Power Rankings: Wigan Warriors on top of the world, St Helens look good, in-form Hull KR

Ben Olawumi
Hull KR, Wigan Warriors, St Helens


Each week this season, Love Rugby League will be bringing you our ‘Power Rankings’, ranking the top 10 clubs in the British game we believe have the most momentum behind them.

The 35 clubs across Super League, the Championship & League 1 are all in the running to be involved, with solely on-field performance affecting the rankings (we’re not IMG!).

Our second top 10 of the campaign is below, with all competitive games to this point taken into account.

For Super League clubs, that’s their performances across Rounds 1 and 2, and – spoiler alert – Wigan’s World Club Challenge against NRL kings Penrith Panthers.

The Championship and League 1 seasons meanwhile are yet to start, so for clubs across those two divisions, we’ve just considered their performances to date in both the 1895 Cup & Challenge Cup.

For reference, last week’s Power Rankings were as follows: 1. Wakefield Trinity, 2. Oldham, 3. St Helens, 4. Wigan Warriors, 5. Bradford Bulls, 6. Swinton Lions, 7. Huddersfield Giants, 8. Leeds Rhinos, 9. Batley Bulldogs, 10. Hull KR.

Without further ado, the Love Rugby League Power Rankings (26/02/2024).

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10. Widnes Vikings

Allan Coleman Widnes Vikings
Allan Coleman, Widnes Vikings’ new head coach – Alamy

Championship side Widnes – under the guidance of new head coach Allan Coleman – lost their first game of the season to Swinton in the 1895 Cup, and that ultimately cost them a place in the knockouts of that competition. Since then though, they’ve been pretty steady.

Beating North Wales Crusaders in their other 1895 Cup group stage game, the Chemics had already seen off Doncaster in the Third Round of the Challenge Cup. And yesterday, they beat fellow second tier heavyweights Bradford Bulls at Odsal to reach Round 5 of that competition, impressing in front of the BBC iPlayer cameras, enough to earn a spot in our rankings.

9. Sheffield Eagles

We haven’t taken this into consideration, but the Eagles impressed in pre-season as they edged out a tight-fought contest against a youthful Hull KR side, and having won all four of their competitive games since, Mark Aston’s side deserve their spot in the rankings.

Either side of an absolute romp against Newcastle Thunder in the Challenge Cup Third Round, they dispatched both newly-promoted Doncaster and League 1 side Midlands Hurricanes in the 1895 Cup group stages. But Sheffield’s most impressive win – like Widnes – came yesterday, beating York – who at one point went down to 11 – away from home in Round 4.

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8. Catalans Dragons

Catalans Dragons, Theo Fages
Catalans Dragons’ Theo Fages (on the floor) celebrates after scoring their opening try in the Round 2 victory at London Broncos – Alamy

We didn’t include Catalans after their Round 1 win against Warrington Wolves, and that felt slightly harsh, but after a dominant showing in their first away game of the season at London Broncos on Friday night, the French side remain on the right track and earn a spot in the top 10.

They didn’t concede a single point against the Broncos, with some improved defence on display, and managed to put 34 points on the board at the other end. Tougher tests will come, but the Dragons are going well at the minute.

7. Oldham

Perhaps slightly harsh, we admit, but League 1 outfit Oldham slip all the way from 2nd to 7th in the Power Rankings after their Challenge Cup exit at Swinton last night.

For the first time this season, they were second-best in most aspects, and any hopes of Wembley this year now rest solely on the 1895 Cup. We’d be surprised if there’s anyone better than the Roughyeds in League 1 this year, but yesterday’s result shows that there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

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6. Batley Bulldogs

Every team in this week’s rankings – from this point onwards – has a 100%-winning record in 2024, starting with Championship side Batley, who now have four victories from four across the two cup competitions.

Beating Featherstone Rovers & Hunslet in the 1895 Cup, the Bulldogs – under new head coach Mark Moxon – also swept aside Workington Town in the Challenge Cup. Yesterday, they then booked a spot in Round 5 of the latter with a comfortable triumph over League 1 Rochdale Hornets. After a disappointing 2023, all’s going swimmingly so far at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.

5. Hull KR

Mikey Lewis
Hull KR’s Mikey Lewis celebrates Peta Hiku’s game-clinching try against Leeds Rhinos in Round 2 – Alamy

The Robins really are bob, bob, bobbing along quite nicely at the start of 2024, following up an effortless victory in the derby on Super League’s opening night with victory against Leeds Rhinos – who drop out of the Power Rankings – last Thursday night.

Willie Peters’ side were in cruise control for a large part of the second half at Craven Park, and even after Brodie Croft’s ridiculously inch-perfect kick put Ash Handley in for the Rhinos, the hosts turned it up a notch to kill the game off. Again, still things to work on, but two well-deserved wins so far.

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4. Swinton Lions

They’ve already been mentioned a couple of times in this article, and Swinton – into Round 5 of the Challenge Cup as well as the quarter-finals of the 1895 Cup – move up to 4th in this week’s Power Rankings.

Live in front of ‘The Sportsman’ cameras against Oldham, with many expecting an upset, Alan Kilshaw’s side simply continued what they’ve been doing all season to this point and came away comfortable winners in the end. Having only taken charge in the off-season, Kilshaw will be delighted with how his troops have fared so far.

3. St Helens

Matt Whitley St Helens Alamy
Matt Whitley scores on his St Helens debut – Alamy

Saints retain third spot in the rankings, and in truth there’s not much more they could have done so far this season, comfortable winners against both London Broncos & Huddersfield Giants. The nil against the Giants name on home soil will have pleased Red V chief Paul Wellens no end on Saturday evening, as will some pretty fluent attacking play.

There’s only three games now prior to next month’s Good Friday derby against Wigan, and the way things are going, you get the feeling that Wellens’ side could still be ‘perfect’ by then, at least results-wise. The Saints look hungry for a return to glory.

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2. Wakefield Trinity

Trinity lose top spot in the Power Rankings, but as well get to – and as you’ve probably already guessed – it’s through no fault of their own. Daryl Powell’s side absolutely obliterated community outfit Hunslet ARLFC in the Challenge Cup yesterday afternoon, 78-6 winners at Belle Vue. That win has set up a tasty tie against noisy neighbours Featherstone in a fortnight’s time.

This weekend coming though, Powell’s men can move to within 80 minutes of a day out in the sun at Wembley when they take on Barrow Raiders in the 1895 Cup quarter-finals. In truth, given the way they’ve started, you’d expect Wakefield to win every game – at least until they face Super League opposition in the Challenge Cup. That will be the real marker of where they’re at.

1. Wigan Warriors

Wigan Warriors lift the World Club title
Wigan Warriors lift the 2024 World Club title after victory over Penrith Panthers – Alamy

When you’re officially the best team in the world, there’s no way you’re not claiming top billing in our Power Rankings. Wigan‘s World Club Challenge triumph over Penrith on Saturday night was scintillating. The game had it all, and the Cherry and Whites had to dig deep throughout in defence, taking their chances well in attack when they came.

The stat that Tyler Dupree has won every single game he’s been involved in with Wigan since joining from Salford Red Devils midway through last season says all you need to know – it’s going to take some performance for any team to end that streak in 2024. This Warriors team is a special one, and has all the foundations there to make (even more) history.

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