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Rugby League: All out excitement expected in 2022

The new Super League campaign gets underway next month and clubs are fine-tuning their preparations for the new campaign with just a handful of pre-season fixtures still to come.

St Helens will be chasing their fourth successive Grand Final crown, while Kristian Woolf's men will also look to win the Challenge Cup for a second consecutive campaign.

There will be two French teams in the English top-flight for the first time ever as Toulouse join Catalans Dragons in Super League, while there is also a significant off-field change with Channel 4 signed on to show 10 games throughout the season.

That is not all in 2022. The NRL campaign will no doubt be as dramatic as ever, and there's the small matter of the Rugby League World Cup, which will be hosted in England.

History in Saints' sights

If three consecutive titles was not enough, then St Helens have the chance to make history this season under Woolf.

No team has ever won four Grand Finals on the bounce, and their recent signings suggest they want to stay on top of the pile for years to come.

Will Hopoate, Curtis Sironen and Joey Lussick have all left the NRL to join the Saints camp while they have also snatched Konrad Hurrell from domestic rivals Leeds Rhinos.

Saints, 15/8 to win the Grand Final, have lost Lachlan Coote, James Bentley, Theo Fages and Kevin Naiqama over the off-season, but it will take a special effort to remove them from their throne.

The question is, who can stop the champions?

Catalans Dragons are likely to be their biggest rivals after topping the regular-season table in 2021 under coach Steve McNamara.

Three NRL recruits of their own may change the dynamics in the squad, while local rivals Wigan Warriors face an uncertain future as coach Matt Peet takes charge for the first time.

Richard Agar's Leeds Rhinos, 15/2 to win the Grand Final, have recruited well in the last few months.

ClubNumber of Super League titlesWinning Years
St Helens9

1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2014, 2019, 2020, 2021

Leeds Rhinos8

2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017

Wigan Warriors5

1998, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2018

Bradford Bulls4

1997, 2001, 2003, 2005

Bentley left Saints for Headingley, while Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer will be the club's new halfback pairing.

Winger David Fusitu'a should provide fireworks from the touchline, but Leeds' biggest issue remains consistency.

Warrington Wolves, now under the guidance of Daryl Powell, will look to win their maiden Grand Final, while Hull FC and Huddersfield Giants will aim to improve on disappointing campaigns last time out.

The 2022 Super League campaign will get underway on 10th February as Catalans, and St Helens go head-to-head.

Fans can look forward to 27 rounds before the Grand Final takes place on 24th September.

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World Cup will be worth the wait

The Rugby League World Cup is the pinnacle of international rugby league.

Defending champions Australia won the title on home soil in 2017 and they will be searching for their 12th title this year.

CountryNumber of World Cup titles Winning Years

1957, 1968, 1970, 1975, 1977, 1988, 1992, 1995, 2000, 2013, 2017

New Zealand3

1954, 1960, 1972

Great Britain1


England last held the tournament in 2013, suffered an agonising last-gasp semi-final defeat to New Zealand, who went on to lose 34-2 to Australia in the final.

Shaun Wane's appointment in 2020 was an exciting step for the international game and the former Wigan coach will be hoping to get his hands on the trophy, with England 6/1 to succeed this winter.

Can anyone stop Penrith?

The NRL season starts on the 10th March and the 2022 campaign could be monumental for the likes of Brisbane Broncos, North Queensland Cowboys and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, who all won less than eight games in 2021.

Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers finished joint top at the opposite end of the table, with the latter eventually winning their third title.

Brisbane have wasted no time in trying to improve their squad by making six new signings, while the Bulldogs have picked up eight new players since October.

The NRL has consistently delivered high octane action over the years, and 2022 should be no different, with both the 9/2 Panthers and 9/2 Storm eyeing the Grand Final.

That's not all!

Rugby League could put itself back on the map in 2022 with reserve grade rugby returning for the first time in two years, in a move that should develop the stars of tomorrow.

The Challenge Cup final will head to a new venue, with Tottenham's new home hosting the final this summer.

The RFL appear to be doing all they can to promote the game; it is now down to the players to do what they always do. Put their bodies on the line week in week out, and may the best team win.

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