attendance: 10,146 (v Catalan 2011).

In: Shannan McPherson (South Sydney), Ben Gledhill, Josh Veivers, Stuart Howarth (all Wakefield), Joel Moon (New Zealand Warriors), Jordan James (Crusaders), Matty Ashurst (St Helens).

Out: Stefan Ratchford (Warrington), Ray Cashmere, Mark Henry (both returned to Australia), Jack Spencer (Wests Tigers), Rob Parker, Adam Clay (both Leigh).
Odds to finish top: 80-1.

Prospects: A new home and a new coach, but it is hard to see a change in fortunes for the City Reds, who will sorely miss departed duo Ray Cashmere and Stefan Ratchford.

Prediction: 13th.

Stobart Super League trophy


Coach: Royce Simmons (since November 2010).

Captain: Paul Wellens.

2011 finish: 3rd.

2011 leading scorers (including play-offs): tries – Jamie Foster 21; goals – Jamie Foster 123; points – Jamie Foster 330.

Biggest Super League win: 78-4 (v Leigh, 2005).

Biggest Super League defeat: 70-0 (v Leeds, 2004).

Ground and capacity: Langtree Park, 18,000.

2011 average attendance (at Widnes): 7,975 (down 3,594).

Record Super League attendance: 18,098 (v Warrington, 1996).

In: Lance Hohaia (New Zealand Warriors), Anthony Laffranchi (Gold Coast), Mark Flanagan (Wests Tigers).

Out: James Graham (Canterbury Bulldogs), Kyle Eastmond (Bath RU), Leon Pryce (Catalan Dragons), Matty Ashurst (Salford), Scott Moore (Widnes), Tom Armstrong (Swinton), Gareth Frodsham (Batley).

Odds to finish top: 10-3.

Prospects: Saints begin life after James Graham at an impressive new home and, despite the loss of their inspirational forward, they are sure to be gunning for a seventh consecutive appearance at Old Trafford.

Prediction: 3rd.

Stobart Super League trophy


Coach: Richard Agar (since November 2011).

Captain: Steve Southern.

2011 finish: 13th.

2011 leading scorers: tries – Chris Dean 8; goals – Josh Veivers 22; points – Josh Griffin 62.

Biggest Super League win: 68-6 (v Halifax, 2003).

Biggest Super League defeat: 72-8 (v London, 2005).

Ground and capacity: Rapid Solicitors Stadium (formerly Belle Vue), 11,000.

2011 average attendance: 6,552 (up 568).

Record Super League attendance: 11,000 (v Castleford, 2006).

In: Issac John (New Zealand Warriors), Oliver Wilkes, Andy Ellis (both Harlequins), Vince Mellars (Crusaders), Kyle Amor, Ali Lauitiiti (both Leeds), Kyle Wood, Andy Raleigh, Danny Kirmond (all Huddersfield), Ben Cockayne (Featherstone), Peter Fox (Hull KR), Steve Southern (Newcastle Knights), Dean Collis (Cronulla), Danny Washbrook (Hull), Tim Smith (Cronulla), Matt James (Barrow), Paul Aiton (Cronulla), Richard Mathers (Castleford, on season-long loan).

Out: Chris Dean (Widnes), Paul King (York), Tommy Lee, Aaron Murphy, Luke George (all Huddersfield), Julien Rinaldi, Jarrad Hickey (both Harlequins), Ben Gledhill, Josh Veivers, Stu Howarth (all Salford), Glenn Morrison, Matt Blaymire (both retired), Michael Korkidas, Semi Tadulala (both Keighley), Liam Higgins (Sheffield), Kevin Penny (Swinton), Jeremy Smith, Kevin Henderson, Samy Masselot, Ryan Tongia, Greg Johnson (all released), Gareth Moore (Batley).

Odds to finish top: 150-1.

Prospects: Pretty much an unknown quantity, it is all change for the Wildcats under new coach Richard Agar with 18 new signings and it could take time for his new-look side to gel.

Prediction: 11th.


Coach: Tony Smith (since March 2009).

Captain: Adrian Morley.

2011 finish: 1st.

2011 leading scorers (including play-offs): tries – Joel Monaghan 26; goals – Brett Hodgson 121; points – Brett Hodgson 314.

Biggest Super League win: 62-0 (v Castleford, 2011) (also 66-6 v Halifax, 2003).

Biggest Super League defeat: 72-2 (v St Helens, 2002).
Ground and capacity: Halliwell Jones Stadium, 15,000.

2011 average attendance: 11,149 (up 411).

Record Super League attendance: 14,206 (v Wakefield, 2004).

In: Trent Waterhouse (Penrith Panthers), Chris Hill (Leigh), Stefan Ratchford (Salford).

Out: Matt King (South Sydney), Louis Anderson (Catalan Dragons), Jon Clarke (Widnes), Lee Mitchell, Ryan Shaw (both Castleford on loan).

Odds to finish top: 9-4.

Prospects: Tony Smith has sensibly kept changes to a minimum and the Wolves look the team to beat in 2012. If they can keep their nerve when it comes to the play-offs, they could be celebrating a maiden Grand-Final victory.

Prediction: 1st.


Coach: Denis Betts (since November 2010).

Captain: Jon Clarke.

2011 finish: 5th in Championship.

2011 leading scorers: tries – Steven Tyrer 12; goals – Steve Tyrer 69; points – Steve Tyrer – 186.

Biggest Super League win: 46-10 (v Hull, 2003) (also won 52-22 v Halifax 2002).

Biggest Super League defeat: 70-4 (v Hull, 2004) (also lost 74-24 v Bradford, 2005).

Ground and capacity: Stobart Stadium, 13,350.

2011 average attendance: 3,744 (up 886).

Record Super League attendance: 9,825 (v Warrington, 2005).

In: Willie Isa (Castleford), Shaun Briscoe (Hull KR), Ben Davies, Ben Cross (both Wigan), Frank Winterstein, Rhys Hanbury, Lloyd White, Hep Cahill (all Crusaders), Chris Dean (Wakefield), Patrick Ah Van (Bradford), Jon Clarke (Warrington), Scott Moore (St Helens), Anthony Watts (Sydney Roosters), Stefan Marsh (Wigan on season-long loan), Cameron Phelps (Hull), Sione “John” Kite (Melbourne).

Out: Richard Varkulis (Whitehaven), Danny Hulme, Lee Hudson, Chris Lunt (all North Wales), Chaz I’Anson (Swinton), Matt Gardner (Leigh), Danny Sculthorpe, Gareth Haggerty, Shane Grady, Dean Gaskell, Dave Houghton, Greg Scott, James Coyle, Daniel Heckenberg (all released), Tangi Ropati (Featherstone), Anthony Thackeray, Steve Tyrer (both (Halifax).

Odds to finish top: 200-1.

Prospects: Denis Betts has a difficult task in moulding all his new faces into an effective unit and it could be a long, hard summer on the Vikings’ return to the top flight.

Prediction: 14th.

Stobart Super League trophy


Coach: Shaun Wane (since November 2011).

Captain: Sean O’Loughlin.

2011 finish: 2nd.

2011 leading scorers (including play-offs): tries – Sam Tomkins 28; goals – Pat Richards 115; points – Pat Richards 314.

Biggest Super League win: 78-4 (v Workington, 1996).

Biggest Super League defeat: 70-0 (v Leeds, 2005).

Ground and capacity: JJB Stadium, 25,004.

2011 average attendance: 15,287 (up 110).

Record Super League attendance: 25,004 (v St Helens 2005).

In: Ben Flower, Gil Dudson, Rhodri Lloyd (all Crusaders), Epalahame Lauaki (Hull), Anthony Gelling (Auckland Vulcans).

Out: Joel Tomkins (Saracens RU), Ryan Hoffman (Melbourne), Ben Davies, Ben Cross (both Widnes), Paul Deacon, Andy Coley (both retired), Eamon O’Carroll (Hull), Stefan Marsh (Widnes on season-long loan), Kark Pryce (Bradford).

Odds to finish top: 5-2.

Prospects: The Warriors are not as strong following the departure of some experienced personnel but new coach Shaun Wane will have them knocking on the door of Old Trafford.

Prediction: 2nd.


Wigan's Sam Tomkins evades a tackle from St Helens Lee Gaskell

1996: Champions: St Helens (runners-up: Wigan).

1997: Champions: Bradford (runners-up London Broncos).

1998: League Leaders: Wigan; Grand Final winners: Wigan (runners-up Leeds).

1999: League Leaders: Bradford; Grand Final winners: St Helens (runners-up: Bradford).

2000: League Leaders: Wigan; Grand Final winners: St Helens (runners-up: Wigan).

2001: League Leaders: Bradford; Grand Final winners: Bradford (runners-up: Wigan).

2002: League Leaders: St Helens; Grand Final winners: St Helens (runners-up: Bradford).

2003: League Leaders: Bradford; Grand Final winners: Bradford (runners-up: Wigan).

2004: League Leaders: Leeds; Grand Final winners: Leeds (runners-up: Bradford).

2005: League Leaders: St Helens; Grand Final winners: Bradford (runners-up: Leeds).

2006: League Leaders: St Helens; Grand Final winners: St Helens (runners-up: Hull).

2007: League Leaders: St Helens; Grand Final winners: Leeds (runners-up: St Helens).

2008: League Leaders: St Helens; Grand Final winners: Leeds (runners-up: St Helens).

2009: League Leaders: Leeds: Grand Final winners: Leeds (runners-up: St Helens).

2010: League Leaders: Wigan: Grand Final winners: Wigan (runners-up: St Helens).

2011: League Leaders: Warrington; Grand Final winners: Leeds (runners-up: St Helens).