The team at Love Rugby League have made their Betfred Championship predictions ahead of the 2022 season!
The action kicks-off this Sunday, with six clashes on Sunday. Workington Town host Newcastle Thunder in the early kick-off with 2:00pm.
London Broncos begin their new campaign at the home of Plough Lane against Widnes. While York host Featherstone in the year’s first Monday Night Rugby League on Premier Sports.
Here are our Betfred Championship predicts…
Featherstone will leave no stone unturned in their bid to finally reach Super League. Appointing Brian McDermott and their recruitment has been impressive, and that improves what they already had – which Toulouse aside, dominated the Championship last season. With Leigh seemingly a bit behind in preparations, Fev should be able to hit the ground running and will be tough to stop.
Ones to watch: Halifax
It seems odd to list Halifax as ones to watch after they enjoyed a fine season in 2021, but I do believe that they could seriously have a tilt at promotion. Under Simon Grix they have re-built and found a new level, and if they can find some consistency, then reaching the top two shouldn’t be a surprise.
Relegation: Dewsbury Rams and Workington
It’s tough to call among the bottom five or six. Sheffield have a very tough ask with starting their season on the road, but will hope that they are able to turn things around once they return home. Barrow have been ambitious with their plans and recruitment. A good start will be key for any of the clubs wanting to avoid the drop. If I have to pick two at this point, Dewsbury and Workington.
Featherstone and Leigh will be the two clear front-runners for the competition. Both sides have spent big over the off-season and have made some impressive signings. I’m excited to watch Ryley Jacks and Joey Leilua in action for Rovers and I’m looking forward to seeing Nene Macdonald and John Asiata at Leigh.
But I’m tipping Featherstone to gain promotion because the bulk of their squad have played together for a couple of years, whilst Leigh are still a new side.
I’m buzzing to see the Featherstone-Leigh rivalry in 2022.
Ones to watch: Halifax
I think Halifax could be the team to really push Featherstone and Leigh until the very end of the season. If you take a look at their team on paper, there aren’t many weak spots and they have strength in depth.
I’m particularly excited to see the centre-wing pairing of Greg Worthington and Lachlan Walmsley. Cory Aston and Joe Keyes are also top signings.
Relegation: London Broncos and Workington
It’s good to see three Cumbrian teams in the Championship this season. Unfortunately, I think Workington will go down. They’ve signed some good players in the off-season but I think they’ll struggle in the Championship.
Many people will probably be surprised I’ve included London, but I think the change of going part-time could have a lasting effect on them.
It will be a tough battle in the bottom half of the Championship this season, and it’s hard to even predict who will go down.
I genuinely believe this is the most competitive Championship we have seen in years – at both sides of the table.
Three from three for Featherstone in our predictions. They tick all the boxes going into the 2022 season; strong recruitment, experienced head coach and good backing from their board.
Rovers have featured in the Championship Grand Final in the last two full seasons – 2021 and 2019 – so will it be third time lucky?
Ones to watch: Barrow
Halifax are of course the obvious choice, as James and Drew have pointed out. However, Barrow should be an exciting team to watch in 2022.
They return to the Betfred Championship following their promotion from League 1.
They have had a strong recruitment drive during off-season headed by head coach Paul Crarey and player director Andy Gaffney. Jarrod Sammut, Danny Langtree and Hakim Miloudi will all be key players for the Raiders in 2022. A play-off spot incoming.
Relegation: Sheffield Eagles and Workington Town
Sheffield will call Olympic Legacy Park their new home in 2022 after agreeing a five-year deal. However, they start their season on the road which could be a tough start. The Eagles finished just above the relegation zone in 2021, with five wins. I think it could be a difficult year for the side, but I am also hoping Anthony Thackeray can finish his career on a high. It’s probably the toughest choice for relegation for a few years.
Workington won promotion to the Championship through the play-offs in 2021. They may surprise a few, like Whitehaven did last season reaching the play-offs, but I think they could struggle this upcoming season.