We are around a month away from the 2023 Super League Dream Team announcement, so we’ve had a go at making our predicted line-up.
It’s always tough predicting what the Dream Team is going to look like because there have been so many good players across Super League who have enjoyed fine seasons, but after long discussions at Love Rugby League HQ, and after swapping and changing players several times, we have finally managed to stick with 13.
Disclaimer: We’ll probably be wrong in our predictions anyway (we always are!).
The impressive Leigh Leopards have the most representatives in our predicted Dream Team, with players from Catalans Dragons, Wigan Warriors, St Helens, Hull KR and Warrington Wolves also included.
*Tin hats on* – here goes…
Predicting the 2023 Super League Dream Team
1. Jack Welsby
It’s hard to believe Welsby is still only 22 given he is already a superstar in the game.
The England international came through the ranks at St Helens and has already played more than 100 games in the Red V despite only being 22.
Welsby, who played in his first World Cup last autumn, has already three Super League titles, a Challenge Cup and a World Club Challenge to his name.
The Wigan-born full-back has killed it again this season, leading the way for assists with 23 and the second most offloads with 37.
Special mentions to Ryan Brierley (Salford) and Jai Field (Wigan), who have also had impressive campaigns with their respective clubs.
2. Tom Johnstone
It has been a remarkable debut season in the south of France for the Catalans Dragons winger, scoring 25 tries in 21 games in all competitions.
Johnstone is currently top of the Super League try scoring tries and has made more metres than any other player in the competition.
The 27-year-old has one England cap to his name – which came in 2018 – but you feel his next appearance on the international scene won’t be far away if he continues his rich vein of form.
3. Adam Keighran
The Australian has enjoyed an impressive debut season in Super League with league leaders Catalans Dragons.
Keighran, who will join Wigan on a two-year deal from 2024, has scored eight tries and kicked 43 goals in 17 games for the French side.
The former New Zealand Warriors and Sydney Roosters man is reliable with the boot, and always seems to be in the right areas.
4. Shaun Kenny-Dowall
The former New Zealand international is hanging up his boots at the end of the season and will go down as one of the best overseas signings Super League has seen.
Kenny-Dowall, who has scored seven tries in 20 appearances this season, was one of KR’s best players in their Challenge Cup final defeat.
The 35-year-old averages 115 metres per game and has 23 offloads and 67 tackle busts to his name in Super League 2023.
Honourable mentions for the centre spots to Zak Hardaker (Leigh) and Jake Wardle (Wigan) who have also enjoyed strong seasons.
5. Josh Charnley
The 32-year-old winger has found career best form with the Leopards this season, scoring 25 tries in 24 appearances.
Charnley is sitting just behind Johnstone in the try scoring charts as well as just being behind the Catalans winger for metres made.
Charnley’s last England appearance came in 2014 – but you feel he could be recalled if he keeps up his terrific form.
6. Bevan French
The Australian speedster has played a number of roles this season – full-back, wing and half-back.
It was difficult to choose which position to put French in this predicted Dream Team, so we’ve gone with stand-off, where he is currently playing.
French has had yet another impressive season for Wigan, scoring 17 tries in 24 games in all competitions.
The 27-year-old also has 22 assists to his name in Super League and has 108 tackle busts – more than anyone else in the competition. French, a firm fan favourite at the DW Stadium, has also made 19 clean breaks in Super League this year.
7. Lachlan Lam
The Papua New Guinea superstar has been one of the standout players in Super League this season, being an ever-present for father Adrian Lam’s side.
Although not in Super League, Lam Jnr came up with the clutch play with his drop goal to seal Leigh’s first Challenge Cup final win in 52 years against Hull KR at Wembley.
The 25-year-old playmaker has got seven tries and 20 assists to his name in Super League this season, and has become a fan favourite on the terraces at the Leigh Sports Village.
8. Tom Amone
The 26-year-old powerhouse has proven to be an excellent signing for the Leopards.
Amone has played massive minutes in Leigh’s front-row alongside Ireland international Robbie Mulhern this season, with both players being leading front-rowers in the competition.
The Australia-born prop, who is of Tongan heritage, is currently fifth in the top metre makers in Super League season, and the only front-rower behind Warrington’s Paul Vaughan in the list.
Amone has played 21 games in Super League this season, averaging 14 carries per game and 123 metres.
9. Edwin Ipape
The Papua New Guinea international hooker has been tremendous for Leigh this season.
Ipape arrived at the Leopards ahead of last season and helped Adrian Lam’s side clinch promotion to Super League, and they’ve kicked on to another level in 2023.
Ipape, who has scored 29 tries in 48 games for Leigh, has taken Super League by storm.
10. Paul Vaughan
The former Australia and Italy international has made more carries than any other front-rower in the competition, averaging 16 carries per game.
Vaughan is also third in the top metre makers, with an average of 130 metres each match.
The former New South Wales Origin representative may not be in the destructive form he was at the start of the season, but stats show he has still been in the top two front-rowers in the competition this year.
11. Matt Whitley
The England Knights international has enjoyed an impressive season with Catalans – probably his best to date in the south of France – which could be his final one with the Dragons, if the reports linking him to St Helens are correct.
Whitley works his socks off in defence and has a team first mentality. He’s probably been one of the most underrated back-rowers in Super League in recent years.
12. Liam Farrell
13. John Asiata
There are several ball-playing loose forwards who have had good individual seasons like Ben Garcia (Catalans), Oliver Partington (Salford), Morgan Smithies (Wigan), James Bell (St Helens) Joe Westerman (Castleford) and Cameron Smith (Leeds) – but I just think Asiata has been different gravy.
The NRL Grand Final winner, and now Challenge Cup winner, has been key to everything the Leopards do in attack and defence.
Asiata, a former Samoa and Tonga international, has made more carries than anyone in Super League this year and is involved in most of Leigh’s tries.