Super League: Austin can fire Wire to outright success


RUGBY LEAGUE expert Chris Thomas (@SolidPunts) uncovers the ante-post value ahead of Super League XXIV.

Super League XXIV | Ante-Post Preview | Sky Sports

Warrington are the Liverpool of Super League. It's always going to be their year, and much like their Merseyside counterparts, this year, it actually might be.

Last year's Grand Finalists come into the campaign after collecting two runners-up medals last time out. Defeated by Catalans in the Challenge Cup, and Wigan in Super League, Wire were once again the bridesmaids.

But this year things look set to change – the arrival of Blake Austin is seismic. The best line breaking, metre-making, tackle-evading halfback on the planet has come to the Wolves. And much like Ben Barba did last year for St Helens, Austin looks set to light up Super League and should be supported as the 8/1 (William Hill) favourite to win the Man of Steel.

The Wolves have also made a host of other superb additions, including Jakke Mamo, Jason Clark and wonderkid Danny Walker, making it hard to look past Steve Price's men at 4/1 (BetBright) to lift the Super League trophy aloft for the very first time.

Williams' Warriors to wow without Wane

Defending champions Wigan are my other horse in this outright race at a generous 11/2 (Betway). The Cherry & Whites won last year with tenacious defence and ruthless efficiency and I'm not sure new coach Adrian Lam can undo outgoing boss Shaun Wane's wondrous achievements.

Lam has promised an attacking ethos and has added impetus with the signings of bad boy Zak Hardaker and the mercurial Jarrod Sammut. However, it’s England international George Williams I'll be backing as their best shot at Man of Steel at a nice 33/1 (SkyBet).

Robins to raise eyebrows

This is it – my moment to make myself a genius or a fool… Hull KR are my dark horse! The Robins are my outsider to keep onside, a statement that may look silly come October.

Hull KR boast a great halves combination in Danny McGuire and new signing Josh Drinkwater, and their big pack can mix it up with the best of them under ex-Australia head coach Tim Sheens.

It could be worth having KR onside to make the top-five at 8/1 (William Hill) though I'll take my brave pill and back the Robins to win the Challenge Cup instead at a mouthwatering 50/1 (Ladbrokes).

Best Bets

Super League – Warrington to win the Grand Final (4/1 BetBright)

Super League – Wigan to win the Grand Final (11/2 Betway)

Super League – Blake Austin to win Man of Steel (8/1 William Hill)

Super League – George Williams to win Man of Steel (33/1 SkyBet)

Challenge Cup – Hull KR to outright (50/1 Ladbrokes)

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