The Super League side set to take people by surprise in 2023

THE Super League season is just around the corner as pre-season preparations continue into the last few week of friendlies.

The majority of recruitment has been done and dusted with potentially a few recruits still to be signed off on, but all eyes are now firmly fixed on Thursday 13 Feb when Warrington Wolves head into a clash with the Leeds Rhinos.

That being said, predictions are coming in thick and fast for the season ahead with St Helens aiming for an unprecedented fifth Grand Final title in a row whilst Leigh Leopards will be hoping to end the trend of newly-promoted sides being relegated in their first season in the big time.

One team that has disappointed for the past few years, however, has been Hull FC, but under new head coach Tony Smith there is a new-found optimism surrounding West Hull.

The likes of Jake Clifford and Tex Hoy have signed from the Newcastle Knights whilst Brad Dwyer and Liam Sutcliffe have made the move from Leeds Rhinos. Jake Trueman has also ended his Castleford Tigers association after seven seasons to join the Black and Whites.

The combination of Clifford and Hoy will be vital for Smith’s side going forward into 2023 whilst the additions of Dwyer and Sutcliffe will add zip, consistency and competition for places.

Of course, Trueman will miss the beginning of the season after suffering a devastating ACL injury whilst playing for the Tigers last season, but that paves the way for youngster Ben McNamara to finally make his mark in the Hull team.

Under Smith, there may well be an emphasis on bringing through more young stars with the veteran Australian’s man-management is amongst the best in the game.

After falling outside the play-offs in the past two seasons under former coach Brett Hodgson, Smith will be tasked with realising Hull’s potential and it’s obvious that at every previous club, the Australian has left the club in a better state than what it was in when he first took the job.

It will be a tough ask to break the culture of finishing poorly, but if there is one man for the job then it is Smith.