Must admit, I didn't think Wigan would win anything last season and thus take my hat off to Shaun Wane. I mean, both Leeds and Warrington had better teams on paper (and they are both well coached, too).
But with Tomkins, Hansen and (most importantly) Richards gone, they are going to struggle to get into the top 4. And with the notable exception of Ben Flower, that pack is going to have its work cut out to survive against some of the other sides. No offence to Wigan fans intended.
What are the odds on Salford finishing higher than Wigan, anyway? Might have a flutter.
As good a player as Hansen is, I don't think his loss alone weakens the pack to an extent that it can't compete. Otherwise its the same pack as that which won the GF and Challenge Cup, not counting the additional experience of the young lads and whatever Bateman and Clubb may offer.
Tomkins is clearly the biggest loss, but I have hopes that Bowen and / or Hampshire can provide some value in that role. Richards is a loss for his goal kicking, but less so in other areas as he never got his pace back after the Achilles injury in 2010.
Overall I think Wigan will be fine. Difficult to repeat the heights of a double winning season, but likely to be there or thereabouts when the trophies are given out. Can't rule out Salford finishing higher, but will take a very big effort and reaching their full potential.
Edited by giwildgo, 18 December 2013 - 10:11 PM.