Jon Wells’ Super League Big Changes Tour – St Helens, Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors | Rugby League News

Kristian Woolf and St Helens aim for fourth straight Super League title in 2022

Sky Sports rugby league expert Jon Wells concludes his Big Changes tour with a glimpse of three of the teams set to fight for the Super League title in 2022 …

We completed yesterday’s Big Changes Tour stage at AJ Bell Stadium as we enforced the Salford Red Devils’ whereabouts rule ahead of the 2022 season.

We’ve seen some major upheaval across the Super League, so we’ll make an effort to go to the Champions’ home first to explain once again why I think there has been so much movement this offseason.

At McManus Drive then, and the Home of the History Makers. Saint Helena participated in their 13th Grand Final in October, a record for any club in the Super League, winning it for the eighth time and for the third year in a row.

The ‘three peat’ has only been done once before, and ironically at the expense of the Saints, by the Leeds Rhinos in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The dominance of the Rhinos in the late 2000s brought about a change. radical in relation to St Helens. and the Wigan Warriors at the time; the Grand Final trophy was only held by these three clubs over the next 12 years.

But, with the emergence of the Catalan Dragons as a real and enduring threat to this monopolization and with St Helens’ recent grip on this trophy, the rest of the league were shocked and moved into action.

But before we visit two teams that have real title claims, let’s take a peek into the dressing rooms at Totally Wicked Stadium and see what happens. Mike Rush is a savvy CEO, and he understands the sporting maxim that if you try to stay the same you tend to go backwards.

Highlights from this year's Super League Grand Final between Catalan Dragons and St Helens.

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Highlights from this year’s Super League Grand Final between Catalan Dragons and St Helens.

Highlights from this year’s Super League Grand Final between Catalan Dragons and St Helens.

They’ve tackled a number of important starts without more than a shrug; Lachlan Coote and Theo Fages shaped holes are respectively plugged by prodigies Jack Welsby and Lewis Dodd, while the retirement of Harry Sunderland Trophy winner Kevin Naiqama is offset by the arrival of Will Hopoate, with Konrad Hurrell thrown in there, you know, because they can.

James Bell and Curtis Sironen replace Joel Thompson and James Bentley, then with a final touch from Eamon McManus’ checkbook, Joey Lussick joins Parramatta Eels to support Super League Peter Pan, James Roby.

Like I said earlier this week, St Helens is building a dynasty here and they pose a serious question to the rest of the league in the process: who is going to challenge us?

We don’t have to travel far for our first show, although we will be traveling east rather than Billinge Hill for now. Yes, our penultimate stop is the town of Warrington in Cheshire, where a club and a coach are starting a love affair that has got a lot of people excited.

Daryl Powell is now in command of Warrington

Daryl Powell is now in command of Warrington

Longtime Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell and Wolves of Warrington apparently found their perfect matches in each other; a coach and a club with complementary levels of ambition and resources.

Wolves believe they have the man who will raise Wolves from almost men – speaking in a Super League context – to Grand Final winners, while Powell now has a big checkbook and an enviable list for himself. adapt to his style of play.

This, one would think, is made easier given that two key signings come from the club he just left, and who knows exactly how Powell works, in Oliver Holmes and Peter Mata’utia.

Wolves need to add a level of consistency to the quality of performance they are clearly capable of delivering. They arguably have the top two halves of the Super League with George Williams and Gareth Widdop, who will have a full preseason exposed to the meticulous attention to detail demanded by Powell – it’s a frightening prospect for any opposition. Have no doubt, the big change here is Daryl Powell, everything else is just a facade.

Gareth Widdop and George Williams make exciting Warrington running back duo

Gareth Widdop and George Williams make exciting Warrington running back duo

The only potential issue for Wolves is the timing and severity of injuries subsequently sustained by two other rookies, Greg Minikin and James Harrison (both ACL). It won’t help Wolves in what is undoubtedly a team sport these days.

Will it be the year of Warrington? We can assess their chances by fastening our seat belts and typing “Loire Drive” into our GPS, as our final destination on the Big Changes Tour is perhaps the most interesting of all.

Warriors of Wigan had a scorching 2021 season. It might seem tough, considering they finished fourth and reached the semi-final. But it was the way the 2021 version of the Warriors played that disappointed everyone, especially themselves – and anyway, when did he finish fourth and make the semi-final still good enough for Wigan?

They have scored fewer points than any other Super League team bar relegated Leigh Centurions despite having played more games than any other Super League team in a 2021 impacted by Covid.

Wigan had a disappointing end to the 2021 season

Wigan had a disappointing end to the 2021 season

They have been eliminated three times, twice at home, and failed to score a home try on another occasion when they were beaten 26-2 by rivals St Helens. It’s really damaging for a brand like the Warriors, where the standards and expectations are so high.

So it’s not at all surprising that Cherry and Whites have taken action. They were still going to lose Jackson Hastings at the end of the season, but the team’s balance and planning – certainly from the outside looking inward and working up to the arrival of Jai Field at the start. from last season – didn’t seem to have a real focus other than “we can sign X good player, so let’s sign X good player”.

How else did you end up with Jai Field, Jackson Hastings, Bevan French, Zak Hardaker, Thomas Leuluai and Harry Smith vying for three positions? Adrian Lam ended up with the prospect of putting square pegs in round holes in my opinion; for example, Zak Hardaker played in crosses not because his best position was in the middle, but because he couldn’t be accommodated at the back due to Bevan French’s ability in that position.

The total sum is as follows; Jackson Hastings is gone and Cade Cust joins the Manly Sea Eagles. While I’m not sure this is an upgrade, Wigan fans will be happy if it ends up being comparable.

Matty Peet has been promoted to head coach of Wigan

Matty Peet has been promoted to head coach of Wigan

Patrick Mago replaces Joe Bullock, Kade Ellis is there as Tony Clubb retires, Iain Thornley returns to Wigan as Oliver Gildart falls apart and there are some really interesting moments with the Warriors renewing their interest in the first team of the London Broncos – Abbas Miski – and their academy, while Ramon Silva follows the path north most recently taken by Kai Pearce-Paul. If Silva turns out to have the same development possibilities as KPP, it will look like a masterstroke.

Big changes. But none of those signings come in the same way as the news of Shaun Wane’s return to the club as chief executive and manager and the much-loved Matty Peet being installed as the new head coach.

Huge changes – and while change brings opportunities, it can also harbor uncertainty. Wigan, like everyone who struggles to get along with St Helens, hopes to maximize the former and tone down the latter.

There you go, our Big Changes Tour is coming to an end. All of these changes certainly paint a rather intriguing picture of what lies ahead for all of us in 2022 and the Air sports cameras will be there throughout to see who, if any, can snatch that crown in St Helens.

Have a good trip and see you on the opening night of the first round.

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