Tom Davies 20/1 with Betfred to be Super League’s top scorer
Rumour has it that rugby league is set for a big year in 2022 – and it is hard not to feel energised about what lies ahead.
The Championship kicks off on Monday night when promotion favourites Featherstone Rovers travel to upwardly mobile York City Knights.
The match will be televised on Premier Sports as part of the broadcaster’s new regular Monday night slot.
On February 10, defending Super League champions St Helens host Catalans Dragons in the top-flight’s curtain-raiser live on Sky Sports.
Saints beat the French club in last season’s Grand Final and are favourites with the bookies to retain their crown and win an unprecedented fourth successive Super League title.
Kristian Woolf’s men are 2/1 with Super League title sponsors Betfred to clinch victory at Old Trafford in the annual end-of-season title decider.
Ambitious Warrington Wolves are second favourites to win the competition at 4/1 with William Hill as the Daryl Powell era gets underway.
Bookies have also drawn up their list of favourites to be Super League’s top try-scorer in 2022, and there are some interesting names to take a punt on.
Bevan French is 10/1 favourite with Betfred and, while his talent is not in doubt, it remains to be seen when he will return from Australia.
The expansively-talented full-back or half-back has been in his homeland to be with his mother, who recently passed away after an illness.
“The last time I spoke to him was immediately after his mum passed,” head coach Matty Peet said last week.
“We were very open with it and I said I’d contact him next week.
“From there I’d imagine we’ll start talking about when he’s set to come back once the funeral and matters conclude.
“I know he’s keen to come back but we’ve given him some space this week.”
With that uncertainty surrounding French, there is better value to be found lower down the bookies’ list.
Catalans’ England winger Tom Davies enjoyed an outstanding 2021 campaign.
He forged a fine partnership with Dean Whare on the Dragons’ right edge and touched down 15 times in Super League.
Only two players – Ken Sio of Salford Red Devils with 18 and Ryan Hall of Hull Kingston Rovers with 16 – scored more.
Davies is entering his prime years and is absolutely outstanding value at 20/1 with Betfred to be the top scorer in Super League this season.
Betfred are offering the same price for Davies’ opposite number Fouad Yaha, who dotted down 14 times last season on the French club’s left flank.
Toulouse 4/5 with Betfred to be relegated on their Super League debut
French club Toulouse Olympique were already rated as favourites for the drop before they suffered a major blow last week.
News emerged that Mark Kheirallah is set to leave the club while four other players could also leave due to a disagreement over Covid vaccinations.
Kheirallah, Toulouse’s star player for the best part of a decade, has had a fall-out with the club following a dispute and seems certain to depart.
And four other players could all follow the full-back out of the exit door due to their reluctance to get vaccinated.
Toulouse have scarcely strengthened their squad since being promoted to Super League following their win over Featherstone Rovers in last season’s Million Pound Game.
Thus it comes as no surprise to see them as overwhelming favourites with the bookies for the drop heading into their debut campaign in the top flight.
The best odds are available with Super League’s title sponsors Betfred who have Sylvain Houles’ side at 4/5 to finish in the solitary relegation spot at the bottom of the table.
Right now, it is hard to see beyond Toulouse as the team to finish bottom.
The smart money is on them to pick up the wooden spoon and return from whence they came.
Featherstone 2/9 with William Hill to open campaign with win
Leeds Rhinos legend Jamie Peacock believes several Super League clubs have “missed a trick” by not appointing Brian McDermott as their new head coach.
McDermott remains the most successful coach in Super League history after guiding Leeds Rhinos to four Grand Final wins, two Challenge Cups, a League Leaders Shield and a World Club Challenge.
After leaving Toronto Wolfpack following their financial meltdown and subsequent demise, McDermott had a short stint at Oldham Roughyeds at the end of last season.
He was then appointed as James Webster’s successor as head coach of ambitious Championship outfit Featherstone Rovers and Peacock backed McDermott to take the club into the promised land this year.
“Super League sides who have been looking for coaches have missed a trick by not having Mac in there.
“Having spoken to him about his time at Featherstone, he’s loving being there.
“I think he’s got a great squad and Mac is just proven at creating an environment which gets the best out of people.
“Yes, he can rub people up the wrong way and yes, he can be abrasive.
“But he’s the best at getting the best out of people.”
McDermott’s Featherstone side are expected to battle it out with Leigh Centurions for the right to be promoted in 2022.
Peacock, who played in the pack alongside McDermott at Bradford Bulls and then under him at Leeds, feels his former boss will take Rovers all the way this season.
He added: “Having Brian there, and looking at the quality within the Featherstone squad, they’re the favourites to come up this season for me.”