Since the Super League era began back in 1996, four teams have dominated the competition, with St Helens, Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors and the recently liquidated Bradford Bulls being the only clubs to win the trophy.
However, the 2017 Super League season is potentially shaping up nicely for a change, with Castleford Tigers currently setting the pace at the top of the table.
Daryl Powell’s side have put in some impressive displays already this season, particularly their 66-10 demolition of Leeds in March and the two victories over Wigan Warriors that bookended April.
As a result of their impeccable form, the Tigers are currently the 7/4 favourites in the rugby league betting to lift the Super League trophy at Old Trafford in October.
Widnes Vikings are currently the side stuck at the foot of the table, having picked up just five points from their 12 fixtures. Tony Smith’s Warrington Wolves have recently overcome their early season struggles to sit ninth in the table and are 14/1 outsiders to be crowned Super League champions.
Leeds have surprised many by showing signs of returning to their former glory and currently sit fourth in the table, trailing Castleford by just two points, despite suffering their heaviest defeat of the season at The Jungle.
Salford Red Devils are perhaps the competition’s surprise package, and are currently third in the table, ahead of Leeds on points difference.
Greg Eden, Greg Minikin and Luke Gale from Castleford have all been standout performers, whilst Robert Lui, George Williams and Matt Parcell have played a part in the success of Salford, Wigan and Leeds respectively.
Here is a look at three alternative players of the season so far:
Mike McMeeken – Castleford Tigers
Whilst Gale, Minikin and Eden take a lot of the plaudits in West Yorkshire for their try scoring and creativity, Mike McMeeken is enjoying a fine season for Castleford, which has seen him earn international recognition.
The powerful second-row has an average gain of 7.8 metres per carry – the most of any Castleford forward so far this season. McMeeken has also racked up an impressive 311 tackles.
— England Rugby League (@England_RL) April 30, 2017
McMeeken’s involvement in Castleford’s attack is also notable, with the 22-year-old scoring four tries and adding eight further try assists.
Albert Kelly – Hull FC
Kelly was brave enough to make the switch from Hull KR to fierce rivals Hull FC during the close season, and Lee Radford looks like he has pulled off a shrewd piece of business by pairing him with Marc Sneyd in the halves.
The stand-off has scored 11 tries this season, which is bettered only by Minikin and Eden from Castleford. Kelly has also added a further four try assists over the course of the campaign.
Hull impressed in last year’s competition and Kelly looks to have given Radford’s side an extra dimension, with many tipping them to challenge Castleford for honours.
Albert Kelly is lighting up the league this year! ⚫⚪
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) April 28, 2017
Adam Cuthbertson – Leeds Rhinos
Cuthbertson is showing the similar kind of form that saw him nominated for the Man of Steel award during his first season at Headingley in 2015. The forward has shone for Brian McDermott’s side as they look to put the ghost of last year firmly in the closet.
While Parcell has arguably been Leeds’ standout performer so far this term, Cuthbertson is key to how the Rhinos play, with his offloading game, in particular, returning this season.
Cuthbertson has 48 offloads to his name – the most in Super League – and is also Leeds’ top metre-maker, with 1377.