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St Helens 54 Bradford 0: Bulls thrashed

St Helens 54 Bradford 0: Perfect 10-try show as injury-hit Bulls are thrashed

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UPDATED:

21:15 GMT, 8 June 2012

Double trouble: Paul Wellens

Double trouble: Paul Wellens

St Helens avenged their defeat at Odsal in March with a 10-try show against the injury-hit Bradford Bulls.

Teenager Josh Jones led the way with a hat-trick and skipper Paul Wellens and Jonny Lomax grabbed two tries each as Bradford, backing up only four days after beating Castleford, trailed 28-0 at half-time.

Tommy Makinson plundered 18 points with a try and seven goals from nine attempts.

St Helens welcomed back Anthony Laffranchi and 11-try top scorer Francis Meli who missed Sunday's draw at Hull.

Both have been named in the Exiles
squad to face England next week. Ade Gardner was still sidelined, with
Shaun Magennis suspended, and Jones, who has signed a new three year
contract, partnered Castleford-bound Michael Shenton in the centre.

Bradford were missing Brett Kearney, Jarrod Sammut, Matt Diskin, Jason Crookes, James Donaldson, Nick Scruton, Elliot Kear, Craig Kopczak and Chev Walker, with Adrian Purtell awaiting further tests after suffering a heart attack a fortnight ago.

Saints took only six minutes to go ahead when Wellens wriggled over the line after Lance Hohaia was held short but Makinson, whose last-gasp penalty at Hull salvaged a point, was off target with the conversion attempt.

Sia Soliola was proving a handful for Bradford who faced a strong wind in the first half.

The Bulls held out until the 21st minute when slick handling between halves Lomax and Hohaia put Jones over to open up a 10-0 lead.

Bradford's task became even tougher when Lomax took a return pass from Soliola, who brushed off Keith Lulia, four minutes later to sweep under the posts and make it 16-0.

Wilkin's kick then caused havoc in the Bulls defence with Jones latching on to a loose ball for a scrambled try on the half-hour with Makinson converting from wide out.

Lomax carved Bradford apart with a weaving run to send Francis Meli over just before the break and open up a 28-0 advantage.

John Bateman, linked with a move to Warrington, gave the Bradford fans something to cheer with a strong run early in the second half.

But the Bulls conceded a sixth try when Wellens pounced on James Roby's kick to make it 34-0 after 52 minutes.

It became worse for Bradford when Makinson went over before Hohaia strolled through woeful defence to extend the lead to 44-0.

Saints rattled up a half-century of points for only the second time this season when Lomax finished off a superb move in style before Jones completed his hat-trick.

Salford City Reds 20 Bradford Bulls 20: Late Broughton try snatches draw

Salford City Reds 20 Bradford Bulls 20: Late Broughton try snatches draw

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UPDATED:

22:38 GMT, 18 May 2012

Jodie Broughton snatched a dramatic draw for Salford with a try three minutes from time.

The Reds trailed 20-16 until Broughton took a Luke Patten pass to go over in the corner but Daniel Holdsworth missed the conversion.

Karl Pryce bagged a hat-trick for the Bulls, who were also awarded a controversial Tom Burgess try by referee Richard Silverwood.

Salford City Reds 20 Bradford Bulls 20

The Reds, playing against a strong wind in the first half, trailed 10-6 at the break.

Bradford went into the clash having triumphed in 22 of their 29 Super League meetings against Salford, who won 38-18 at Odsal in March.

The Bulls were missing the suspended John Bateman with Andy Purtell, Jarrod Sammut, Chev Walker, Nick Scruton and Brett Kearney still sidelined through injury.
But Bryn Hargreaves, formerly with Wigan and St Helens, made his 200th career appearance.

Salford faced an uphill task winning the forward battle with Shannon McPherson, Ben Gledhill, Jordan James, Vinnie Anderson and Wayne Godwin all missing from a depleted pack.

But Reds prop Adam Sidlow tore into the Bulls from the start and ploughed over for his first try since last June in the sixth minute after Craig Kopczak conceded a penalty.

Holdsworth tagged on the conversion but the Bulls almost replied when Hargreaves released the ball close to the Reds line but the chance went begging.

Jamie Langley's clever distribution gave Salford problems, with Steve Wild putting in a crunching tackle to clear another danger.

Burgess made an immediate impression when he appeared as sub but Salford's defence held firm until Pryce powered over in the corner after 32 minutes.

Luke Gale missed the conversion but a surging Elliott Whitehead run gave Bradford more confidence.

Pryce notched his second try in three minutes from a looping Gale pass after Salford conceded another penalty.

This time Gale made no mistake with the goal attempt to fire his side ahead 10-6 at the interval.

Sean Gleeson spilled the ball straight from the kick-off in the second half before Salford rallied courtesy of a sizzling Luke Patten break.

Holdsworth and Gleeson combined for Danny Williams to squeeze over in the corner and make it 10-10.

The Bulls hit back immediately with Pryce completing his hat-trick after Ben Jeffries saw the Reds cover out of position and his precision kick bounced kindly for the winger.

It was still anybody's game and Gleeson's smart flick pass put Williams over for his second try after 55 minutes, with Holdsworth's conversion edging the Reds in front 16-14.

Pryce came close to a fourth try from a Gale kick but was pushed into touch by Williams.

Both sides made frequent handling mistakes round the ruck but it was Burgess' controversial try nine minutes from time which restored the Bulls' lead.

Shaun Ainscough looked yards offside when he collected Jeffries' kick to put Burgess over and Gale converted to make it 20-16.

Referee Silverwood allowed the try to stand, to Salford's fury, but Broughton struck back after Oliver Elima was sin-binned.

Castleford 12 Bradford 20: Luke Gale boots Bulls past Tigers

Castleford 12 Bradford 20: Tigers blown away by Gale's accuracy

First defeat: Ian Millward

First defeat: Ian Millward

Battling Bradford recovered from
their heavy home defeat against Catalan Dragons to bag their first win
of the new Stobart Super League season.

The visitors defended magnificently
throughout and took their limited chances to inflict Castleford's first
defeat under new coach Ian Millward.

The Tigers, looking to build on their
opening victory at Salford, dominated for long periods in heavy
conditions but were unable to make it count. Scrum-half Luke Gale was a
key contributor for the Bulls.

He impressed with his kicking game, set up an early try and landed four goals.

Josh Griffin, Lee Mitchell and Steve
Nash and Lee Mitchell made their home debuts for Castleford who fielded
the team that won 24-10 at Salford.

Elliott Whitehead made his first Bradford appearance this year after completing a five-match suspension for biting.

He replaced the injured John Bateman in the second row.

The Tigers were the first to threaten but they wasted an excellent attacking position when Adam Milner's kick was too strong and the ball went dead.

Castleford then did well to survive a spell of sustained Bradford pressure. Whitehead was foiled by Richard Owen's try-saving tackle and Adrian Purtell was halted inches close to the line after chasing his own kick.

The Bulls continued to make the running as Tigers had difficulty holding onto the ball in the slippy conditions.

Bradford took a ninth-minute lead when Luke Gale's high kick was collected by Brett Kearney who put in Jarrod Sammut for a try that Gale converted. Castleford rallied strongly.

Milner went close to scoring from Rangi Chase's kick before Stuart Jones and Chase were tackled halt just short.

Whitehead then intercepted Danny Orr's pass 15 yards from his own try line to relieve further pressure on the Bulls.

With Chase pulling the strings, the Tigers were soon pressing again and Jason Crooks did well to smother a dangerous kick in his own in-goal area.

James Donaldson and Whitehead made strong runs to set up a rare Bradford attack which fizzled out when Owen gathered Elliot Kear's kick.

The Tigers then had several more chances but were unable to snap them up and they were punished shortly before the interval when the Bulls doubled their lead.

Jamie Langley sent substitute Tom Burgess plunging over from close range and Gale converted to put the visitors 12-0 up at the break.

Bradford had a let off early in the second half when Tigers prop Nathan Massey lost the ball after making a powerful run.

But the Tigers finally opened their account 10 minutes into the half when they capitalised after Gale failed to find touch from a penalty.

Chase, with a clever delayed pass, Owen and Ryan McGoldrick made the opening for Griffin to score near the corner and Kirk Dixon kicked a difficult conversion to reduce the deficit to six points.

The Bulls nearly scored five minutes later but Castleford's cover got across to bundle Crooks into touch at the corner.

Brett Ferres was stopped just short when play switched to the other end in a game that had suddenly sprung to life.

Bradford substitute Heath L'Estrange was sin-binned for holding down in the 56th minute before Castleford went close again when Griffin was unable to catch Chase's kick when a try looked certain.

Gale edged the Bulls further ahead with a 66th-minute penalty after Castleford's Jake Emmitt was sin-binned.

The Bulls sealed victory three minutes from time when Kearney darted over from a scrum 15 yards out and Gale tagged on the goal.

Owen's late try and Dixon's second goal came too late to rescue the Tigers.

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

BRADFORD BULLS

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

CATALAN DRAGONS

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

CASTLEFORD TIGERS

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.

HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS

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.

HULL FC

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

HULL KINGSTON ROVERS

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

LEEDS RHINOS

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.

LONDON BRONCOS (formerly HARLEQUINS RL)

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.

SALFORD CITY REDS

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

ST HELENS

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

WAKEFIELD TRINITY WILDCATS

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.

WARRINGTON WOLVES

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.

WIDNES VIKINGS

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

WIGAN WARRIORS

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.

SUPER LEAGUE ROLL OF HONOUR

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).