Five things we learned: NSW tour’s exposure, Warrington confidence, Widnes on the up

Drew Darbyshire

The second round of the new Betfred Super League season is now over and there are lots of things to reflect on. 

The New South Wales tour will benefit Wigan and Hull FC massively

When the news first broke that Wigan Warriors and Hull FC were going to make history in playing the first ever Super League game outside of Europe, it caused a lot of divided opinions from supporters. But on Saturday, we saw the two clubs play in front of 12,416 spectators at the WIN Stadium in Wollongong. It’s great exposure for the clubs and also for the Super League competition. It was an entertaining game and it is believed that Wigan and Hull will take home around £500k each. Fair play to them, that is what you call innovation.

Widnes are back on the rise

Denis Betts’ Widnes Vikings may have lost to Castleford Tigers on Sunday but it was only 13-12 and for periods in the game, Widnes were the better side. They thrashed Catalans Dragons in round one and just fell short to the 2017 League Leaders’ Shield winners on Sunday. They finished bottom of the table after the regular campaign last term but it doesn’t look like they will this time. Also, let’s give credit to the club on their Academy system. Five of Widnes’ starting 13 against Castleford came through their youth ranks and another five have played in all seven seasons since the club returned to Super League.

Warrington are lacking confidence

Steve Price’s Warrington Wolves fell short to Leeds Rhinos in the opening game of the season and lost 20-6 to Huddersfield Giants on Thursday night. The club finished in the Qualifiers last year and they are probably still lacking in confidence from last season a little bit. They, obviously, still need to adjust to life under Price plus there are a number of new faces in the squad which will take time for them to gel. The Wolves have certainly got enough talent in their squad to be a top four side though and Price says he has the confidence in the playing group. Their derby clash with Widnes next week is massive.

Is it the same old story for Catalans?

Catalans Dragons were heavily beaten in round one at Widnes and in round two, they put up a good fight against the in-form St Helens at home. Yes, they may not have won this weekend, but their performance was good rather than poor like the week before. Is it the same old story of them being poor when they are in the UK and then having the Stade Gilbert Brutus in Perpignan as a fortress? Let’s hope it is not the case because there are a number of world class individuals in Steve McNamara’s squad.


The bottom end of the table is more competitive than ever before

Results this weekend just show that the bottom end of the Super League ladder is highly competitive this year. Hull Kingston Rovers only just lost at Leeds, Widnes only lost at Castleford by a point, Catalans were only just beaten by favourites St Helens and Warrington lost to Huddersfield, with many people tipping the Giants to finish in the bottom this year whereas some thought Warrington could challenge for trophies. It’s safe to say that we are in for a treat in Super League this season.

What did you learn from this weekend? Let us know in the comments below.