Super League XXVI winners St Helens have started the 2022 campaign in fine fashion with 5 wins from their first 6 games, a record matched by last season’s runners up Catalans Dragons and Wigan Warriors. This early form from last year’s finalists is in keeping with early predictions from top sportsbooks, many of which promote offers via oddschecker that can be used to bet on the Super League. While Wigan Warriors aren’t being tipped for a place in the Grand Final this year, they surprised many with their run to last year’s semi-finals, so they’ll fancy their chances of going one better this time around.
St Helens fly out of the blocks
With the club still riding a wave of positivity after last year’s triumph, St Helens started the season with a home match against their 2021 Grand Final opponents Catalans Dragons. Whereas last season’s final was a tight affair that finished 12-10, the season opener turned out to be a blowout for St Helens, who recorded a 28-8 win to stun their rivals at the Totally Wicked Stadium. Never a club to rest on their laurels, Kristian Woolf’s side then managed an even bigger victory on the road, beating Hull FC by 32 points. The Merseyside club finished February with a 20-4 home win against Wakefield Trinity in a dominant performance.
March began in a similar fashion for St Helens, who first beat Hull KR 8-42 at Sewell Group Craven Park. Warrington Wolves were next up but were no match for St Helens, particularly with England winger Tommy Makinson in such fine form. Their first loss of the season came a week later, away in Toulouse. Although this defeat will certainly have hurt, it was a case of failed conversions impeding the Saints rather than being outplayed, so they’ll be confident of bouncing back in the coming months.
Fire breathing Dragons
After losing last season’s Grand Final, the off season was surely tough for the Catalans Dragons and their supporters. They seemed to still be suffering from the mental scars of that defeat when they met St Helen’s again in the season opener, but that game is now an outlier in what has been a barnstorming start.
They responded admirably in their next match, resisting a late fightback from Wakefield Trinity to beat them 24-22. The Perpignan team then earned an important 4-10 victory away to Leeds Rhinos at the end of February, before beginning March with a hard-fought victory over Warrington Wolves at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. A week later Sam Tomkins was in inspired form to lead the way in the Dragons’ 28-0 victory over Wigan Warriors, their first loss of the season. Their following game at home to Hull KR was much less comfortable, with the team having to rely on 5 conversions for an 18-10 comeback win.
After last year’s disappointment, the Dragons will certainly be fired up for revenge.
Warriors keeping pace
Wigan Warriors’ season so far has been a story of grit and determination, exemplified by the number of hard-fought victories they have achieved. Last year’s inspiring performance, which saw them go from relegation candidates to semi-finalists seems to have given the club newfound confidence. They opened this season with a 10-24 away win at Hull KR, before crushing Leeds Rhinos 34-12, largely thanks to a hat-trick from Full-back Jai Field. Huddersfield Giants were the next team to feel the wrath of the Warriors, with the Wigan winning by 10 points to wrap up a successful opening month.
March was slightly tougher for The Warriors who had back-to-back away matches in France to contend with. The first, in Toulouse, ended in a narrow victory for Wigan thanks to a late drop goal from Harry Smith. Their winning streak ended abruptly in their second game in France when they were beaten 28-0 at the Stade Gilbert Brutus. Head coach Matt Peet had stated that the trip to France would be used as a team bonding exercise, but such a heavy defeat will have deflated the group. Despite that disappointment, they returned to winning games back on home soil, beating Castleford Tigers 32-22 with Jai Field influential once again.