Following an eventful opening month across England’s three divisions, there have been some outstanding surprises. Here are your three winners and three losers of February.
The Giants have had a storming start to Super League’s 25th season and, as it stands, are the only remaining unbeaten side in the top flight, currently holding three dominant away victories over Hull KR, Salford and Catalan.
Aidan Sezer, signed as a marquee from Canberra Raiders, may not lead the way in terms of carries or metres gained, but has certainly inspired his side to achieve these victories. He plays an integral role in attacking, by providing assists to five scores of the Giants’ eleven scores so far.
A major aspect of Huddersfield this season has been their variations in attack. Louis Senior has scored three tries thus far, meaning a number of players have crossed in a range of positions on the field.
An eventful off-season full of new talent has led to a high-flying start to Leigh’s Championship campaign.
Four games have taken place, including a Challenge Cup tie, with the Centurions impressively conceding just 30 points, a statistic which has put Leigh on top of the Betfred Championship.
Ridiculously, Leigh have crossed for 29 tries already, including five tries each from Iain Thornley and Adam Higson, two new signings. Ben Reynolds has contributed substantially also, kicking 24 goals.
If this form continues, Leigh have a chance of receiving promotion back to Super League, after being relegated in 2017.
The Tigers were doubted by many prior to the season due to signing Danny Richardson, a player who became overlooked by St Helens last year.
Daryl Powell’s side currently ties Leeds in terms of tries and assists, holding 20 and 17 respectively, and have dominated metres made, gained a staggering 1000 metres more than any other side in Super League.
There is one key aspect for the Fords to improve on and that’s discipline, shown by the 42 penalties conceded across five games. However, it’s been a promising start for Castleford and some form that they hope to maintain moving forward.
Toronto have only been a professional side for four years and, in that time, have played in all three professional leagues, but the first transatlantic side have faced a tough inaugural month in Super League, suffering five defeats against challenging opposition such as Warrington, St Helens and Wigan.
The Wolfpack do have the talent available to pose attacking threats, with influential stars including Gareth O’Brien and Sonny Bill Williams, but lack squad depth. The side has recently brought in three more players on loan, taking their squad to 26, with Tony Gigot, Jack Wells and Ben Kilner joining on temporary deals.
Toronto must improve quickly as already, they sit two points adrift at the bottom, and face a difficult month of fixtures including two away dates at Huddersfield and a fixture with Leeds at Headingley on Thursday.
Since Fax’s inspiring achievements in the Challenge Cup, reaching the semi-finals, some painful form has been endured, with Simon Grix’s side holding just three Championship victories in their last 15.
Halifax’s opening month has come down to fine margins on all three occasions, with just two points separating themselves from their opposition.
As a result, Dewsbury Rams were able to shock an ill-disciplined Halifax, with Sheffield eliminating Fax from the Challenge Cup in the following week.
Hull Kingston Rovers
Rovers made a total of 18 signings during off-season, replacing highly-rated talent with upcoming youth, and have endured some early injuries, including Mose Masoe and Weller Hauraki.
An impressive opening round performance inspired KR to a victory over Wakefield but, since then, it’s been a completely different story for Tony Smith’s men.
Four consecutive defeats, including a half-century loss to Leeds and derby defeat to Hull, has put pressure on these young players to perform.
Unfortunately, Rovers face a stern upcoming month, including trips to Wigan and St Helens, alongside entertaining Leigh, Warrington and Hull FC at Hull College Craven Park.