Rugby League: Club-by-club guide to the new season


Bradford's buying policy promises an even more expansive style of play than last season, but they could miss the defensive solidity of Darrall Shelford more than they expect. With the addition of one more forward, they would have the squad best equipped to challenge Wigan.

Coach: Peter Fox. In: David Fraisse (Sheffield),

David Myers (Widnes), Robbie Paul (Waitakere City), Eugene Bourneville (Auckland City), Jason Donahue (Leigh). Out: Darrall Shelford (Huddersfield), Brian Noble (Wakefield), Brimah Kebbie (Huddersfield).

Last season: 2nd. Prediction: 3rd.


It has been a difficult summer for Cas, with the loss of important players and some trouble behind the scenes. All in all, John Joyner could find himself suffering from second season syndrome. It will be hard to match last season's achievements in either the Championship or knock-out competitions.

Coach: John Joyner. In: Richard Goddard (Wakefield), Gareth Stephens (Leeds). Out: Grant

Anderson (Halifax), St John Ellis (Queensland Crushers), Mike Ford (Queensland Crushers), Andy Fisher (Dewsbury).

Last season: 4th. Prediction: 6th.


The preparations for a first season in the top division have been thoroughly disrupted by a financial crisis. Ambitions have had to be reined in and the prospect of survival looks a distant and elusive one.

Coach: Tony Fisher. In: Pierre Grobbelaar, John Assor, Pierre Assor (all South Africa). Out: Andy Gascoigne (Ryedale-York).

Last season: 2nd in Division Two. Prediction: 16th.


Rovers have again recruited imaginatively and should perform marginally better than last season. A top eight place is now a realistic target, but could prove just

beyond them.

Coach: Steve Martin. In: Danny Divet (Hull), Mark Aston (Sheffield). Out: Francis Maloney (Warrington), Brett Daunt (Australia).

Last season: 11th. Prediction: 10th.


Halifax failed to live up to expectations last season and still have to hit on the right half-back combination. Will come closer to adding up to the sum of their parts, but not close enough to mount a title push.

Coach: Malcolm Reilly. In: Grant Anderson (Castleford), Paul Moriarty (Widnes), Wayne Parker (Hull KR). Out: Gary Lord (Oldham), David Boyd (Australia), Paul Bishop (Australia).

Last season: 5th. Prediction: 4th.


Hull will find themselves lacking the depth of experience and know-how that they would need to improve greatly on recent form. Much will depend on the impact of three talented young New Zealanders, but it is asking too much of them to expect any sudden upswing.

Coach: Tony Gordon (new). In: Tevita Vaikona (Canterbury, NZ), Shane Endacott (Canterbury, NZ), Maea David (Canterbury, NZ), Roy McKenzie (Moseley RU). Out: Danny Divet (Featherstone), Des Hasler (Australia), James Grant (Australia), Jeff Doyle (Australia), Gareth Cochrane (Keighley).

Last season: 9th. Prediction: 9th.


They look better than ever on paper, even if there remains a suspicion that some players use Headingley as a place to put their feet up. Some genuine quality and some rapidly developing young players will make them exciting on their day, but that day will not come around often enough.

Coach: Doug Laughton. In: Patrick Entat (Avignon), Esene Faimalo (Widnes), George Mann (St Helens). Out: Vince Fawcett (Workington), Gareth Stephens (Castleford), Simon Irving (Keighley), Mike O'Neill (Widnes).

Last season: 7th. Prediction: 7th.


Too many gaps and too much uncertainty about who is going to fill them to predict anything other than a very difficult season for Oldham. New coach Andy Goodway is bound to wonder whether he should be on the pitch; the pressure will be on him to reverse his decision to retire as a player.

Coach: Andy Goodway (new). In: Paul Davidson (Widnes), Gary Lord (Halifax), Steve Gartland (Rochdale), Wilson Marsh (Manukau, NZ), Joe Faimalo (NZ), Jason Temu (Manukau, NZ), Neil Battye (free agent). Out: Andy Goodway (retired), Bob Lindner (Queensland Crushers), Barrie McDermott (Wigan), Se'e Solomona (Auckland Warriors), Glen Liddiard (Australia), Shane Tupaea (Keighley).

Last season: 13th. Prediction: 15th.


A great deal hinges on whether Bobby Goulding will give Saints the sharp focus from half-back that they have been lacking. My hunch is that he will and that that will be enough to give them a rather better season than their last, bitterly disappointing campaign.

Coach: Eric Hughes. In: Scott Gibbs (Swansea RU), Apollo Perelini (Western Samoa), Bobby Goulding (Widnes), Simon Booth (Leigh) Out: George Mann (Leeds), Les Quirk (Whitehaven), Tea Ropati (Auckland Warriors), Jason O'Loughlin (Leigh).

Last season: 8th. Prediction: 5th.


The Salford ploy of bringing in veterans of quality and character to beef up their prospects is well in evidence again, and good value should be had from both Sam Panapa and Mike Gregory. Not enough depth to get into the top eight, but relegation should not be a problem.

Coach: Garry Jack. In: Sam Panapa (Wigan), Scott Mahon (Parramatta), Mike Gregory (Warrington), Jason Williams (Canterbury, Aus). Out: Garry Jack (retired), Terry O'Connor (Wigan), Chris Tauro (Australia), Greg Austin (Huddersfield), Peter Williams (retired).

Last season: 12th. Prediction: 11th.


Sheffield have been the victims of their own success, in that it has alerted other clubs to the quality of players that the

Eagles, faced by competition, could not afford to keep. Will rebuild intelligently, but are bound to lose some of last season's momentum.

Coach: Gary Hetherington. In: Darrell Trindall (South Sydney), Bright Sodje (Hull KR), Rob Hutchinson (Hull KR), John Glancy (Wakefield). Out: David Fraisse (Bradford), Bruce McGuire (Warrington), Mark Aston (Featherstone), David Plange (Hull KR).

Last season: 6th. Prediction: 8th.


A tough time again for Trinity, another club which lacks the manpower to compete in the top division, but somehow manages to hang on. Another nervous season with a last-minute escape seems the likely prognosis.

Coach: David Hobbs (new). In: Robert Piva, Aaron Whittaker (both Canterbury, NZ), Ian Gildart (Wigan), David Bailey (Auckland), Brian Noble (Bradford). Out: Matt Fuller (Western Reds), Richard Goddard (Castleford), Henry Paul (Auckland, now Wigan), John Glancy (Sheffield).

Last season: 14th. Prediction: 14th.


Were close to embarrassing Wigan last season and are significantly stronger this time. If Jonathan Davies has another outstanding season and some of their new crop continue to develop, Warrington could be the main danger.

Coach: Brian Johnson. In: Francis Maloney (Featherstone), Bruce McGuire (Warrington). Out: Craig Teitzel (Australia), Tony Thorniley (Widnes), Paul Myler (Widnes), Neil Kenyon (Keighley).

Last season: 3rd. Prediction: 2nd.


The drain of talent has continued at Naughton Park and prospects look daunting for a raw, new coach - even one with such playing skills as Tony Myler. Could even flirt with relegation, especially if a couple more of the remaining big guns


Coach: Tony Myler (new). In: Tony Thorniley (Warrington), Jason Green (Rochdale), Tony Singleton (Barrow), Lee Hansen (Leigh), Andy Collier (Leigh), Jason Cassidy (Leigh), Paul Myler (Warrington), Mike O'Neill (Leeds). Out: David Myers (Bradford), Bobby Goulding (St Helens), Esene Faimalo (Leeds), Paul Davidson (Oldham), Paul Moriarty (Halifax).

Last season: 10th. Prediction: 12th.


Some of the key figures of recent seasons have gone, but Wigan have again bought well. Newcomers and players who have been maturing in the A team will once more give them the strongest squad by some distance - and there is no substitute for that over the long slog of the Championship, even if there are more sides capable of catching them out on an inspired day in the cup competition.

Coach: Graeme West (new). In: Henry Paul (Auckland Warriors), Terry O'Connor (Salford), Barrie McDermott (Oldham). Out: Dean Bell (Auckland Warriors), Andy Platt (Auckland Warriors), Sam Panapa (Salford), Billy McGinty (Workington), Ian Gildart (Wakefield), Andre Stoop (Keighley).

Last season: champions. Prediction: champions.


The other promoted club have also had a disjointed preparation, thanks to the delay in getting their Australian coach his work permit. Their recruitment has fallen a little short of their aspirations, as well, but enough teams will come away empty- handed from the long journey to Workington to ensure First Division


Coach: Peter Walsh. In: Vince Fawcett (Leeds), Billy McGinty (Wigan), Kyle White (Western Suburbs). Out: Ged Byrne (retired).

Last season: Second Division champions. Prediction: 13th.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?