Warrington 4/1 with William Hill to land the Holy Grail
Warrington Wolves supporters do a good line in self-depreciation and the song used by rival fans to mock their lack of title success – ‘Just like the last one, it’s always your year’ – has been reappropriated by followers of the Wire.
For a number of years now, Wolves fans have been singing ‘Just like the last one, it’s always our year’.
That is all well and good, but there is too much energy and too much drive for this to continue indefinitely.
A club who were last crowned champions in 1955 needs to finally end their long drought and win a maiden Super League title. Nothing less will do.
Warrington have reached four Grand Finals since 2012. Warrington have lost four Grand Finals since 2012.
Ambition pulses loudly around the club ahead of the new season, though.
Desire is both visible and audible in the club’s ownership, management, playing staff and fanbase.
Warrington have a new head coach in Daryl Powell, who performed a fine job at Castleford Tigers during the past eight and a half years.
He guided them to three major finals, including last season’s Challenge Cup final, but they lost them all.
Now he has been tasked with taking Warrington all the way by winning their first Super League title.
In George Williams and Gareth Widdop, Powell has two England internationals at six and seven – potentially the most dangerous half-back partnership in the competition.
Williams showed flashes of his undoubted class after returning to Super League midway through last season.
The former Wigan Warriors man and his partner, who was pregnant at the time, had become homesick in Australia and so he was released from Canberra Raiders.
Powell has overseen recruitment for this season and signed three players who played under him at Castleford in Greg Minikin, Oliver Holmes and Peter Matu’utia.
Joe Bullock, James Harrison and Billy Magoulias have also arrived but will it be enough to guide the Wire to that elusive title glory?
Intriguingly, a number of bookies have Powell’s side as second favourites to win the Grand Final this year.
St Helens are favourites and William Hill, Betfred, and BetVictor all have them as 2/1 to defend their crown and claim an unprecedented fourth successive title.
William Hill have Warrington at 4/1 to prevail at Old Trafford, while Super League title sponsors Betfred have priced them at 7/2.
Catalans Dragons are slightly longer odds to go all the way and you can get a tempting 6/1 with BetVictor on Steve McNamara’s side.
Wigan Warriors are embarking on a new era under rookie head coach Matty Peet but bookies rate them as fourth favourites to win the title.
Leeds Rhinos are the real outsiders this year and you can get 8/1 with Coral, Betfred, and Ladbrokes on them clinching a ninth Grand Final victory this year.
Betfred make Leeds Rhinos 2/5 to make the top six
There is not huge value in betting on a team to finish in the top six of Super League at the end of the regular season.
Certainly not for a side like defending champions St Helens, who are 1/20 Super League title sponsors Betfred to make the top six.
For a side who have won the past three Super League titles and finished top a record nine times, it is tempting to stick a few quid on Saints to make the top six.
If only because they are such a certainty to do so.
But there is greater value to be had lower down the bookies’ odds listing.
Wigan Warriors, who finished fourth last season despite a year of inconsistency, should make the top six this season.
They are 2/7 with Betfred to achieve that placing and anything less would represent a massive failure for one of the game’s biggest clubs.
Betfred make Leeds Rhinos 2/5 to make the top six and again that appears a fairly safe bet.
Richard Agar’s men finished fifth last season and appear significantly stronger this year following the acquisition of James Bentley, David Fusitu’a, Aidan Sezer and Blake Austin.
Indeed, the Rhinos could be a team to watch this season.
Champions Saints hit by Grace injury setback
St Helens will have to shuffle their anticipated back line for the start of Super League after Welsh flier Regan Grace was ruled out for a month.
Coach Kristian Woolf revealed Grace has suffered a knock on the elbow in pre-season training which subsequently affected his bicep tendon.
Grace is rated at 11/1 with Betfred to finish the regular Super League season as top try-scorer.
Woolf has a number of options that he could run the rule over in Friday’s testimonial game against Leigh.
But when Super League starts on 10 February he could switch Will Hopoate or Jack Welsby to the flank and bring in Konrad Hurrell at centre.
However, with Welsby taking Lachlan Coote’s number one shirt this year, Woolf may want him to get bedded into that key role early.
Woolf explained: “Regan’s injury is something we have had to intervene with and he is going to miss a little bit of footy – the first month.
“That is a bit of a knock for us and really unfortunate.
“In the big scheme of things he will have plenty of footy to play when he gets back.
“It is a great opportunity for some other blokes.
“It is a big part of being able to have success in long seasons – you will always have your setbacks and injuries are a big part of our game and part of the challenge.
“To adjust and figure out how you are going to move when you have those changes is what is important through a pre-season, as well as the other things you want out of a pre-season.
“We get to have a look at that and give your guys like Josh Simm, Ben Davies and Jon Bennison a bit more opportunity and that is what a pre-season game is about.”