Guide to new Super League season

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BRADFORD BULLS

BRADFORD BULLS

Last season: First in Super League and beaten Grand Finalists.

Coach: Matthew Elliott.

In: Justin Brooker (Wests), Brad Mackay (St George-Illawarra), Hudson Smith (Salford), Ben Noble.

Out: Jeremy Donougher (retired), Phil Howlett (released), Steve McNamara, Warren Jowitt (both Wakefield).

Prospects: The best side over the season as a whole last time, the Bulls look stronger for the addition of Mackay and will be formidable again.

Key man: Robbie Paul is due for a big season.

Prediction: Second and Grand Finalists.

CASTLEFORD TIGERS

Last season: Fifth.

Coach: Stuart Raper.

In: Jamie Benn (York), Logan Campbell, Andrew Purcell (both Hull), Barrie-Jon Mather (Sale), Darren Shaw (Sheffield).

Out: Danny Ellison (Halifax), Brad Hepi (Featherstone), Francis Maloney (Wakefield), James Pickering (Canterbury), Gael Tallec (Halifax).

Prospects: The surprise success story of last season, but they will need to avoid injuries and to step up a level if they are to do as well this time.

Key man: Danny Orr can make himself into a Test-class stand-off.

Prediction: Seventh.

HALIFAX BLUE SOX

Last season: Ninth.

Player-coach: Gary Mercer.

In: Danny Ellison (Castleford), Greg Florimo, Brett Goldspink (both Wigan), Marvin Golden (Leeds), Phil Hassan, Lokeni Savelio (both Widnes), Stephen Holgate (Hull), Martin Pearson (Sheffield), Gael Tallec (Castleford).

Out: David Bouveng (released), Paul Broadbent (Hull), Andy Craig (Swinton), Carl Gillespie (Doncaster), David Hodgson (Wigan), Graham Holroyd (Salford), Richard Marshall (Huddersfield-Sheffield), Nick Pinkney (Salford).

Prospects: Halifax need to recapture the spirit of two years ago if they are to climb the table.

Key man: Greg Florimo's leadership will be vital.

Prediction: 10th.

HUDDERSFIELD-SHEFFIELD GIANTS

Last season: Huddersfield 14th, Sheffield 10th.

Coach: John Kear.

In: Gavin Clinch (Wigan), Yacine Dekkiche (Avignon), Sylvain Houles (XIII Catalan), David Lomax (Newcastle), Richard Marshall (Halifax).

Out: Most of last season's Huddersfield squad and half of Sheffield's.

Prospects: Put two struggling teams together and what do you get? A bigger and better struggling side, perhaps? The merged club still have a lot of players who have to prove they can do the business.

Key man: Gavin Clinch can pull the strings the way he did two years ago for Halifax.

Prediction: 11th.

HULL

Last season: Hull 13th, Gateshead sixth.

Coach: Shaun McRae.

In: The nucleus of last season's Gateshead team, the cream of Hull's young players, plus Paul Broadbent (Halifax), Stanley Gene (Hull KR), Wayne McDonald (Wakefield).

Out: Brett Green (released), Danny Lee (retired), Brett Grogan (Northern Eagles), Willie Peters (Wigan), Kerrod Walters (Brisbane), plus most of Hull's players.

Key man: Paul Broadbent must lead from the front if Hull are to be strong enough in the forwards.

Prospects: Whether this is a merger that should ever have been allowed is debatable but the combination of the players who took Gateshead to sixth and Hull's good youngsters should make the club highly competitive.

Prediction: Sixth.

LEEDS RHINOS

Last season: Third.

Coach: Dean Lance (new).

In: David Barnhill (Sydney City), Paul Bell (Melbourne).

Out: Marc Glanville, Brad Godden (both retired), Marvin Golden (Halifax), Martin Masella (Wakefield), Terry Newton (Wigan).

Prospects: Leeds have recruited more cautiously than anyone, a vote of confidence in their outstanding crop of youngsters. Some of them might need another year before they really punch their weight at this level.

Key man: Iestyn Harris - if he is fit, Leeds are capable of winning any game.

Prediction: Third.

LONDON BRONCOS

Last season: Eighth.

Coach: John Monie (new).

In: Steve Barrow (Hull), Jon Clarke, Andy Johnson, Danny Moore (all Wigan), Paul Davidson (St Helens), Justin Dooley (Sydney City), Brendan Magnus (Balmain), Frank Napoli (Burleigh).

Out: Glen Air, Grant Young (both Redcliffe), Robbie Beazley, Matt Salter, Robbie Simpson, Ady Spencer (released), Peter Gill, Chris Ryan (retired), Martin Offiah (Salford).

Prospects: With a new home at The Valley and a new coach of proven quality, this is a huge year for the Broncos. Monie should make them more reliable in defence, but a Cup defeat by Salford was a serious blow to their credibility.

Key man: Paul Davidson can become a cult figure to capture the imagination of London's fans.

Prediction: Ninth.

ST HELENS

Last season: Second and Grand Final winners.

Coach: Ellery Hanley.

In: Bryan Henare (Auckland), Darrell Trindall (South Sydney).

Out: Des Clark (released), Paul Davidson (London).

Prospects: Despite their triumph at the end of last season, it has been an unsettling winter for Saints. There is great talent in their squad, but it could all go badly wrong this year.

Key man: Sean Long was the outstanding scrum-half in Britain last year, but does not look as happy at stand-off.

Prediction: Fifth.

SALFORD CITY REDS

Last season: 12th.

Coach: John Harvey.

In: John Duffy (Warrington), Graham Holroyd (Halifax), Matthew Leigh (Wigan), Justin Loomans (South Sydney), Martin Offiah (London), Nick Pinkney (Halifax), James Smith (South Sydney), Kris Tassell (North Queensland), Mike Wainwright (Warrington), Jason Webber (Balmain).

Out: Steve Blakeley (Warrington), David Bradbury, Carl Briggs, Paul Carige, Garen Casey, Esene Faimalo, Bobby Thompson (all released), Joey Hayes (Oldham), Ricky Helliwell (Featherstone), David Hulme (Widnes), Scott Martin (Rochdale), Chris Morley (Sheffield), Hudson Smith (Bradford).

Key man: Darren Brown is the creative fulcrum.

Prospects: Salford have more pace, but the question is whether they will be good enough in the middle.

Prediction: 12th.

WARRINGTON WOLVES

Last season: Seventh.

Coach: Darryl Van de Velde.

In: Steve Blakeley (salford), Andrew Gee, Allan Langer (both Brisbane), Jerome Guisset (Canberra), Tawera Nikau (Melbourne), Neil Parsley (Lancashire).

Out: John Duffy (Salford), Simon Gillies (retired), Dean Hanger (Hunslet), Jason Roach (Swinton), Warren Stevens, Scott Wilson (both released), Mike Wainwright (Salford).

Key man: Allan Langer should be the catalyst.

Prospects: The Wolves have invested boldly in quality and experience. Their reward should be the biggest improvement of the season and a place in the play-offs.

Prediction: Fourth.

WAKEFIELD TRINITY WILDCATS

Last season: 11th.

Coach: Andy Kelly.

In: Bobbie Goulding, Ryan Hudson (both Huddersfield), Warren Jowitt, Steve McNamara (both Bradford), Francis Maloney (Castleford), Martin Masella (Leeds), Steve Prescott (Hull), Paul Sampson (Wasps), Bright Sodje (Sheffield), Tony Tatupu (Auckland).

Out: Adrian Brunker, Vince Fawcett, Andy Hodgson, Shane Kenward, Alfred Songoro, Roy Southernwood (all released), Kevin Crouthers (Sheffield), Wayne McDonald (Hull), Sean Richardson (Dewsbury), Lynton Stott (Doncaster), Ian Talbot (Dewsbury).

Key man: Steve McNamara will be expected to give a team full of newcomers some pattern.

Prospects: Wakefield have spent heavily, but the signs are that it will take them some time to gel.

Prediction: Eighth.

WIGAN WARRIORS

Last season: Fourth.

Coach: Frank Endacott (new).

In: Brett Dallas (North Sydney), David Hodgson (Halifax), Brady Malam (Auckland), Terry Newton (Leeds), Willie Peters (Gateshead), Steve Renouf (Brisbane).

Out: Jon Clarke, Andy Johnson, Danny Moore (all London), Gavin Clinch (Huddersfield-Sheffield), Greg Florimo, Brett Goldspink (both Halifax).

Key man: Steve Renouf should galvanise Wigan.

Prospects: After the unusual experience of winning nothing last year, Wigan have gone for proven quality.

Prediction: First and Grand Final winners.

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