The good, the bad and the indifferent
First published in League Express, Monday 14th Oct 2013
With the World Cup just around the corner, this is my last chance to have a look back to the Super League season just gone, so here’s my club-by-club guide.
Paul Anderson has done an excellent job, and the key was that he picked a settled side. They had a simple, basic game plan and were very consistent. In Danny Brough they had the best player of the season and it was great to see them top the table, although it was predictable they would fall short in the play-offs.
Will they be happy finishing second and reaching Old Trafford? I don’t think so, especially as they didn’t get to Wembley either. Tony Smith will have wanted a major trophy, so this has to go down as a below-par season. They played some great rugby though, with Mickey Higham leading the way.
They’ll feel that this has been a disappointing season, even though they came higher up the table. In his first season, I think Joel Moon was outstanding and was the biggest positive for them. Getting to the Grand Final was a step too far for them this time, and I don’t think they can have any complaints.
With Sean O’Loughlin leading the way, when he managed to get on the field, Wigan were outstanding this year. They wobbled in the league either side of Wembley. But who cares now? To do the double is a great achievement and it was great to see those who have always said it was impossible proved completely wrong.
A disappointing and mediocre season by their standards. Yes, they had injuries, but all clubs get them. They finished well though, and the kids they produce continue to take the breath away. Alex Walmsley was outstanding for them and put some of their more senior forwards to shame.
A season that has flattered to deceive for Hull FC. At times they were rubbish, but then they put together a good run which saw them get to Wembley with Danny Houghton at the top of his game. But they were awful in the Cup Final and disgraced themselves in the play-offs. I wish Lee Radford all the best for next year.
They struggled away from home again, and with the quality of their squad you’d have to say it was a disappointing season. On the other hand, given that they lost one of the best coaches in the world in Trent Robinson, maybe they did okay! Morgan Escaré was outstanding at fullback and proved to be one of the most exciting players in Super League.
A disappointing season for them. They suffered on the road. They might be able to beat anyone at Craven Park, but they need to do something about their inconsistency. When they have injuries they struggle with a lack of depth and it will be interesting to see how they go next year without their best player, Michael Dobson.
Bearing in mind what’s gone on at the club in the last 18 months, I think Francis Cummins can be reasonably satisfied with the side’s performances in 2013, although he may say otherwise. For mine, Luke Gale was their best player and their new signings should help them move into the eight next year.
As I predicted last year, they had a decent second season in Super League and well done to all concerned for keeping faith in Denis Betts. I was impressed with their ability to bounce back from the low points that came along. Joe Mellor was the player who impressed me most.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats
Given what they’ve spent, I think 2013 was a disappointing season for them. Realistically they were nowhere near the eight. Tim Smith was outstanding for them, but too many of their players can’t be satisfied with their performance level.
Under Ian Millward they were always going to struggle, as he never seemed to know his best team. Under Daryl Powell, they were very good. He made them consistent, which is no mean feat, but overall they should be disappointed with third last. Rangi Chase was their player of the season, of course.
They were poor at home and even worse on the road. There’s no backbone to the side, especially without Craig Gower, and they only avoided the wooden spoon because of Salford’s points deduction. Kieran Dixon was their stand-out player but they have little quality elsewhere.
Their season was awful and I’m not even sure you can blame the players with most of them knowing they had no future at the club, although credit to Stephen Wild for a good season. I’m not convinced they’ll all gel next year and I think their Dad’s Army team will miss the eight in 2014.
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