Leeds Rhinos bottom, Leigh Leopards flying in Super League mood table

Aaron Bower

Throughout 2024, we’ll be attempting to gauge the mood across all 12 Super League clubs with our weekly mood table.

Sure, the actual table underlines who’s in contention to achieve what this season, but our mood table captures the feelings around each and every club in this precise moment.

So without further ado, let’s get right into it, starting with the side at the bottom, around whom the mood is definitively the worst right now, all the way up to the market leaders. Ready? Each club’s actual league position is in brackets.

12. Leeds Rhinos (7)

It’s startling to think that Leeds Rhinos are actually just one win adrift of the Super League play-off places. But given the feeling around the Rhinos’ on-field performances in recent weeks, they feel like anything but a side still with plenty to play for.

The undisputed nadir of what has been a season littered with inconsistencies came on Saturday afternoon when they were hideous against Hull FC. The late tries the Rhinos conceded added a shade of respectability to the scoreline that their performance probably didn’t deserve.

It’s left Rohan Smith on the brink in the eyes of some, and the mood towards the Rhinos from their supporters at a real low ebb, with chants aimed in Smith’s direction on Saturday. It could get even worse with another defeat on Friday too.

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11. Huddersfield Giants (8)

Like their West Yorkshire rivals, Huddersfield are, staggeringly, still firmly in the play-off mix. They have lurched between purple patches of form and periods of weeks on end where they couldn’t buy a win if they tried, and at the minute, they’re entrenched in the latter once again.

Throw in uncertainty over their most talented player’s future, with Jake Connor offered to clubs on a two-week loan deal – and no takers as of yet – and there’s a real mystery as to what’s happening at the Giants.

Four points behind sixth-placed Catalans, there’s a real feeling of this week being a season-defining one as they head to Perpignan on Saturday evening. Lose that, and the play-offs start to drift from view.

10. London Broncos (12)

Yes, they’re bottom. Yes, they’ve won just one game all season. But London Broncos are, all things being equal, having a jolly old time of it in Super League this year.

Even the most optimistic Broncos supporter knows they’ll be ushered off stage quietly at the end of this season, and booted unceremoniously back into the Championship. Which makes this year one to enjoy, and while results haven’t been great, there’s a sense of unity and togetherness in London’s squad which does bode well for the future.

Another heavy defeat on Sunday, this time against St Helens, came London’s way – but the biggest crowd for almost a decade watched it at Twickenham Stoop. Convince even just a fraction of those in attendance to come back again, and things will be looking up.

9. Castleford Tigers (10)

What started as a season of sheer disaster quickly morphed into a period of promise for Craig Lingard and Castleford Tigers. They’ve teetered a little the wrong way once again in recent weeks in terms of results, but the mood is brighter than their league position suggests.

After a difficult start, Lingard has started to make his mark on Castleford. The club’s younger players are beginning to look settled in Super League, which will serve the Tigers well for the months and years ahead. They ran reigning champions Wigan mightily close at the weekend too: heck, had it not been for one or two decisions, they may have even won that game.

All of a sudden, they’ll fancy claiming the scalp of anyone if they’re on their game. This season will end some way adrift of the play-offs, but the long-term plan is starting to piece together at Castleford, you feel.

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8. Catalans Dragons (6)

Firmly among the contenders to finish top as recently as a few weeks ago, it’s all starting to get a bit wobbly in the south of France.

The Dragons were once again beaten at home at the weekend, this time to Leigh Leopards – in which the Dragons failed to score a single try, only the fourth time in Super League history that has happened.

They have another home game against Huddersfield this weekend, where a win is starting to feel essential to get their season back on track.

7. Hull FC (11)

Okay, it’s only one win – but the mood around Hull FC almost visibly lifted at full-time on Saturday afternoon.

The Black and Whites haven’t exactly been threatening a win for a few weeks -anything but on occasions, to be fair. But with that particular hoodoo off their back now, Hull can look ahead to the second half of the season with some optimism.

New signing Jed Cartwright gets here this week, the Black and Whites will look to do further business in the market and if they can claim a few more scalps in the coming months – particularly with the derby looming on the horizon – the mood will rise even further.

6. Warrington Wolves (4)

Genuine and credible contenders for the treble as recently as a fortnight ago, three straight defeats have shifted the narrative somewhat at Warrington lately.

Perhaps inevitably, there’s talk of last season’s mid-year collapse repeating itself, but that’s unlikely – at least to the scale of how badly Warrington’s season fell apart last summer. But the manner of their display against Salford didn’t exactly inspire any confidence, and the Wolves will need a result pretty quick just to snap any fears of deja vu from this time 12 months ago.

5. Leigh Leopards (9)

It was a nightmare start to 2024 for Adrian Lam and Leigh – but all of a sudden, they’re riding on the crest of a real wave of momentum.

To prevent Catalans from scoring a try against them home and away is a major statement from the Leopards in regards to their play-off hopes. They’ll need to keep winning most weeks to stand any chance of bridging the gap to the top six, but it’s now down to just five points.

With key men returning, star players in form and the Leopards well and truly having turned the corner, it’s no surprise they’re sitting high up on the mood table.

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4. Hull KR (3)

The top four were, in truth, fairly difficult to separate this time around.

Perhaps the biggest compliment you can pay Hull KR is that these days, what they’re producing simply isn’t a surprise anymore. This isn’t the Rovers side who were perpetual strugglers at the foot of the table; they’re now genuine contenders on all fronts.

They were far, far too good for Huddersfield last weekend and another victory this week against Castleford would reinforce their position inside the top four. It could, if results went their way, even take them joint-top of the Super League table.

For all the drama happening elsewhere in Super League, the Robins are just purring along with minimal fuss.

3. Salford Red Devils (5)

They couldn’t do it again, could they?

It was not just the result at Warrington Wolves on Friday night, but the nature of it which has left some wondering if Salford Red Devils are once again going to stick it to the pundits and the experts. The play-offs, in truth, look an increasingly solid bet – and once you’re in the top six, anyone can beat anyone.

There’s another big game on the horizon this week, with St Helens coming to town. Win that, and the Red Devils would be just two points behind Paul Wellens’ side. Then, the talk would shift from whether or not Salford can make the play-offs, to whether or not they can reach another Grand Final.

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2. St Helens (1)

The top two in the mood table are, unsurprisingly, the top two in the actual Super League table, too.

There’s very little to say about both St Helens and Wigan Warriors. The mood at both clubs is reflective of how utterly dominant and impressive they are week to week, with the Saints far too good for London on Sunday in the capital.

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1. Wigan Warriors (2)

But it’s Wigan who get the nod, simply based around how basically nothing seems to be going wrong for Matt Peet and his side right now.

Most teams don’t win the week after winning at Wembley. The hangover is too severe, ordinarily. And while Wigan weren’t at their best at Castleford, they did enough to get the job done. Right now, they’re a relentless juggernaut of a rugby league side, and it would take a brave individual to bet against them sweeping the board again this year.

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