Following the official Super League Dream Team announcement, Love Rugby League takes a look at an alternative selection from the best players in the competition.
Leigh Leopards and Wigan Warriors dominated the official XIII, accounting for eight of the selected players.
Star man and Challenge Cup hero Lachlan Lam was named in the halves, with team-mates Josh Charnley, Edwin Ipape, Tom Amone and captain John Asiata also included.
League Leaders’ Shield winners Wigan were represented by Bevan French, Jake Wardle and Liam Farrell.
The 2023 Super League Dream Team: Jack Welsby, Josh Charnley, Jake Wardle, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Tom Johnstone, Bevan French, Lachlan Lam, Paul Vaughan, Edwin Ipape, Tom Amone, Kallum Watkins, Liam Farrell, John Asiata.
Alternate Super League Dream Team
The 31-year-old was given shirt number 17 for his debut season at the Leigh Sports Village but has made the full-back role his own, despite previously playing in the halves. It was a tough decision between the former Hull KR man and Wigan’s Jai Field, but O’Brien just got the nod due to featuring in more games.
The Lebanon international has enjoyed a quick rise with Wigan Warriors following a stelar campaign in the first team, having made just nine appearances in his debut year last season.
Miski finished the regular campaign as joint-top try-scorer with 27 alongside Catalans star Tom Johnstone.
Since being handed his first chance of the year in Round Seven against Leigh, the 28-year-old hasn’t missed a game and has impressed under Matt Peet. He has also made 2,805 metres from 339 carries, averaging 133 per game and an average of 8.27 per carry.
Adam Keighran has been one of the signings of the season in Super League with a huge impact at Catalans Dragons. The Australian utility, who has played both in the halves and at centre, has scored 12 tries in 24 appearances, as well as having a huge campaign from the boot, kicking 68 goals.
With 10 try assists also to his name, the Wigan-bound Australian broke a club record for Catalans with the most points in a single match during the 61-0 win over Leeds with 30.
Zak Hardaker has had a hugely influential role at Leigh during his debut campaign, including their first play-off finish and Challenge Cup glory. The 2015 Man of Steel winner has been a leader under Adrian Lam and never shies away.
There’s a case to be had for Tommy Makinson to be named in the Super League Dream Team every year. The 31-year-old has achieved the feat three times previously, and would have been well deserved of another with 22 tries in 21 appearances, alongside 27 clean breaks and 51 tackle busts.
Tyrone May has arguable gone under the radar in a successful season for Catalans. The Hull KR-bound playmaker has produced the third-most assists with 23 as the Dragons secured second spot and a home play-off.
Taking on the number seven shirt ahead of the 2023 campaign, Harry Smith has certainly delivered. A League Leaders’ Shield-winning half-back, he has been ever-present for the Warriors this year, with four tries and 22 assists.
Robbie Mulhern has undoubtedly enjoyed his finest season to date and has been one the stand-out front-rowers in the competition. The Ireland international has earned heaps of praise from pundits across the game, including Kyle Amor and Barrie McDermott.
GOAT. A special mention to James Roby, who is another who could arguably be named in every Super League Dream Team in recent years. The 37-year-old will hang up the boots at the end of the season with records that may never be broken again, including all-time appearances for St Helens and Super League.
The Ireland international powerhouse runs hard, tackles hard and gives absolutely everything with every minute he’s on the field. He has missed just two Super League games all season with 25 appearances.
The Catalans back-rower was possibly the unluckiest player not to make this year’s official Dream Team. 2023 will mark the end of a five-year stint in France, expected to continue his career with St Helens, but has certainly ended his time with the Dragons on a high. Former England skipper Sam Tomkins admitted he ‘mithers Shaun Wane to death’ about an international call-up for the Knights representative.
Scotland international James Bell has had some big carries in a standout year at St Helens in the first team. The forward made 17 appearances in his debut year but has enjoyed 29 in 2023, including four tries. His defensive efforts are also a highlight of his game, punching well above his weight.
A major part of Hull KR’s recent success, Eliot Minchella was also voted the club’s Player of the Season at their end-of-year presentation. He has had a huge influence at the Robins, with calls for England honours.