Betfred Super League is back – and with the players fully refreshed from the longest off-season in memory, the action on the field should go up a notch again.
The rule changes brought in over the last 12 months have made the sport even faster and more exciting, and we finished last year with that unforgettable climax through Jack Welsby’s last gasp Grand Final winner for St Helens.
With a World Cup to look forward to at the end of the year this is a pivotal time for the sport, full of opportunity.
And we’re also going to see a host of new signings in Super League this season – this are my five to watch in 2021.
GREG INGLIS (Warrington Wolves)
A genuine superstar of the sport – and a great signing for Warrington and the competition.
I think the Wolves have brought him in to perform when it matters most in the biggest games. We might not see the best of him on a round-to-round basis, but he’ll be expected to make a difference in the matches that define Warrington’s season.
At his best he’s been a wonderful player – I’ve come up against him on the field and he’s just so athletically gifted, and has size combined with skill. When he’s on his best game he looks like a 13-year-old playing in an under-10s competition, even right up to State of Origin level.
Now we need to see whether his body, at 34 years of age, will allow him to return to those heights.
JOHN BATEMAN (Wigan Warriors)
He will be the best English player in the competition. He was outstanding in the NRL for Canberra Raiders before coming back for family reasons, and he’ll be better for that experience.
He’s got a big shirt to fill in Sean O’Loughlin’s no.13 jersey, but they are different kind of players and I think he’ll revel in that challenge.
In a World Cup year he has to be a leader for both club and country, but I think he’s developed into that anyway just through the way he plays.
He treads that fine red line between being intimidating or giving away three or four penalties – if he goes the right way he can be central to success for Wigan and England this year.
KORBIN SIMS (Hull KR)
I really like this signing by Hull KR. Sims is a little bit old school, like his brother Ashton who played at Warrington and Toronto. He certainly added to the competition and I think Korbin will be the same.
He’s powerful and confrontational, and I like watching those kind of guys play.
That could also inspire the players around him to be more aggressive and Rovers may have found their emotional leader in the pack.
He could also feature for Fiji in the World Cup this year – but it’s the Hull derby I’m really looking forward to seeing him let loose in.
ZANE TETEVANO (Leeds Rhinos)
He arrives at Leeds with a great pedigree having played at Sydney Roosters and Penrith Panthers in the NRL.
He’s a winner who’s played at the highest level, and has already brought a level of professionalism into the squad at the Rhinos.
On the pitch, he’s a tough, uncompromising prop who can play long minutes, which is exactly what Richard Agar was looking for.
He’s one of those kind of players that gets the job done at any cost, and I think he’ll be a good fit at Headingley.
JOSH REYNOLDS (Hull FC)
This is a really interesting signing for Hull FC. Josh Reynolds has proved in his career that his top game is outstanding, unfortunately his bottom game isn’t.
If we see more of his best then he can dominate matches for Hull, and how well he plays in the big games will determine how successful they are this season.
Brett Hodgson should be the right man to get the best out of him, and if you look at a spine that also contains Jake Connor, Marc Sneyd and Danny Houghton, Hull have plenty of ability.
Reynolds fits nicely into that foursome, and if he can overcome questions about his temperament then he could be a great addition for the Black and Whites.
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