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Super League: Team of the season

An intriguing Super League season reached its conclusion on Saturday as St Helens claimed an unprecedented fourth title in the row and a record ninth in all with a 24-12 victory over Leeds Rhinos at Old Trafford.

With the dust now settled on the 2022 domestic campaign, here is our Super League team of the season.

Full-back - Jai Field

Injury restricted Aussie speedster Field to just four appearances during his debut season at Wigan Warriors in 2021, but the former Parramatta man has been a revelation this season having overcome those problems.

Field crossed for 24 tries in all competitions for the Warriors, including some scintillating long-range efforts, including in Wigan's Challenge Cup final win over Huddersfield Giants.

Winger - Bevan French

Field's partner-in-crime, Bevan French crossed for an incredible 31 Super League tries in 2022.

Another player who missed the majority of 2021 through injury, French wasted little time picking up from where he had left off in 2020, despite moving from full-back to the wing to accommodate Field in the custodian role.

The winger's role in Super League's most potent attack was perhaps seen to best effect when he crossed for a record-breaking seven-try haul in a 60-0 rout of Hull FC in July.

Since joining the Warriors midway through 2019, the prolific French has crossed for 55 tries in 57 games to go with 35 in 47 NRL appearances for the Parramatta Eels.

Centre - Jack Welsby

Despite playing most of his season in the halves or at full-back, Saints star Welsby would not look out of place anywhere across the backline and gets into this team at centre, a position he lined up in in the 2020 Super League Grand Final.

The latest in a long line of Saints academy products to become top-flight stars, Welsby has again shone for the Red Vee this season, scoring 13 tries and laying on plenty more for his colleagues, including two in Saturday's record-breaking Grand Final success over Leeds.

Super League's young player of the year for a second season in succession in 2022, Welsby will no doubt have an important role to play for 8/1 England in the upcoming World Cup.

Centre - Tim Lafai

Salford Red Devils centre Lafai shone in his first season in Super League, having somewhat lost his way in the NRL.

Originally signed on a one-year contract, Lafai's outstanding form, which culminated in selection for the Super League Dream Team, earned himself an extra year at the AJ Bell Stadium and Red Devils supporters will be excited to see what 2023 will bring with Lafai causing havoc in the centres.

More immediately, the Samoa international will be focused on a World Cup opener with hosts England in less than three weeks. A strong Samoa squad are 12/1 for World Cup glory later this year.

Wing - Ash Handley

Leeds went from relegation candidates to Grand Finalists in a remarkable 2022, but one player who was consistently excellent was winger Handley.

No player made more metres than Handley, whose tally of 3646 was over 400 more than second-placed Field, while he also weighed in with 17 tries for the Headingley club.

Stand-off - Brodie Croft

Tipped for a long NRL career when bursting on to the scene with the Melbourne Storm a few years ago, Croft failed to hit the heights during a two-year stay at Brisbane Broncos between 2020 and 2021.

However, a move to Super League appears to have reinvigorated the exceptional half-back, who played a starring role in Salford's surprise run to the semi-finals, and he was rewarded for a standout debut campaign on these shores by being named as the 2022 Man of Steel.

Scrum-half - Jonny Lomax

The understated Lomax missed out on selection in the official Super League Dream Team for 2022, but he gave another reminder of his importance to the winning machine that is St Helens with a masterful man-of-the-match display in the Grand Final.

Regarded by many of his peers as the best player in Super League, Lomax ran the show against the Rhinos and England coach Shaun Wane will be hoping he provides his side with the same steady hand on the tiller in the World Cup.

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Prop - Alex Walmsley

Walmsley has been a cornerstone of the St Helens and England pack for a number of seasons now and 2022 was another vintage season from the man mountain.

Injury brought an early end to Walmsley's season and has also ruled him out of the World Cup, but it was another excellent season from Saints' one-man wrecking ball.

Hooker - James Roby

Age is just a number for St Helens legend Roby, who guided the Red Vee to their fourth Grand Final victory in a row in 2022.

Having initially decided to hang up his boots at the end of the season, the 36-year-old has decided he will go round for a 20th time in 2023 - and on the evidence of his typically metronomic display in the Grand Final, nobody could argue he can't do it.

Prop - Mikolaj Oledzki

The Rhinos have been searching for a pack leader since the retirement of the legendary Jamie Peacock in 2015.

Polish-born Oledzki powerhouse always had the physical attributes required to dominate opponents, but Big Mik has added consistency to his game this season and no forward made more metres in 2022 than Oledzki.

Handed an England cap earlier this year, the Leeds prop is another with World Cup ambitions.

Second-row - Liam Farrell

Wigan back-rower Farrell isn't as flash as Field or French, but his importance to the Warriors is just as crucial.

Extremely reliable in defence, a willing runner with the ball and a try threat out wide, Farrell was a big miss for Wigan in their play-off semi-final against Leeds and will sit out the World Cup through injury.

Second-row - Rhyse Martin

Back-rower Martin entered 2022 not knowing whether this season would be his last in a Leeds Rhinos shirt, but an outstanding campaign saw him sign a new two-year deal in July.

One of the biggest contributors in Rohan Smith's Rhinos revolution, Martin was a tryscorer in Saturday's Grand Final, in which he broke the record for consecutive successful attempts at goal - Martin has not missed a kick since July's Magic Weekend.

Loose-forward - Morgan Knowles

No current Super League team does intensity like St Helens and no Saint does it as much as Knowles.

Uncompromising in defence and incredibly hard to stop with ball in hand, Knowles has been central to Saints' four-year spell at the top and has had another fantastic campaign.

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