With Round 10 of Super League set to kick off on Friday evening, we feel it’s an appropriate time here at TotalRL.com to grade how each of the 12 teams has done so far in the new era of Rugby League.
The table is still incredibly tight, and with any team being able to seemingly beat anyone, it’s making for a dramatic and enthralling season so far.
There has been no shortage of stories, and no shortage of drama. But how has your team done so far? Here’s our tentative gradings for the runners and riders, in league table order.
1st – Leeds Rhinos: A-
It’s been a very, very impressive start to the season so far for Leeds, who are already four points clear of the chasing pack in Super League XX. The only blot on their copy card came against Warrington Wolves midway through the first nine games, and as well as dealing with an off-field incident involving some of their squad, the Rhinos have rode the Super League storm excellently thus far. The scary thing is, they can probably get even better.
2nd – St Helens: B
The defending champions were rolling along superbly after the first few weeks of the season, but injuries and a loss of form has seen them slip off top spot and down to second on the ladder. That said, when they start to get players back they will immediately become a force again, and with Keiron Cunningham impressing during his first few weeks in charge, you can never write the Saints off, even if they aren’t at their best.
3rd – Salford Red Devils: B+
Is this the year Marwan Koukash’s Red Devils finally come good? If the first nine rounds of the season are anything to go by, then it could well be. The hefty investment seems to have paid off, and the Red Devils are slowly but surely making their way up the table. Their grade could be higher, but a slow start to the season knocks them down a notch – this Sunday’s game against Leeds is simply unmissable.
4th – Hull Kingston Rovers: B+
The Robins pick up the same grade as Salford, who they sit in the top four with at the moment. Like Salford, their grade isn’t quite at A level due to a sluggish start to the season, but it’s been some turnaround for the Robins since then. Led by the magnificent Terry Campese, KR are flying at the moment, and head into this weekend’s game against Castleford off the back of a derby win and a victory against Huddersfield. Top four outsiders, anyone?
5th – Wigan Warriors: C+
Despite attracting criticism for their performances, Wigan still sit handily on the Super League ladder in fifth position. Of course, that won’t be enough to get into the play-offs this year, but the Warriors are starting to get some of their big names back. Captain Sean O’Loughlin should return for the Warrington game next week, as will prop Ben Flower. Impressive at home, but just a solitary point on the road so far. Must do better.
6th – Catalans Dragons: C
The Dragons have the same record as Wigan – but unusually for them, it’s their home form which is mixed. The Dragons usually make Stade Gilbert Brutus a fortress, but they’ve already lost there this year, as well as drawing 40-40 with Salford at home. Todd Carney has been in and out of the side, and although they still look to be OK for the top eight, they have work to do to improve on that standing.
7th – Huddersfield Giants: D+
The Giants have been OK so far – no better, no worse, you feel. A very slow start was complimented by a good run of wins – but they lost both games over Easter to remain entrenched in the middle of the table. That’s below expectations for a side who had become top four certainties over the last couple of years – can they match it again in 2015?
8th – Castleford Tigers: C
It’s tough to gauge where this Castleford Tigers team should be, in truth. They were so brilliant under the guidance of Daryl Powell last year that people perhaps expect a lot from the Tigers, but at this moment in time, they’re just about inside the top eight. They’ve been patchy so far this year, but a good win against Warrington on Easter Monday could be the springboard they need to move forward.
9th – Warrington Wolves: D-
Tipped by many to be title contenders at the start of the year, it’s incredible to see Warrington inside the bottom four after the Easter period. Four straight defeats have seen Tony Smith’s side slide down the Super League table at an alarming rate, and a win against bottom side Wakefield this weekend is imperative, you feel. Unable to sort their combinations out so far this year, Tony Smith has a job on his hands to haul Warrington up the table.
10th – Widnes Vikings: D+
Only three wins for Widnes so far in 2015, but they are still within touching distance of sides like Wigan and Catalans, such is the nature of the Super League table. However, despite that, Denis Betts’ men have been hot and cold so far this year, which was perhaps best summed up by their Easter period. A good win against Warrington was backed up by a comprehensive defeat against Catalans – and although the top eight is still in sight, Widnes will feel their league position is rather nervy.
11th – Hull FC: E+
Second bottom for a club like Hull FC is simply just not good enough – although Easter Monday did provide some hope going forward. The Black and Whites provided perhaps the upset of Round 9 when they went to St Helens and managed to pick up a shock victory. It does mean that they’re within touching distance of the rest of the table – but as an overall grade so far this year, FC have flattered to deceive.
12 – Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: E
Two wins at the start of the season offered great hope for Wakefield fans – but since then, it’s been a bit of a disaster. The Wildcats are in the midst of a horrendous injury crisis that has seen some of their biggest stars sit on the sidelines, but this Saturday’s game against fellow bottom four side against Warrington seems huge.