Sean Long on favourites for Super League Grand Final and potential dark horse in 2023

THE Super League and Championship seasons are just around the corner with the second tier kicking off next weekend and the first tier the weekend after.

Of course, at this time of the year predictions come in thick and fast as people analyse signings, retention and coaching changes though nothing is certain until the referee’s whistle blows in round one.

St Helens will be hoping for an unprecedented fifth Grand Final win in a row with the rest of Super League aiming to finally stop the Merseyside club’s dominance.

That being said, former Saints halfback Sean Long and now head coach of Championship promotion hopefuls Featherstone Rovers believes Saints will go into the year as favourites as he outlines how the return of Lewis Dodd will make them an even better side.

“It’s a tough one but St Helens will be the favourites because of the standards that they have and the players they’ve retained,” Long told League Express.

“They’ve kept the spine together for so long. Lewis Dodd is back, to win Super League without a halfback like they did last year is very tough and now they have got Dodd coming back into the team.

“They are getting a little bit older, Jonny Lomax and James Roby but you can’t look too far from them.”

As well as Saints aiming for that record, Long also believes Huddersfield Giants could well be the dark horses.

“But you’ve also got Wigan, Leeds and Warrington. I think Huddersfield will be good too. To be fair I could name them all but Huddersfield can sneak in there as well.”

The Giants have signed the likes of Kevin Naiqama, Esan Marsters, Jake Connor and Harry Rushton as head coach Ian Watson plots the West Yorkshire club’s first trophy for a decade.