How different your Super League team will look in 2024 compared to 2023

Ben Olawumi

The start of the new Super League season is just 10 days away, but how different could each team’s line-up in Round 1 be compared to this time last year?

Below, we’ve taken a look at each club’s line-up in their first competitive game of 2023, and compared that to what we expect would be their ideal starting 13 come Round 1 this term.

Of course, most club’s first game in 2023 came in Round 1 of Super League, but due to St Helens’ involvement in the World Club Challenge against Penrith Panthers, their scheduled clash with Huddersfield Giants was postponed.

Accordingly, we’ve taken Saints’ World Club Challenge line-up, and for the Giants, we’ve used their first 13 from 2023 which came in Round 2 against Warrington.

Notably, the ‘predicted’ 2024 Round 1 line-up for each club is primarily based off the squad numbers handed out, unless there’s a glaring omission from the starting 13 due to the numbers – Tom Johnstone the prime example at Catalans.

Johnstone – who wears #24 – finished as last season’s joint-top try-scorer in Super League, so there’s no way we weren’t going to include him, and we’re pretty confident Dragons boss Steve McNamara will feel the same.

It’s also worth noting that for the sake of transparency, we’ve not taken players out of the ‘predicted’ 2024 Round 1 line-ups through injury unless it’s been confirmed they’re a long-term absentee, like London Broncos duo Bill Leyland & Josh Rourke.

Accordingly, we guess those ‘predicted’ Round 1 line-ups are more like ‘ideal’ line-ups to a point, but the point of examination is still more than valid – How different might each team’s line-up compared to this time last year?

How different your Super League team will look in 2024 compared to 2023

For reference, there have – t0 date – been 93 signings made by Super League clubs ahead of the new season, that including Castleford’s capture of Dan Hindmarsh from Down Under, announced this evening.

Earlier today, Love Rugby League also exclusively revealed that Lee Kershaw is set to sign a permanent deal with London following a successful trial, so that will take the tally up to 94 when it’s officially announced.

As we look through each of the 12 Super League teams and compare their line-ups from last year to this below, we’ve bolded the names of players who either were selected in 2023 and we don’t think they will be in 2024, or vice versa.

Castleford Tigers

2023 (v Hull FC – A): Niall Evalds, Bureta Faraimo, Jordan Turner, Mahe Fonua, Jake Mamo, Gareth Widdop, Jacob Miller, Liam Watts, Paul McShane, Nathan Massey, Kenny Edwards, Alex Mellor, Joe Westerman

2024 (v Wigan – H): Luke Hooley, Josh Simm, Jack Broadbent, Sam Wood, Innes Senior, Danny Richardson, Jacob Miller, Liam Watts, Paul McShane, George Lawler, Elie El-Zakhem, Alex Mellor, Joe Westerman

Craig Lingard Castleford Tigers Alamy
Castleford Tigers head coach Craig Lingard – Alamy

Castleford have actually been the busiest of the top flight clubs in terms of recruitment, and it shows in their heavily-changed team.

If our team selection for the Tigers in 2024 is correct, it’d mean just five of the 13 who started the Tigers’ Round 1 defeat at Hull last year would be chosen come Round 1 this year when they host the reigning Super League champions Wigan.

Among those drafted into the 13 are new recruits Luke Hooley, Josh Simm, Innes Senior and Elie El-Zakhem, a distinctly more youthful side on the whole with he likes of Kenny Edwards, Jordan Turner & Gareth Widdop all having departed this off-season.

Catalans Dragons

2023 (v Wakefield Trinity – A): Arthur Mourgue, Tom Johnstone, Matthieu Laguerre, Matt Whitley, Tom Davies, Cesar Rouge, Adam Keighran, Romain Navarette, Micky McIlorum, Julian Bousquet, Paul Seguier, Manu Ma’u, Ben Garcia

2024 (v Warrington – H): Arthur Mourgue, Tom Davies, Arthur Romano, Matthieu Laguerre, Tom Johnstone, Jayden Nikorima, Theo Fages, Mike McMeeken, Micky McIlorum, Julian Bousquet, Tariq Sims, Paul Seguier, Ben Garcia

Steve McNamara Catalans Dragons Alamy
Catalans Dragons head coach Steve McNamara – Alamy

Three of the five Catalans changes as above come from the addition of new signing, with NRL recruits Jayden Nikorima & Tariq Sims expected to slot straight in alongside Theo Fages, who has returned to Perpignan from Huddersfield.

Elsewhere, Mike McMeeken didn’t feature from the off in Round 1 last year, and nor did Arthur Romano with the Dragons beginning their march to Old Trafford with a victory at Wakefield.

Later this month when Warrington visit the Stade Gilbert Brutus for the opening game of the 2024 season, there’ll be no Matt Whitley or Adam Keighran after the duo departed for St Helens and Wigan respectively.

Huddersfield Giants

2023 (R2 v Warrington – H): Tui Lolohea, Jermaine McGillvary, Kevin Naiqama, Esan Marsters, Leroy Cudjoe, Will Pryce, Theo Fages, Chris Hill, Nathan Peats, Olly Wilson, Josh Jones, Chris McQueen, Luke Yates

2024 (v Leigh – A): Jake Connor, Adam Swift, Esan Marsters, Kevin Naiqama, Jake Bibby, Tui Lolohea, Adam Clune, Chris Hill, Adam Milner, Joe Greenwood, Jack Murchie, Sam Hewitt, Luke Yates

Elliot Wallis, Huddersfield Giants badge
Huddersfield Giants’ new signing Elliot Wallis – Alamy

There are potentially eight changes to the Giants‘ starting 13 compared to this time last year, with both wing spots changing hands.

Jermaine McGillvary’s unsavoury departure and Adam Swift’s arrival from Hull account for the switch on one of those wings, with NRL recruits Adam Clune & Jack Murchie also likely to be in from the off.

Elsewhere, Jake Connor should start at full-back when Ian Watson’s side head to Leigh, and he missed last year’s Round 1 clash with Warrington through injury.

Hull FC

2023 (v Castleford – H): Tex Hoy, Adam Swift, Liam Sutcliffe, Cameron Scott, Darnell McIntosh, Jake Clifford, Ben McNamara, Scott Taylor, Brad Dwyer, Chris Satae, Josh Griffin, Jordan Lane, Brad Fash

2024 (v Hull KR – H): Tex Hoy, Liam Tindall, Carlos Tuimavave, Liam Sutcliffe, Darnell McIntosh, Jake Trueman, Fa’amanu Brown, Herman Ese’ese, Danny Houghton, Franklin Pele, Jayden Okunbor, Ligi Sao, Brad Fash

Danny Houghton Hull FC Alamy
Hull FC captain Danny Houghton – Alamy

Remarkably, there could be even more change in the Black & Whites camp, with nine players different when you compare the two line-ups above.

If we’re correct in our predictions, only Tex Hoy, Liam Sutcliffe, Darnell McIntosh & Brad Fash will have started FC‘s 2023 & 2024 Round 1 games, and even that won’t happen because Sutcliffe is injured.

In terms of those likely to start in the opening game of the 2024 Super League campaign against rivals Hull KR, Fa’amanu Brown, Herman Ese’ese, Franklin Pele & Jayden Okunbor are the new recruits. All four of those came from Down Under.

Hull KR

2023 (v Wigan – H): Lachlan Coote, Ethan Ryan, Tom Opacic, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Ryan Hall, Mikey Lewis, Jordan Abdull, Jesse Sue, Matt Parcell, Rhys Kennedy, James Batchelor, Kane Linnett, Elliot Minchella

2024 (v Hull FC – A): Peta Hiku, Niall Evalds, Tom Opacic, Oliver Gildart, Ryan Hall, Tyrone May, Mikey Lewis, Jesse Sue, Jez Litten, George King, Dean Hadley, James Batchelor, Elliot Minchella

Hull KR coach Willie Peters Alamy
Hull KR head coach Willie Peters – Alamy

In the east side of the city at KR, there’s fewer changes, but a tally of seven still includes a quartet of new arrivals. Niall Evalds, Tyrone May & Oliver Gildart all came from fellow Super League clubs, but Peta Hiku is an NRL recruit.

Gildart is – at least on paper – Willie Peters’ replacement for ex-captain Shaun Kenny-Dowall, who remains with the club as a coach but will be a presence sorely missed on the field having been at Craven Park since 2020.

Jordan Abdull was a starting half-back in Round 1 last year, but is now at Catalans having made an off-season loan move, so we’re likely to see May start at 6 alongside homegrown hero Mikey Lewis.

Leeds Rhinos

2023 (vs Warrington – A): Richie Myler, Luis Roberts, David Fusitu’a, Ash Handley, Derrell Olpherts, Aidan Sezer, Blake Austin, Tom Holroyd, Kruise Leeming, Sam Lisone, Morgan Gannon, Rhyse Martin, Zane Tetevano

2024 (v Salford – H): Lachlan Miller, David Fusitu’a, Harry Newman, Paul Momirovski, Ash Handley, Brodie Croft, Matt Frawley, Mikolaj Oledzki, Andy Ackers, Tom Holroyd, James Bentley, Rhyse Martin, Cameron Smith

Brodie Croft and Andy Ackers Leeds Rhinos
Leeds Rhinos have signed Brodie Croft and Andy Ackers ahead of 2024

There’s been another high turnover at Headingley, with nine potential changes for the Rhinos based on the two 13’s listed above. Now captain of the club, loose forward Cameron Smith has enjoyed a meteoric rise having not even made the cut as a starter this time last year.

Andy Ackers & Brodie Croft will surely start after their off-season moves from Salford, and so too the NRL trio of Lachlan Miller, Paul Momirovski & Matt Frawley.

Among those no longer with the club from when they were thumped in Round 1 at Warrington last year are Kruise Leeming (Wigan), Richie Myler (York) & Blake Austin (The Entrance Tigers).

Leigh Leopards

2023 (v Salford – H): Zak Hardaker, Josh Charnley, Ed Chamberlain, Ricky Leutele, Tom Briscoe, Gareth O’Brien, Lachlan Lam, Tom Amone, Matt Davis, Robbie Mulhern, Joe Wardle, Oliver Holmes, John Asiata

2024: Gareth O’Brien, Tom Briscoe, Zak Hardaker, Ricky Leutele, Josh Charnley, Matt Moylan, Lachlan Lam, Tom Amone, Edwin Ipape, Robbie Mulhern, Kai O’Donnell, Jack Hughes, John Asiata

Matt Moylan Leigh Leopards
Matt Moylan – Photo courtesy of Leigh Leopards

The smallest figure on this list so far, there could be just four changes to Leigh‘s 13 from when they were beaten by Salford this time last year.

Of the four who we don’t expect to keep their place from 2023’s Round 1, only one isn’t actually with the Leopards anymore, that being Joe Wardle who’s now with ambitious League 1 outfit Oldham.

That said, only one of the four coming into the 13 is a new arrival, with Matt Moylan a clear headline signing at the Leigh Sports Village ahead of 2024. Edwin Ipape notably didn’t start against Salford last year, but the Papua New Guinea star surely will be in at 9 from the off this term.

London Broncos

2023 (v Batley Bulldogs – H): Alex Walker, Paul Ulberg, Jarred Bassett, Dalton Grant, Iliess Macani, Oli Leyland, Rian Horsman, Lewis Bienek, Sam Davis, Jordan Williams, Will Lovell, Ethan Natoli, Dean Parata

2024 (v St Helens – A): Alex Walker, Lee Kershaw, Jarred Bassett, Hakim Miloudi, Iliess Macani, Jack Campagnolo, James Meadows, Rob Butler, Sam Davis, Lewis Bienek, Will Lovell, Ethan Natoli, Dean Parata

Lee Kershaw warms up ahead of London Broncos’ pre-season game against Castleford Tigers – Alamy

London‘s 2023 Championship season started with a defeat at home against Batley, and that performance was a far cry from their late run of form which saw them get into the play-offs, eventually earning promotion back to the top flight.

There’s just five changes to the 13 from that opening game defeat to Batley last year after promotion, with Oli Leyland not tipped to start in Super League based on the squad numbers allotted in the capital.

We have included Lee Kershaw in this despite his signature not being officially announced yet, with all four of the other  additions to the Broncos’ 13 from this time last year being new recruits, that tally including Italy international Jack Campagnolo.

Salford Red Devils

2023 (v Leigh – A): Ryan Brierley, Ken Sio, Deon Cross, Tim Lafai, Rhys Williams, Brodie Croft, Marc Sneyd, Tyler Dupree, Andy Ackers, King Vuniyayawa, Kallum Watkins, Sam Stone, Ollie Partington

2024 (v Leeds – A): Ryan Brierley, Ethan Ryan, Nene Macdonald, Tim Lafai, Deon Cross, Cade Cust, Marc Sneyd, Brad Singleton, Amir Bourouh, King Vuniyayawa, Sam Stone, Kallum Watkins, Ollie Partington

Paul Rowley Salford Red Devils Alamy
Salford Red Devils head coach Paul Rowley – Alamy

Salford have only handed out 24 squad numbers ahead of the new campaign, which might be why we’re only seeing five changes to their 13.

The five positions we expect to see changes in from this time last year have all been enforced through players departing the club, including star winger Ken Sio, who signed a new deal before being allowed to leave the club and return home on compassionate grounds.

In the same breath, three of the five we expect to come in to take their places are all new recruits made this off-season, with the only exclusions being Amir Bourouh & Brad Singleton. The latter joined Paul Rowley‘s side midway through last season from Wigan as Tyler Dupree headed the other way.

St Helens

2023 (WCC v Penrith Panthers – A): Jack Welsby, Tommy Makinson, Konrad Hurrell, Mark Percival, Will Hopoate, Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Matty Lees, Sione Mata’utia, Curtis Sironen, Morgan Knowles

2024 (v London – H): Jack Welsby, Tommy Makinson, Waqa Blake, Mark Percival, Jon Bennison, Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd, Alex Walmsley, Daryl Clark, Matty Lees, Sione Mata’utia, Joe Batchelor, Morgan Knowles

Daryl Clark St Helens
Daryl Clark has taken the number 9 shirt from retired legend James Roby at St Helens – Alamy

Another team with a low turnover are Saints, who we expect will have just four changes to their side compared to the 13 that took to the field last February Down Under in the World Club Challenge.

No change is more notable, arguably across the whole of Super League, than the departure of the The Greatest of All Time. James Roby has now retired and been replaced with Daryl Clark. Signed from Warrington, the red V’s new #9 certainly has some big shoes to fill.

Elsewhere, Waqa Blake has been recruited from the NRL, and will start at centre over Konrad Hurrell or the now-retired Will Hopoate. Youngster Jon Bennison may well also get a chance to shine on the opposite wing to seasoned pro Tommy Makinson.

Warrington Wolves

2023 (vs Leeds – H): Matt Dufty, Josh Thewlis, Peter Mata’utia, Stefan Ratchford, Matty Ashton, George Williams, Josh Drinkwater, Thomas Mikaele, Daryl Clark, Paul Vaughan, Ben Currie, Matty Nicholson, James Harrison

2024 (v Catalans – A): Matt Dufty, Josh Thewlis, Toby King, Stefan Ratchford, Matty Ashton, George Williams, Josh Drinkwater, James Harrison, Danny Walker, Paul Vaughan, Ben Currie, Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Matty Nicholson

Sam Powell, Warrington Wolves badge
Sam Powell – Photo courtesy of Warrington Wolves

Despite their poor year in 2023, leaning on the squad numbers, Warrington‘s 13 looks pretty similar compared to this time last year. The Wolves – of course – won their first eight games in 2023 and topped the tree, only for it all to come crumbling down.

Now under a new head coach in Sam Burgess, they have Toby King back at centre following his highly successful season-long loan at Wigan last term, and new NRL recruit Lachlan Fitzgibbon should start in the second row.

The only other man likely to be drafted in when they head over to Catalans is Danny Walker, who has impressed this pre-season and been tipped for greatness by Wire’s star man George Williams.

Wigan Warriors

2023 (v Hull KR – A): Jai Field, Bevan French, Toby King, Jake Wardle, Liam Marshall, Cade Cust, Harry Smith, Mike Cooper, Sam Powell, Ethan Havard, Kai Pearce-Paul, Liam Farrell, Morgan Smithies

2024 (v Castleford – A): Jai Field, Abbas Miski, Adam Keighran, Jake Wardle, Liam Marshall, Bevan French, Harry Smith, Ethan Havard, Brad O’Neill, Liam Byrne, Willie Isa, Liam Farrell, Kaide Ellis

Abbas Miski Wigan Warriors
Abbas Miski in action for Wigan Warriors in 2023 – Alamy

Super League champions Wigan will – we expect – have six changes to their Round 1 side this year compared to the 13 that started their first round defeat at Hull KR last February.

Aside from King, the Cherry and Whites have also lost Kai Pearce-Paul and Morgan Smithies to the NRL this off-season from the 13 at Craven Park this time last year, and both Sam Powell & Cade Cust to fellow Super League teams.

Adam Keighran is the only off-season arrival we expect to start at Castleford later this month, but Abbas Miski – Super League’s joint-top try-scorer in 2023 – should retain his place on the wing having been out of favour for the first six rounds last season.

READ NEXT: Monday debrief – Panic stations for Hull FC, Wigan Warriors’ depth shines through, London Broncos’ need for bodies greater than ever