Ranking each Super League club’s pre-season performances

It’s well known that you can take very little away from pre-season friendlies.

However, until the action begins on Thursday it’s all we have to go on, so here’s how each side has looked building into the new campaign…

12) Hull FC

Two games, two big defeats and even with youngsters tried out and some big players injured, it’s not been a pre-season to get any juices flowing in West Hull.

That a young team would be soundly beaten at Bradford Bulls was no huge surprise, but a team largely comprised of first-team players being outclassed at Leeds Rhinos will have been more concerning.

11) Wakefield Trinity

It’s been a long and varied pre-season tour for Wakefield, starting with a weakened squad showing fight in defeat at Leeds on Boxing Day, and finishing with defeat at the hands of Championship opposition in Featherstone Rovers.

In between there was a convincing and pretty impressive performance at Halifax Panthers, but for a first-team squad to lose out to a lower-division side, even one as resourced as neighbours Featherstone, was a worrying note to finish on.

10) Toulouse Olympique

It’s even harder to judge on the basis of just one game, and of course Toulouse’s pre-season isn’t exactly going swimmingly.

However, the one outing on the field provided a respectable scoreline and result against last season’s League Leaders’ Shield winners Catalans Dragons and suggested they are capable of competing around this level.

9) Salford Red Devils

Salford looked in pretty fair shape in both of their outings against lower-league opposition, putting Swinton Lions and Halifax Panthers to the sword with decent if not destructive performances.

It was a more mixed side which took to the field for their final game at an even greener Warrington Wolves, and an experienced starting pack will have been disappointed not to fare better on the road to defeat.

8) Warrington Wolves

The first-team squad got the run-out against Wigan Warriors while the kids were given a chance to shine against Salford.

The established stars were beaten in what will have been a slightly disappointing first outing, and it was up to the next generation to round things off on a very positive note with an impressive display.

7) Huddersfield Giants

A pre-season where the opposition stepped up each week and so, just about, did the performances, with a middling display against Dewsbury Rams followed by better fare against their other Kirklees neighbours Batley Bulldogs.

The final match came against Super League opposition in Hull KR and, while narrowly beaten as a late comeback fell short, there were positive signs in there.

6) St Helens

Another side to only play the once, and Kristian Woolf would happily have gone without any friendlies if not for the need for Alex Walmsley’s testimonial.

A 10-point win over Championship opposition in Leigh Centurions is far from convincing, though they’ll no doubt be at a different level when the competitive stuff begins.

5) Catalans Dragons

Just one game to judge the Dragons on as well, but a three-score win over Super League newcomers Toulouse suggests all is running pretty smoothly for their build-up.

4) Castleford Tigers

Castleford didn’t take on any Super League opposition but they did look highly comfortable in their two outings against lower-league outfits.

The first team were given the opportunity to stretch their legs in both games and duly blasted through York City Knights and Doncaster with strong openings in each, the only downside being that new boss Lee Radford may not have discovered too much.

3) Hull Kingston Rovers

A strong couple of outings from Rovers, starting with an evisceration of Championship Dewsbury on their own ground.

They then returned home to test themselves against Huddersfield and will have been largely pleased with a victory which, while still predictably scratchy, showed them to be a step ahead of a Super League peer at this juncture.

2) Wigan Warriors

Like the two Hull clubs, Wigan took on Championship opposition first before stepping things up a notch with a workout against a Super League side.

First a mix of experience and young talent lined up at full-time Newcastle Thunder and won by a handsome 30 points, before Stefan Ratchford’s testimonial at Warrington was spoiled by a hard-fought Warriors win which could be a promising sign of things to come for the season.

1) Leeds Rhinos

A close-run thing between Leeds and Wigan as to who had the best set of results.

It might not have been the very strongest opposition available in either case, but the Rhinos were the only side to see off two different Super League clubs, and did so handsomely on both occasions against Wakefield and Hull FC.

Meanwhile, the kids were more than alright when many were put up against two of the best sides the Championship have to offer, edging wins at both Bradford and Featherstone.