With the 2023 Super League season fast approaching, it’s time to look at five stars who could shine in the new campaign.
From players switching clubs in the northern hemisphere’s premier club competition, to stars joining from the NRL, there will be no shortage of talent in the Super League in 2023.
What: Super League XXVIII
Where: Various grounds across England and France
When: Thursday 16th February 2023 - Saturday 14th October 2023
How to watch: Sky Sports and Channel 4
Odds: St Helens 15/8, Wigan Warriors 10/3, Leeds Rhinos 13/2, Catalans Dragons 7/1, Warrington Wolves 8/1
A move that was announced back in July this year, winger Tom Johnstone has finally completed his long-awaited switch to Catalans Dragons.
Having been a standout performer during his seven-year spell at Wakefield Trinity, Johnstone has left the West Yorkshire outfit knowing he has nothing to owe them.
While Wakefield have found themselves battling relegation and sitting in mid-table for much of his Super League career, Johnstone now has a big opportunity to finally win some silverware with the Dragons.
Catalans were eager to go far into the playoffs last season, but a shock home defeat to the Leeds Rhinos in the eliminator saw their hopes of reaching another Grand Final brought to an abrupt end in Perpignan.
The Dragons, who are 7/1 to win the Super League title in 2023, have brought in one of the best finishers in the competition in Johnstone and he could be the difference in getting Catalans to Old Trafford.
Having also missed out on the England squad for the World Cup, Johnstone will also be driven to impress in the south of France in a bid to break back into the nation setup under boss Shaun Wane.
A player that fans of Super League will be very familiar with since making the move to the competition in 2019, Wigan Warriors full-back/winger Bevan French looks set for another big year at the DW Stadium.
Scoring a remarkable 31 tries in Super League last season, French put pen to paper on a new two-year deal in September and will now be a Warrior until at least 2024.
One of the most electric players in the competition, French was streets ahead of the competition in the try scoring standings last term, with Salford Red Devils’ Ken Sio finishing in second with 26.
With Wigan suffering play-off semi-final heartbreak at the hands of Leeds last season, French and the Warriors will be desperate to get back to the Grand Final, which they are 10/3 to win in 2023.
A new arrival from the NRL, Leeds Rhinos signing Sam Lisone will be hoping to make a big impact at Headingley in his first season in Super League.
The 28-year-old prop is set to be reunited with head coach Rohan Smith after the pair worked together during their time at New Zealand Warriors in the under-20s side.
With 133 NRL appearances for both the Warriors and Gold Coast Titans, Lisone says he has come to Leeds to win trophies.
"I want to give it a red hot crack and make myself, my family, my team-mates and the fans proud," he said. "I'm here at Leeds and I'm ready to rip in for my new team-mates.
"That's the goal (to win silverware), I am not coming all this way just to take part. If I was coming here just to muck around I would have stayed in Australia. I will just do my best for the boys."
Few expected the Rhinos to go far in the play-offs last season but Leeds managed to beat Catalans and Wigan on the road to reach the Grand Final.
The encounter with St Helens at Old Trafford proved to be a bridge too far for Leeds but the foundations appear to be there for another positive season.
Leeds, who are 13/2 for the title, will be hoping Lisone’s presence upfront will be another piece of the puzzle to getting back to the top of Super League.
With Johnstone making the switch to Catalans, Lewis Murphy will be hoping he can fill the void at Wakefield Trinity this season.
Another exciting winger, Murphy enjoyed a breakout campaign last term and looks set for bigger and better things this season.
Of course there will be pressure on Murphy to try and replace Johnstone at the Be Well Support Stadium, but it’s not likely to faze this young man, who has taken the challenges in Super League in his stride so far.
With seven tries in his first 13 Super League games and having scored a hat-trick against Hull FC in August, Murphy is certainly a player worth keeping an eye on going forward, even if Wakefield are out at 66/1 to be Grand Final winners.
There’s plenty of excitement about Jon Bennison ahead of the new season following his impressive campaign in 2022.
The utility back capped off a great year with a try in the Grand Final win over Leeds at Old Trafford and he will be hungry for more success in 2023.
At just 20 years old, Bennison has the fearlessness of youth on his side and, with agility and pace to burn, he will cause defences all sorts of problems this coming season.
Having been handed the No.5 jersey for the new campaign, Saints coach Paul Wellens and the club clearly have faith in Bennison, who has a bright future ahead of him.
Saints secured an unprecedented fourth consecutive Super League title last season and are 15/8 to continue their dominance with a fifth straight title in 2023.