2016 is almost upon us, and with it gives clubs the opportunity to make the year their own.
Following a massively entertaining campaign this year, we can’t wait for next year, and here are five clubs we believe will feature prominently in the drama that unfolds…
1. Wigan Warriors
There was something about Shaun Wane’s post-match comments following the Grand Final that really struck home. The disappointment was raw, but the subtle confidence about the long-term future of his team was convincing.
And who could argue with the Warriors head coach? 2015 showcased yet more unbelievable talents coming through the ranks and further proof that the team is on the up.
With Sam Tomkins now back in the fold and Wane’s young army a year wiser, 2016 could be the year the Warriors take back their place at the summit of Rugby League.
2. Warrington Wolves
There’s no questioning that the Wolves underachieved last year. But if ever there was a statement of intent then their off-season recruitment is just that.
A lot of big names have arrived, Joe Westerman and Tom Lineham to name just a few and of all the clubs in Super League, Warrington are up there in terms of recruitment.
This year’s competition looks as formidable as ever, but that’s because clubs like the Wolves have flexed their muscle in the market, and they’ll be determined to be right up there come the end of the season.
3. Leigh Centurions
This was obvious, wasn’t it?
Leigh have had a knack of hitting the headlines over recent years, and this off-season has been absolutely no different.
Big name signings have come in abundance while Rangi Chase and Willie Tonga’s recent arrivals have seen some tip Leigh for promotion.
Nothing can be confirmed at this stage, but big things can be expected of the Centurions next year.
4. Halifax RLFC
Their elaborate brand of rugby and underdog status meant Halifax became the trendy team to support last year, and there’s no sign of that ending soon.
Fax have strengthened again and are far better positioned to challenge in the Qualifiers now in comparison to just 12 months ago.
Of course, they are still massive underdogs in the race to make Super League, but with Richard Marshall at the helm and the Rugby League community behind them, they have a chance.
5. Batley Bulldogs
Perhaps a peculiar entrant on this list, but Batley could well be the team to mount a serious challenge for the Qualifiers and break up last year’s top four.
The recruitment of Sheffield trio Dominic Brambani, Pat Walker and James Davey is a huge improvement while Chris Ulugia is a threat out wide.
They’ve retained the majority of their star players and also their head coach John Kear, who is more than capable of overseeing a top four push.
2016 could be Batley’s year.