Now that the 2023 Super League season has come to an end, we’ve delved into the statistics to find out which of the 12 clubs in the division used the most players throughout the year.
Of the 357 men utilised across the league and Challenge Cup this term, 22 pulled on a shirt for two different clubs, be that as a loanee or following a permanent move.
Blake Austin is one of those 22, beginning the season with Leeds Rhinos before heading out on loan to Castleford Tigers at the back end of the year under a cloud.
Tyler Dupree is another, making the mid-season switch from Salford Red Devils to Wigan Warriors and being crowned a Super League champion at the age of 23 having featured in the Warriors’ Grand Final triumph at Old Trafford last month.
Elsewhere, there are 10 players – not included in the above tally of 357 or our calculations – that, at least once, have been named as the 18th man but remained unused and have not made a single appearance in league or cup this year.
The vast majority of those are youngsters like Dan Hill, who has now been released by St Helens.
Same but different…
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the ‘most used players table’ is – in the most part – a flipped reflection of the actual Super League standings this term.
Champions Wigan sit bottom of this ladder, using only 26 different bodies throughout the campaign on their way to glory. Matt Peet rarely made wholesale changes from one week to the next, and it proved successful.
At the other end meanwhile, relegated Wakefield top this chart having used an eye-watering 44 players in 2023, over 69% more than Wigan.
Trinity relied heavily on loans, most of which short-term, and didn’t really have a settled team, with injuries also playing their part in Mark Applegarth’s side’s demise. They will now play in the Championship in 2024 for the first time in more than 20 years.
An anomaly comes with Hull KR, who finished 4th in the real table, but are at the top end of this respective leaderboard too having had a 39-strong squad overall this term.
A big factor in that is their heavy defeat at Wigan the week before their Challenge Cup final appearance, which saw seven men – mostly youngsters plus some one-week loanees – make their only appearance of the season for the Robins.
After a 64-6 loss, the rotation didn’t pay off for boss Willie Peters with KR also beaten at Wembley by Leigh eight days later courtesy of Lachlan Lam’s golden point extra-time drop goal.
Ranked: How many players were used by each Super League club in 2023
Notably, Super League newcomers London Broncos would have come fourth in these standings having used 36 players this year, more than most but still comfortably less than the top flight’s actual bottom two in Castleford and Wakefield.
The Broncos utilised short-term loans from top-tier outfits throughout the campaign on their quest for promotion, including players on dual-registration from Wigan with winger Abbas Miski the most notable.
Lebanon international Miski didn’t feature for the Warriors until Round 7 this term, but still went on to finish joint-top of the Super League try-scoring charts alongside Catalans Dragons speedster Tom Johnstone.
The full list from the club with the least number of players used to the most:
12. Wigan Warriors – 26 (+1 x 18th man with no appearances)
11. Salford Red Devils – 27
= St Helens – 27 (+ x2 18th man with no appearances)
9. Catalans Dragons – 28 (+1 x 18th man with no appearances)
= Leigh Leopards – 28 (+2 x 18th man with no appearances)
7. Warrington Wolves – 29
6. Hull FC – 30 (+1 x 18th man with no appearances)
= Leeds Rhinos – 30 (+1 x 18th man with no appearances)
4. Huddersfield Giants – 31
3. Hull KR – 39 (+1 x 18th man with no appearances)
2. Castleford Tigers – 40 (+1 x 18th man with no appearances)
1. Wakefield Trinity – 44
Stats courtesy of Rugby League Record Keepers’ Club